What keeps CTOs up at night? More than their newest project or company road map (although we’re willing to bet those things do cause some tossing and turning), their biggest source of insomnia is their company’s cybersecurity.
According to IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach is more than $3.8 million. And that’s just counting the initial expenses: forensic investigations, data recovery and regulatory filings. The hidden toll can be much more damaging—for instance, Home Depot is still paying out multimillion-dollar settlements for a breach that happened in 2014. So far, these court filings have cost the home improvement conglomerate around $179 million, plus another $161 million set aside for legal fees and insurance costs.
Needless to say, no one wants to be shelling out millions to pay for lax security, so it’s imperative that you—and your managed services provider (MSP)—take every possible measure to secure your data and other assets. With that in mind, here’s our list of the top five things your MSP should be doing to keep your business safe from a cybersecurity event.
Keep on top of software patches and updates
Unpatched software remains one of the largest sources of system vulnerabilities and is a huge contributor to data breaches. In fact, according to another Ponemon study, 57% of data breaches occurred due to a known software flaw. What makes these attacks particularly galling is that they could have been easily prevented with a little software maintenance. So, task your Austin IT services provider with patch rollout and ask about automating your vulnerability response processes to help you install patches quickly—before software flaws can be exploited.
Monitor for suspicious activity
Time is critical during a cybersecurity event, but it often takes months for businesses to spot an intrusion and then weeks after that to contain it. A good Austin IT services provider should be monitoring your network for unusual activity, such as suspicious file changes, abnormal access patterns, account abuse, unauthorized port access, security violations and other behaviors that could indicate a potential cyberthreat. A great MSP, however, will establish automatic alerts to investigate these suspicious activities the moment they occur, as well as provide network reporting so you can see how the company is performing overall.
If your important data isn’t protected, you’re headed toward disaster. Ransomware, a technique with which hackers steal unencrypted data and hold it hostage, is one of the most common types of attack faced by small businesses. Although the frequency of ransomware attacks has decreased slightly since 2017, the attacks that have occurred were much more targeted. That means if you’re still unprotected, you’re putting yourself in hackers’ crosshairs. An MSP can encrypt privileged data so attackers can’t access it and will also create backups for you to easily replace data in the event of theft.
Adopt multi-factor authentication (MFA)
Nearly every business struggles with password hygiene. Did you know that the average worker uses nine different apps to get their job done? It’s no wonder that remembering all those credentials often leads to user fatigue, which causes users to choose simpler—and less secure—passwords. That’s where multi-factor authentication can add a second layer of protection: Instead of a single password, users must enter both their password and a one-time PIN (sent to their phone or another personal device, for instance). While MFA can be useful across your company, you’ll particularly want to ask your MSP about adding it to VPN logins, enterprise applications and privileged data.
Stay one step ahead of the bad guys
We listed four security solutions above that can keep your organization safe from cyberthreats—today. However, that doesn’t mean these techniques will still be effective in a few years, as hackers are always looking for new methods to worm their way into your systems. Therefore, your IT services provider’s most useful trait will be its ability to stay one step ahead of the curve. Your MSP should be continually researching new threats, analyzing the performance of your security solutions and making suggestions for new protections as threats evolve.
If your MSP offers the five security solutions outlined above, that’s a sign of great IT support. Austin is full of providers like these—MyITpros among them. In addition to offering all the protections detailed here, we will customize solutions to meet your unique needs and challenges. You can learn more in our free download, The Ultimate Cybersecurity Bundle, in which you’ll read about the ins and outs of robust IT security and maybe even net yourself some peace of mind in the process. After all, don’t you deserve a good night’s rest for once?