Consider the challenge of today’s IT department. Traditionally, IT personnel have been responsible for protecting business operations from external threats that target company devices and networks within a company’s “four walls.” Today, however, businesses can leverage technologies outside their secure IT infrastructure to gain access to new sources of data, enhance competitiveness, improve business operations, build revenue and more.
Just as we are exposed to a variety of environments that can impact our health and well being, emerging IT ecosystems may integrate internal IT functions with a range of applications hosted off-premise. Cloud services, data storage and software-as-a-service (SaaS) all offer ways to boost an organization's productivity and efficiency. External social platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, help companies better connect with customers and reach prospects. The integration of third-party chat and credit-card-processing systems into company websites improves customer service.
But, all these additions to an IT ecosystem raise the stakes on managing security. In order to access these tools, the security of your infrastructure must expand to take advantage of these new capabilities. Exacerbating the problem is the rise in cybercrime, now considered the world’s biggest growth industry. The "Official 2019 Annual Cybercrime Report" predicts that cybercrime will cost companies across the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, increasing from $3 trillion in 2015.
With this in mind, it is now more important than ever to periodically perform an IT “health” check up and add ongoing preventative approaches to keeping your systems safe.
Take Stock of Ecosystem Technologies
You can’t know what to protect until you’ve taken an inventory of the applications that are core to your operations and other authorized technologies deployed on your network. Once that is done, the next step is to confirm application contracts and warranties are up to date to ensure access to the latest versions and patches, keeping your company productive and secure.
Security Starts with Training
Prevention is everything when it comes to cybersecurity, and that starts with end-user training. Employees are generally the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. Even deploying the strongest firewall is no defense against an employee clicking on a bad link or opening an email attachment from an unknown source.
When a virus gets into one system, it can replicate and transfer itself to all the connected devices on the network, resulting in data loss, crashes, email hijacks and more. That’s why a company needs a formal employee security plan and security awareness training. Because of the rapidly changing cybersecurity environment and new threats emerging all the time, training must be regularly updated, repeated and tested against new threats.
Conduct Regular IT ‘Health’ Checkups
A regular checkup to secure the IT ecosystem will identify and fix potential problem areas. For maximum security, quarterly “health” checkups should look at supported operating systems and web applications for vulnerabilities. End-of-life hardware also needs to be taken into consideration since vendor security patches and bug fixes end automatically. In the absence of state-of-the art security, hackers can infiltrate networks, steal information and wreak havoc on a previously secure infrastructure.
Companies that don’t have sufficient internal staff capabilities to conduct regular “health” checkups can secure IT security support from an IT managed service provider (MSP) such as Silverado. Our team will proactively review key components on a quarterly basis. We look at things like application sets, the company firewall, port files and offsite backups to ensure they are secure and up to date.
In addition, Silverado can review how data is shared, stored, and managed as well as provide insights as to whether these practices are compliant with regulations and standards such as HIPAA, PCI, NIST, and ISO, to name a few.
Threats are a Fact of Life
Threats to company IT infrastructure and ecosystem technologies are a fact of life and, at some point, most every company is going to face a data breach or downtime, which can result in a significant loss of revenue. On the busiest day of the year, the cost of being unavailable to customers or to have no access to company data could have devastating financial consequences.
Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet for security. Silverado understands business and can help companies make informed decisions about dealing with risks. We are also committed to ongoing training so that our team is up to date on the latest threats and security best practices. Invariably, a layered approach to security is the best approach - addressing potential vulnerabilities across all platforms on your network and systems.
Call Silverado at (520) 903-1580 or contact us online to make sure your IT ecosystem is immune from threats.