A business has to balance many responsibilities. If you have a data network, you have to deal in IT. This means not just purchasing and setting up computers and software, but keeping them safe. That’s really more than a business can do well without security specialists, and good ones don’t come cheap. Except for very large companies, the most sensible way to go is to hire a managed services company with strong network security skills.
Businesses with limited resources can’t be their own IT companies. Here are six reasons why trying to do it all in-house won’t work.
1. Small businesses are big targets
Nearly two-thirds of online attacks are aimed at small businesses. Individually, they may not be the most lucrative targets, but the crooks know that many of them are easy pickings. They have inadequate data protection or none at all. A breach of confidential data is often devastating. Loss of personal information such as Social Security numbers and credit card information exposes a company to serious liability and ruins its reputation. Ransomware can wipe out essential files and make it impossible to continue normal business.
Small businesses need protection which is as strong as what big enterprises need. But the big companies have economies of scale. They can employ a full-time security staff. Achieving the same level of safety with in-house staff requires a much bigger proportion of a small business’s resources.
2. The threat landscape keeps changing
Every day brings new attacks to the Internet. A network that’s well protected against yesterday’s threats may be wide open to one that just appeared today. It needs to adapt constantly as new threats emerge.
This isn’t just a matter of installing the latest antivirus software. Security patches for operating systems and applications need to be installed when they become available. New tricks for getting users to make mistakes constantly appear. Spam filters and IP blacklists need to be updated. The daily amount of new information on threats is huge.
3. IT staff already has plenty to do
The IT support staff needs to deal with lost files, malfunctioning computers, new installations, and general questions every day. It’s got enough work to take up all its time. Unless the IT budget is big enough to hire specialists, the staff has to balance security against the daily burden of upkeep. Users saying they can’t get anything done on their machines are going to take priority over abstract security concerns.
The only way to keep up is to have people whose primary job is maintaining data security. Unless there’s already a large IT staff, assigning one of them this task isn’t feasible. A managed service provider has the resources to take care of ongoing security support without being dragged away by day-to-day issues.
4. Compliance with standards is complicated
Many businesses have to comply with certain security standards. If they don’t, they may lose access to essential services or face legal penalties. These standards go beyond most people’s ideas of data security. It may be a violation just to send certain kinds of data by email. PCI affects merchants that accept credit cards. HIPAA affects anyone handling personal healthcare data. GDPR affects almost everyone, at least in principle.
Knowing what’s required for compliance calls for specialized knowledge. A typical IT department doesn’t have the resources to be sure it’s keeping up with all applicable standards.
5. An outside perspective is necessary
The IT staff lives with the network every day. They’re part of it. It’s hard for them to stand outside the network and assess it. Proper configuration is necessary to block as many threats as possible. Monitoring is important for detecting threats. Penetration testing can identify weaknesses in software.
It’s easy to take what you see every day for granted and not notice its problems. An independent perspective is necessary, together with specialized expertise in network security. That enables being thorough, objective, and harshly critical when necessary.
6. User training is central
An important part of network security is users who are well trained in secure practices. If they’re careless with their passwords or with email, no technical security measures can fully make up for that.
Cyber security awareness training isn’t within the average IT staff’s expertise. They understand what users should do, but communicating it effectively and promoting good habits is a separate skill. A company needs educators, not just tech experts, to get people on board with the best security practices.
Kotori can help your company achieve the level of security necessary to survive in today’s Internet. Contact us to learn how we can help with cyber security awareness training.