As a small business owner, I understand the daily grind needed to grow our businesses. We work hard to provide solid service to our clients. We devote both time and dollars to market our products and services. And we all dream of financial security.
Unfortunately, all of this hard work can be lost in a matter of minutes if we aren’t focused on proper IT security for our business. One lucky shot by a hacker can completely disrupt our business operations at all levels. However, with the right layers of IT security in place, hackers don’t stand a chance and you have one less thing to worry about.
The Problem: IT Security of Sensitive Data
Every business has assets that others want, and the motive behind why they want them is less than shady to be blunt. Data thieves are on the lookout for assets like:
- Customer lists
- Pricing data
- Company and customer financials
- Credit card data
- Trade secrets and strategy (intellectual property)
In addition to worrying about protecting these assets, certain industries such as healthcare, financial, legal, and HR have additional IT security needs placed on them due to mandatory government regulations and compliance standards. Some common regulations are HIPPA, PCI-DSS, GDPR, FERPA – but this is by no means a comprehensive list. Trust me when I say that it’s a lot for a small to medium business (SMB) to have to worry about and understand.
The image below illustrates how data thieves can so easily attack your company. The green section represents all of a company’s assets and where those assets are stored. The blue section represents a typical company’s layer of data protection. The red arrows represent all of the ways that hackers try to steal your data.
The Solution: Adding Layers of Protection!
How do you protect your business from constant threats? Hackers are at work 24/7 — without working 24/7 yourself, how can you keep a constant watch on your systems? If you’re thinking I am over exaggerating, then you need to rethink the situation. SMBs are often targeted over large businesses because they are easier targets and most can be easily breached. The stakes are high: if your data is compromised, you can lose both your customer’s trust and, ultimately, your business.
The items in the PROTECT layer are easily accessible and a great first line of defense. But, they are not enough. They do not inform you if something happens.
The PROTECT layer includes (but not limited to): OS and Managed Firewall, Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware, VPN, WiFi, Backup, Password Management, Spam Filters, Access Control (Permissions), Company Policy Creation, Employee Training
For most SMBs, the only time they think about networks is when they go down or when then worry about cyber attacks (this is what makes them vulnerable!). And that’s when it’s too late. Our DETECT layer is like having a security camera installed inside of your computers and networks.
Our suite of tools scans and evaluates your network for any possible threats. It sends these threats to our administrators so we can quickly repair any security vulnerabilities. We also implement a regular maintenance plan to make sure your systems are up-to-date and prepared for the latest that hackers try to through your way. Managing a secure network requires experience, and we have it.
The DETECT layer includes (but not limited to): Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware, Managed Firewall, Camera / Surveillance System, Dark Web Search, SIEM, SOC, Internal Network Scan, Intrusion Detection System, External Penetration Test, DNS Filter
Equally as important as protecting your systems from an attack is how fast you can get your systems back up and mitigate the data loss. Time is money for any business. Not having access to critical data = money lost. Additionally, reputation management and customer trust is a slippery slope with a data breach. The longer repair takes, the more damage control you have to do. It’s crucial that you have the tools in place for a swift and steady RESPONSE.
The RESPONSE layer includes (but not limited to): System and Data Restore from Backup, Cyber Insurance, Security Operation Center (SOC), Trusted Advisor, Data Forensics, Public Relations, Disaster Recovery Plan, Endpoint Response, Breach Response Plan
The Solution: It all starts with an IT Security Assessment
If we want to eliminate the often easy access that data thieves have to SMBs sensitive data, we have to remove the holes in our data defense. This is where the pros step in! Hiring a qualified managed IT services company, like CMIT Solutions of Round Rock, is your first line of defense. We look at the solution holistically, with a goal of putting a layer of protection around all of a company’s systems: servers, wifi, switches, etc.
We will complete an in-depth IT security analysis that will:
- Determine where the holes in your IT armor lie
- Analyze any potential issues that come with your IT systems
- Identify any risk(s) or threat(s) to your IT systems and what tolerance, if any, your systems have to these risks/threats.
- Recommend the best tools and/or services to mitigate the risk
- Help deploy the tools/services so that you reduce the risk of crashing your current system.
Your IT services partner should also conduct periodic reviews because data thieves are smart (and very cunning)! They know to constant change the threat so detection becomes harder. It’s truly a game they like to play with your IT security.
To sum it all up: can you answer these questions about your IT Security?
- Where is your data?
- How is it protected?
- Do you have any Regulatory requirements?
- If so what are they? Are there penalties for violations?
- Do you have contractual requirements?
- What is your Risk Tolerance?
If you can’t answer one of these questions, or if your answer is the complete opposite of what we discussed today, it’s time to schedule a threat assessment!