If 2014 was “The Year of the Breach,” with a whopping 43% of North American firms telling the Ponemon Institute that they experienced a hack in 2014, then what lies ahead in 2015 for technology and security?
Tech Crunch described our current state of awareness as “a tipping point for cybersecurity.” The FCC recently brought its first data breach enforcement action against two telecommunications carriers, fining them $10 million for failing to protect the personal information of up to 305,000 consumers. And a recent survey by IT security evaluations company, Software Advice, of small to medium-sized business owners and decision makers found that
· 65% are now more concerned about cybercrime than they were 12 months ago
· 87% cite the media coverage of breaches in 2014 as a cause of increased concern
· 57% plan to increase spending in 2015 on security for their businesses
· 25% cite data loss prevention as their top investment priority, along with 26% for firewall and 25% each for anti-malware and web security
Once it’s clear that heightened security is necessary to maintain the health of your company’s technology, the question becomes: “What can business owners do to achieve such goals?” Without in-house staff equipped to deal with the daily ins and outs of IT, this can be a major challenge.
Which is where managed services, best defined as a proactive rather than reactive approach to IT issues, comes in. Rather than struggling to come up with the time and resources to handle IT in-house, a trusted managed services provider can improve the productivity and efficiency of your staff while also keeping your business and its critical information safe. Here’s how:
· Anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware efforts. Viruses and malware are proliferating at a rate never seen before in the tech industry. Keeping up with such advances is nearly impossible for the average business owner, who’s often stretched thin enough without adding IT concerns to his or her plate. But most data breaches in 2014 were caused by viruses and malware delivered through a frightening array of means: malicious email, infected attachments, contaminated links. Fighting off such advances is critical to overall tech security.
· Remote backup. Maintaining the security of your data is one thing — making sure it’s around to be kept safe is another. With a redundant and repeatable process for regular data backups, you’re flying blind with your company’s most valuable asset. Beyond simple backup, disaster recovery, business continuity, and virtualization plans are also necessary to provide 100% protection for your information.
· Patch deployment. Would you rather struggle to play catch up with software patches and signatures, or entrust a rock-solid business partner to take care of such issues while you and your staff are out of the office and even asleep? The best managed services offerings handle patch deployment on a daily, off-hours basis, ensuring that none of your company’s technology suffers from a lapsed security setting.
· Access, identity, and firewall management. Like the necessities listed above, access, identity, and firewall management are similar bedrocks of any sound technology strategy. Keeping unauthorized users out of internal networks is crucial for data protection, and in all cases, a healthy firewall is still a must for small to medium-sized businesses.
· Dynamic, mobile- and cloud-ready security. But don’t let a good office firewall lull you into a false sense of security. As Tech Crunch said this month, “Traditional infrastructure security technologies that are based on the idea of a perimeter have become obsolete. The perimeter is dead; mobile devices wounded it and the cloud finished it off.” Which means that any security measures taken to protect a company’s technology must treat mobile and cloud security as equally important.
Improving data and technology security in 2015 doesn’t have to be an unattainable New Year’s resolution. With a managed services provider like CMIT Solutions by your side, “The Year of the Breach” can fade into the rearview mirror. Contact us today if you’d like a trusted partner to worry about your IT so that you don’t have to.