In an era of unprecedented technology and information accessibility, even companies that are security-minded can’t necessarily keep up with the myriad vulnerabilities, software patches, and always-on-guard mindset required to safeguard confidential business data.
The problem gets even harder when the lines between work and home can get so blurred. Whether you’re a healthcare provider dealing with patients’ confidential information, a service provider who handles delicate financial transactions on a regular basis, or “just” dealing with your day-to-day business operations, you need to know that the data you’re handling is secure. Unfortunately, with new malware and threats being created every day, it can be challenging for even an experienced IT team to stay on top of everything—especially if there’s not a member of that team who specializes in security.
Good hackers have a shocking number of ways to attack networks these days: they can slide in through vulnerable or poorly set-up remote network access tools; they can trick a user into running malware or divulging a password through a bogus email or web site; they can find an existing security hole with software already on your network and slip in through an opening that the programmers missed; and so many more. Your antivirus catches part of it, but companies often learn the hard way that there are just too many avenues of attack to leave your network’s security in the hands of automated, and often unmonitored, solutions like antivirus—which may only be reviewed occasionally by an already-overworked IT generalist team. It’d be wise to nail down an IT partner with a whole team that actually has the time, resources, and expertise to keep a constant eye on your company’s security infrastructure.
In order to preempt threats, there are many facets to your information security that you need to handle up front. For example, if you’re connecting to your network from off-site, you need to ensure that your data is secure from outside intrusion while still making it easily accessible to your team, wherever they are. This can mean everything from securing the network itself to securing the data contained on each employee’s laptop. You’ll want two-factor authentication. You’ll want all employees to run corporate antivirus software on their devices. And you’ll want a lot of other things that an IT team with security in mind will want you to have—a “just make it work” mentality is all too common when the goal of your business is to get things done, but when expediency trumps design and security, bad things follow.
While there are some breaches that you can avoid simply by teaching your employees internet safety (for example, never clicking on a link that they don’t recognize, avoiding emails from sources that they don’t trust, and recognizing the habits most often associated with scammers), the best approach to business security is a comprehensive one. Identify a team that not only can help you put ongoing security practices in place, but that can also maintain them for you as necessary and constantly monitor, identify, and quickly react to new security threats.
It’s important to keep in mind that even if your current IT staff (especially if it’s just one person in the back) “can do everything,” there is a very good chance that they can’t. Maintaining and reacting to security issues can take your IT team away from their day-to-day tasks, forcing them to make a choice between the probably not-yet-urgent security issue and everything else they do that keeps your business up-and-running. Any small business owner who has dedicated their day-to-day lives to just keeping the basics of the business on-track knows which one of those two choices will win every time—but that means that your security exposure only increases over time. In this day and age of frequent, automated, and low-skill security exploits, just trying to slip by unnoticed is a huge risk for any size business.
At IT Freedom, we’re dedicated to monitoring the latest threats in the industry (and maybe some of us get a secret thrill out of it). Every month, we provide updates to our clients’ systems so they’re best prepared for whatever vulnerabilities might come. Worried that a critical threat might catch you (and even us!) off-guard? We handle critical threats immediately, restoring your system security quickly so that you and your customers don’t have to sleep with one eye open. We like to think of ourselves as the behind-the-scenes extension of your team, keeping a close eye on everything so you don’t have to.