Benefits Up Front
- Grasp what effective cybersecurity entails
- Consider pros and cons of outsourcing cybersecurity
- Understand the need for cybersecurity as an investment
- Know what it takes to gain peace of mind
What Cybersecurity Entails
Every day seems to bring news of cyber attacks that involve data theft, ransomware, or extortion. The attacks on large organizations get most of the headlines (think IKEA, public institutions, or the recent Apache Log4j threat), but cyber actors penetrate small businesses more often. All risk being targeted.
Basically, cybersecurity involves three major components: (1) safe storage and transmission of data (files, sensitive personal information) and other measures to prevent attacks, (2) ability to recover quickly from data loss due to attacks or other catastrophic events, and (3) having a plan in place to respond to any unfortunate event.
Most data breaches occur when someone with authorized access does something—say, by clicking on a malicious email attachment or providing login information in response to a phishing request—that allows a cybercriminal to penetrate the security perimeter. Increased reliance on remote workers, however, makes maintaining a secure perimeter in an office location somewhat obsolete. Now, there are simply more points of entry into an organization’s network.
Further, because of the personal and economic significance of loss of sensitive information, legal and financial liability for such loss looms as an existential threat for most organizations. Protocols for notifying clients of data breaches must now be followed, and recovery of and resecuring access to such data must be included in any cybersecurity plan.
Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Cybersecurity
Prevention of data loss and recovery from malicious attack or unintended catastrophe can be handled in-house by IT staff who possess the required skills and have the time to manage the many aspects involved. Or the task can be outsourced to experts who furnish such services.
Further, because bad actors continually revise and refine their tactics, maintaining data security requires time and expertise to keep up with such changes. That’s why many organizations with in-house IT operations now outsource management of cybersecurity.
In-house IT staff often find that cybersecurity management distracts them from providing support to sales, marketing, product/service development, or other organizational divisions. For instance, when can they find the time to do the necessary research to make sure that your business’s security protocols are sufficiently up to date? And do they have the time to train other employees to implement revised protocols?
To address this need, many companies now look to outsource cybersecurity to vendors who have the expertise and resources to manage such tasks full-time. Nevertheless, spending on cybersecurity add-ons might impair smooth business operations or might not address concerns related to your particular business. In the absence of a knowledgeable, strategic approach to the operations of a business, spending on stand-alone cybersecurity efforts might be a waste of money.
In other words, if you outsource cybersecurity, you might overspend without getting the sort of benefit that you really need. Therefore, you should consider an outside security vendor who will take the time to strategically analyze and address your needs so that security and operational efficiency go hand-in-hand.
Outsourcing Cybersecurity as Strategic Investment
Many CEOs think of cybersecurity as another discretionary cost of doing business—one that can be postponed or ignored in favor of other, more important operations such as sales or marketing. After all, why waste money on preventing something that might never happen?
The problem is that such thinking incurs a great deal of risk. Consider someone who drives on worn-out tires. To be sure, bald tires can still get you down the road. But when it rains or snows, watch out! Spending money on new tires won’t win compliments from your friends. But they might keep you alive.
Similarly, with cybersecurity: marrying an approach to data security with precisely how your organization operates not only will protect you from catastrophic loss but will also improve the efficiency of your operations. Let’s turn that around.
You might be more willing to spend money to improve operational efficiency. Of course, improving efficiency and convenience for employees requires some strategic planning. The point is that cybersecurity can and should become part of your strategic operations planning. That’s how you get the most out of your investment.
For example, suppose you need to increase security by improving password management. You see that you should make passwords more difficult to decipher, train employees on password culture, and restrict access to data. But doing all of this for the many applications and data portals used in your business makes achieving your objective nearly impossible.
Nevertheless, if you adopt a program that provides a “single sign on” capability, whereby each user has only one password that grants appropriate access to all necessary applications and portals, both the efficiency and convenience to employees increase at the same time that security is enhanced.
Further, if you partner with an external cybersecurity manager who can analyze and understand your organization’s operations in detail, opportunities for improving efficiency and security together will surely arise. And you will also acquire regular security monitoring. This includes the security of your operations as well as knowledgeable data recovery when needed.
Outsourcing Cybersecurity – Gain Peace of Mind
There’s little point to worrying about whether your business is safe from cyber-attack. You’ve got better things to do managing mission-critical operations. Increasingly, owners find that outsourcing highly technical tasks to experts who keep up on the latest developments is a way to gain peace of mind while attending to what will grow their bottom line.
This is even more true for businesses that cannot support all IT operations in-house. The trick is to find an outside vendor who will be committed to improving both operational efficiency and security—someone who will work with you strategically. Now IT Works has been doing just that for small businesses in Connecticut for over 20 years. Contact us today to set up the right level of cybersecurity for your small business.