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SMB Data Security Options: MSP or Self-Implementation

The IT threat to all businesses is growing every day. What are you doing to keep your business safe?

It’s true- there is no single solution to keep your business 100% safe from cyber-attacks. But, there are measures that when implemented, can increase your business’ safety.

SMBs are most commonly targeted in today’s business sphere. They are also the most susceptible to IT threats, due to their lack of investment in protective resources for their data.

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This is the biggest pitfall a business can make, industry leader or not, a business needs effective management and protection in their daily operation. Many businesses are moving from standard to hybrid and online cloud setups, and there is great debate on whether cloud or on-premise security is safer.

This is but one of many factors affecting the amount of risk businesses face by digitally storing sensitive data. For an SMB there are two options when investing in IT security, these being:

1. Managed Security service provider (MSSP)
2. SMB implements own IT security

Managed IT Security Service Provider

SMB’s operate in an environment characterized by unprecedented change and dominated by IT threats, developments, on top of keeping up with industry competitors and leaders.

It is a common challenge for SMBs of how best to manage organizational functions while remaining at their core purpose – running their business.

The protect intellectual property as well, the best solution on the market is to get a managed IT security service. This will effectively reduce your risk, improve employee productivity and save you money in the long run.

An MSSP optimizes all your IT security delivering network, application, system, and e-management services across all your functions, while simultaneously keeping it secure. Using a monthly or pay-as-you-go system removes ad-hoc spending as this cost-effective management service takes over.

Security precautions need to be proactively managed to be successful. An MSSP adopts a systematic approach to managing a business’s security requirements- conducting services both internally and externally. An MSSP will do all detailed security tracking operations including the following for an SMB:

– Round-the-clock monitoring of intrusion detection systems;
– Round –the-clock management of firewalls;
– Patch management & upgrades;
– Security assessments;
– Break/ Fix operations;
– Security upgrades;
– Security audits;
– First response team.

MSSP Opens Up New Opportunities

Collectively these tasks alleviate all pressures off an SMB owner, as the MSSP faces all daily information security tasks.

This allows you to focus on running your business and to shift focus onto other areas such as skills shortages or resource constraints. You can divert staff to other areas as less training and infrastructure will be required in your IT department, opening up new opportunities.

Cyber-attacks are impossible to predict, the real-time 24/7 reporting from your MSSP is extremely beneficial as you can track live threats or breaches to your network.

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Partnering with an MSSP

SMBs can stay ahead of the curve, maximizing their future profitability as risk decreases. But, it is important to understand that MSSPs do not eliminate ALL security risks and they should partner with the existing IT team and business to understand the risk profile of the business.

Some SMBs may be hesitant in handling their sensitive data over to MSSPs, but this cost can be overcome by an SMB implementing a confidentiality agreement between both parties.

SMB Implementing Their Own IT Security

Cybersecurity is growing as a priority for SMBs despite a lack in resources. With this in mind, if you are an SMB owner and not wanting to implement an MSSP, these cybersecurity mistakes must first be overcome:

1. No investment or dedicated resources
2. Unaware staff
3. No backups
4. Out of date
5. Personal devices

Security Measures Check-list for SMB

As your network and client base grow, it is essential that your security measures stay on par with the changes. The biggest threat to your SMB is your vulnerabilities, as hackers target these. Implement these features into your current IT Security solutions to protect your SMB against a cyber-attack:

  • Get cyber-security insurance;
  • Develop password strategy;
  • Use virtual Data rooms;
  • Get expert advice;
  • Be on top of internal threats;
  • Encrypt data;
  • Know the risks;
  • Make security a part of your company culture;
  • Update software frequently (malware, spyware);
  • Educate employees on phishing and what to look out for.

Costs of poor IT security for an SMB owner include business lost during attack, customer loss post attack (lost confidence), loss of company assets, reputational damage, costs of litigation, and reinforcement protection costs.

Related Story: CVE-2017-7494, the RCE Bug in Samba’s SMB Implementation

Unavoidable Responsibility

Cyber-attacks are becoming more and more predominant as our technology-driven economy becomes increasingly dependent on IT for daily tasks.

The biggest risk currently facing all SMB owners and managers is in-action. Ignorance of security and cyber-crime has devastating consequences for businesses; they are not just financial, they are reputational. As the economy welcomes new industry competitors daily, these two factors become increasingly important to an SMB, in order to survive.

If there is no defined position or role within the leaders of your business whose responsibility it is to make sure that your data is secure it often gets passed off to the IT company or someone else security-minded which can create gaps in your online defense.

Thus, implementing either MSSP or your own security solutions will optimize your security while minimizing your risk ultimately achieving the safe storage of your SMBs sensitive data.

Editor’s Note:

From time to time, SensorsTechForum features guest articles by cybersecurity and infosec leaders and enthusiasts such as this post. The opinions expressed in these guest posts, however, are entirely those of the contributing author, and may not reflect those of SensorsTechForum.

Harry Wilson (Guest Blogger)

Harry is a student currently living in Perth, Australia. His interests range from technology to web development. He is working towards a degree in Data Science with a view of becoming an established writer in the technology space.

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