Cybercriminals had a field day in 2020. If early cybersecurity reports are any indication, they will keep the party going in 2021.
Ransomware operators are doubling down on attacks by removing your data before they encrypt it. If you don’t pay, they threaten to sell or publish your data online. Other ransomware strains target backup files. If you aren’t storing your backups separate from the network or using a Managed Service Provider, your disaster recovery options are limited.
Pandemic-themed phishing exploded in 2020, with many scams targeting remote workers. As businesses slowly bring employees back, phishers modify their approach to target workers returning to the office.
Some organizations are continuing the work-from-home model, which must include improved remote workplace security. Even pre-pandemic, VPN and RDP were popular attack vectors. Given the flood of new remote endpoints — many relying on not-very-secure home internet connections — we can expect that popularity to continue.
How Security Events Impact Your Business
Security breaches of every size and severity present considerable costs to your organization. Firstly, there are direct effects such as lost revenue and reduced employee productivity due to downtime or encrypted files.
Then there are the costs to recover from the event, including:
- Equipment replacement and repair
- Data recovery
- Legal and compliance penalties
- Security audit
- Ransom payment
- Searching for new customers
The last item on this list is quite significant. Today’s consumers are highly protective of their data. Even a minor breach can have a substantial impact on client trust. Reputational damage is harder to quantify, but the financial implications can mean lost clients and a loss of standing in the marketplace.
How Managed IT Service Providers Can Help Secure Your Business
There are many benefits to partnering with a managed IT service provider (MSP) for security instead of trying to do it all in-house. Among these reasons are technological access, broad areas of expertise, and cost control.
Few small to midsize businesses can afford to update their security technology or hire multiple security experts. Partnering with an MSP ensures you get all of that and more, all for a predictable cost.
How an MSP Can Make Your Data, Applications, and Systems More Secure
1. Patching and Updates
Missed patches are a significant — and frighteningly common — vulnerability. With many IT departments stretched thin, keeping up to date can be difficult. An MSP can help ensure the latest security patches are tested and installed immediately.
2. Security Assessments
When Managed Service Provers conduct a security assessment, they review your technology systems, physical security, and policies. They look for holes and weaknesses that could lead to a breach. Then, they provide guidance and expertise on how to fix them before malicious users find a way in.
3. Education and User Awareness Training
Employees don’t have to be a weak link in your security. An MSP can customize training to address your specific weaknesses and vulnerabilities, so employees become an extension of IT and the first line of defence.
4. Server and Network Protection
Intrusion detection and prevention are a critical part of protecting your business. An MSP can provide the tools, technology, monitoring, and support needed to ensure your IT infrastructure is secure.
5. Secure Endpoint Management
With many employees working remotely, endpoint protection ensures all network access points are secure. An MSP can configure, monitor, and manage endpoint protection that covers all devices on-site or off.
6. Antivirus Management
Antivirus applications are only helpful if they are installed and used correctly. An MSP will set up antivirus coverage across the organization and manage the applications to ensure they are always current. They will also ensure automated alerts are received and addressed when something suspicious occurs.
7. Disaster Recovery
Between rampant ransomware, unpredictable weather patterns, and good old-fashioned human error, one thing is clear. At some point, your organization will need to clean up after a crisis. An MSP can design and implement a disaster recovery and business continuity plan to restore operations quickly and protect against data loss.
8. Around-the-Clock System Monitoring
In-house IT teams require time off. An MSP provider has staffing resources in place for 24/7/365 system monitoring. If a breach or suspicious event occurs at 4 a.m., someone can be on it immediately.
9. Vulnerability Assessments and Penetration Testing
When used in conjunction, vulnerability assessments and penetration testing are potent weapons against ransomware and other security threats. Many MSPs employ security experts who can evaluate your organization’s risk level. They can show you how hackers can get into your systems and what damage they can inflict once they get there.
10. Dark Web Monitoring
Stolen data often ends up for sale on chat rooms, blogs, forums, private networks, and other illicit sites on the dark web. An MSP can schedule regular dark web scans to monitor these sites looking for mentions of your business’s email domains and IP addresses as well as stolen customer lists or data and employee login credentials.
Your data, applications, and customers’ trust are too valuable to leave unprotected. Partnering with a trusted managed IT service provider enables your internal IT team to focus less on the mechanics of security and more on building revenue opportunities for the business. Learn more about the benefits of managed IT services.