by Mike Fowler, CEO at Integris
I get it. It’s scary out there.
In an era of rising ransomware attacks and dire headlines about how businesses are unprepared, you can be excused for feeling a little overwhelmed.
After all, the facts are clear. Every business, regardless of its size, should have strong cybersecurity protections. But here’s a little secret: protecting yourself isn’t nearly as hard as many in my industry would have you believe. And more isn’t always better.
Case in point: according to IBM’s recent Cyber Resilient Organization Report, businesses have, on average, 45 different cybersecurity solutions running at any one time. Does that seem like an excessive number to you too? It is, especially for many small and medium-sized businesses. The good news is, with the right cybersecurity strategy, you can pare those numbers down to fewer security solutions that are better and cheaper than what you’re currently running. As an MSP that specializes in working with smaller businesses, we’ve built our business on offering that kind of strategic consulting. Here’s what we tell our clients who are looking to optimize their cybersecurity.
Practice Strategic Streamlining
“Too many programs” syndrome isn’t something that appears overnight. It is a situation that takes years to develop, usually as a result of layering on system after system over time. Chances are, it’s time to revisit your platforms, firewalls and security tools to determine which ones are overlapping. If you have cloud based servers mixed in with your own onsite servers, there’s a good chance you’ve got some duplicative cybersecurity services.
Another mistake we see getting made is buying cybersecurity services that you don’t necessarily need. For instance, let’s say you run a dental practice where all work takes place onsite. If your employees don’t have a need to access files outside of the office, then you probably don’t need to invest in mobile phones or tablets that loop into your networks, and the security systems that protect them. This kind of over-investment is just as common as under investment.
Ask yourself, does my organization:
- Need to secure large amounts of data or purchase information coming in from customers?
- Have a distributed remote/hybrid workforce?
- Handle large amounts of data that requires specific protocols, like HIPAA-protected information?
The answers to these questions will determine which direction your cybersecurity efforts should take. I recommend starting there, and streamlining your services around that. You’ll find a lot of natural efficiencies that way, and products that bundle much of what you need together for the lowest cost.
Simplify Employee Security Training
Are you spending a lot of money for consultants to come in and give customized security training to your staff? Sometimes that’s necessary, and sometimes, it’s not. There are a lot of off-the-shelf training programs that a good managed IT services provider can set up for you that can save you a tremendous amount of money. These online programs are terrific, and best of all, you can test and document employees easily through the program as part of your Human Resources/training protocols. This allows you to make training required, a part of your culture, and easily accessible in smaller, bite-sized chunks for employees.
Consolidate in the Cloud
The modern workplace journey to the cloud has one major benefit: security and security updates that are baked right into the platform. When your software streams through the cloud, it is always updated and using the latest security patches. When your files are stored in the cloud, that information is protected by all the security protocols offered by your cloud storage provider. And when your operating system streams through the cloud, like Microsoft Windows 365 Cloud PC, your entire data network is protected.
Cloud based organizations can forego some of the extra costs of buying individual security products for their business, because it’s part of the cloud package. You’ll need to talk to your IT provider about firewalls, of course, as well as secure cloud backup services to guard against data loss or cyber attacks on your system. But when taken together, most companies migrating to the cloud see big savings in labor, consulting fees, and the budget they’d allocate to security tools.
It’s Time to Talk.
If you haven’t had a chance to talk with your MSP provider or your internal IT help about security lately, the time to have that discussion is now. Don’t avoid the issue. New threats are on the horizon all the time. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to improve your security coverage, boost your productivity, and better your bottom line, do you? Whether you’re a current client or not, the experts at Integris are always willing to help you talk through your cybersecurity strategy. Contact us, and we’ll be happy to set an appointment!