Data breaches aren’t only targeted to large, well-known companies. These attacks can affect any sector of business at any size and create setbacks and large costs.
Almost a third of data breaches in 2020 involved small businesses that can be vulnerable and not effectively protected. Data theft and breaches come in all different forms from small annoyances to large scale attacks that leave an impact. This is a major concern for all businesses, but especially for lower scaled businesses that don’t always have the resources to come back up from data theft and risk having to shut the business down.
And since hackers constantly find new ways to outmaneuver security measures for data repositories, smaller organizations are easier targets because they’re more susceptible.
Let’s start with Passwords
Alarmingly, in enterprises of all kinds, most data breaches are sourced from actions that employees can prevent. Although it seems so simple, the biggest culprit is weak passwords for things like computers, mobile devices, email, databases, CRM systems, printer/scanning/faxing equipment, and collaboration tools (think Zoom, Slack, and the like). Especially when they’re cloud-based, such apps and systems are all potential data access points — and open doors — for a hacker if you are not properly protected.
Regular password updates are an associated problem, as is making sure employees routinely follow security procedures. Hackers always manage to create fake emails and phone calls that convince employees to unwittingly give out their private information and access to their accounts.
Make Security a Priority
At the user level, continuous education and monitoring for password-based security can help curb hackers and deter data theft. This is where a Managed Service Partner for advanced IT and data security can help.
Beginning with informing your employees about data security and how hackers can gain access to your network and systems and devices, an MSP can also:
- Establish enterprise-wide security plans, set password rules and password update schedules, and continually monitor employee compliance. In addition to protecting all devices and servers, strong password protection prevents someone from accessing a lost or stolen company device and performing a remote wipe of data on all other devices in your organization.
- Help ensure that remote workers connect to a secure network. An MSP can safeguard your wireless network with encryption and security to hide it from users outside your company, and further enable secure connections only to authorized employees using VPN or similar protections. If employees have the choice, make sure to always connect to a secure WiFi network.
- Detect — and readily alert employees to — bogus downloads from unknown sources. Hackers often target a business by getting employees to download an “imitation” file or open a suspicious email that can install malware on their computer or mobile device.
- Assess what data within your business requires the most protection. Not every employee needs to see all the data you possess and manage. In preventing data theft, it makes sense to first limit access to sensitive data in your company.
The Benefits of Having a Protective Service
As we’ve pointed to thus far, network, systems and device security for preventing data theft is a primary reason an SMB should consider hiring a managed service provider.
MSPs are able to provide security expertise and solutions that many servers aren’t fiscally able to support with an in-house IT department.
You might also want to ask these MSP-related questions:
- What services are you looking for? Every MSP offers their own range of services (base services such as IT and user support, integration, data backups and so on are generally comparable among providers). Consider whether their offerings coincide with the needs you’ve determined are greatest for your own company.
- Does the MSP value security? While the cloud provides several inherent security measures, data security can always be enhanced. And should be. Therefore, look for an MSP who values your security as much as they do their own.
- Does an MSP’s expertise match the values of your company? It’s great to gain the expertise of partnering with an MSP. Make sure they’re truly knowledgeable and certified in maintaining the systems you use, however, and the partnership becomes even more valued.
- What are the potential costs and timeline to onboard? It’s important to know the different processes and styles of each MSP you look into. Make sure an MSP’s approach to everything they do meshes with your company’s own way of working.
What will the costs be? Typically, an MSP will charge a monthly fee for the services you secure from them. Some fees come in the form of a Service Level Agreement, or SLA, other services are based on a time and materials (T&M) framework, and still others are priced by way of an all-inclusive “all-you-can-eat” model. Just make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for before you sign the contract.
Preventing data theft is vital and Benchmark and our parent company, Visual Edge IT, is here to help. To begin, we recommend a risk assessment to identify and clearly define your company’s cybersecurity needs.