According to Symantec’s 2016 Internet Security Threat Report , 43 percent of cyber attacks target small businesses. That increasing percentage is due to the fact that so many small businesses are easy targets, as they lack the necessary tools and policies, as well as the comprehensive security roadmap, to guide them.
The fact that so many businesses lack the IT support to create such a roadmap is one reason why so many small to medium-sized businesses are turning to managed services providers (MSPs) with strong networking and security experience. Understanding the vulnerability of your small business and how to best protect it from security threats requires understanding why a security roadmap is essential for small-business IT support.
The security roadmap is essentially made up of developing the following aspects:
- Assess Your Risk
- Build Your Policy
- Deploy and Test Controls
By exploring each of these aspects, your business can see the crucial role that the MSP plays in partnering with you in order to keep your data safe and the business growing.
Assess Your Assets, Risks, Resources
Developing the security roadmap starts with IT assessments and risk evaluation. That process culminates in cataloging and tracking your assets, including all company computers, routers, access points, tablets, printers, and fax machines. This enables your small-business IT support to determine the types and sources of data your company handles and to rank the data’s value.
Your small-business IT support in the form of a managed IT services provider will need to include the systems receiving data and outputting data, as well as those that process and store data. The connections in and out of the database may come from a wide range of end points that exist beyond your physical control, which must also be cataloged and protected. Only then can your MSP help you determine the main threats to your data and systems. This is the prelude to building the policies that will guide the security roadmap.
Build Your Security Policy
Information system security solutions such as the IT assessment inform the technology solutions that are chosen, as well as their implementation. This in turn informs the policies that guide security. For example, if policy states that only authorized employees can access certain data, suitable controls might be multifactor identification for network, server, and cloud storage access, as well as data encryption solutions for data at rest and in transit.
A key part of your security roadmap is having an identity access management system and policies to restrict network and application access to the employees who need it.
In addition to new security solutions, a security roadmap enables small-business IT support to fully implement security features available in products you already use. Examples are the data security measures available for documentation and data produced by on-site business software solutions like Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat, as well as their cloud-based counterparts like Microsoft Office 365.
Deploy and Test Controls
Developing a security roadmap with an MSP taking the role of your small-business IT support enables the MSP to be proactive in spotting emerging security threats and to make the necessary IT system security changes where data and access are concerned. In other words, the roadmap guides your IT support in the correct choices of access and security solution controls and how best to test them in order to ensure that access to data and systems is terminated appropriately.
MSPs can implement solutions for viruses and malware that attack the network from the outside with superior next-generation firewall solutions and encryption. This requires continual monitoring and management solutions that can deliver end-point security for on-site and off-site network and application access.
The roadmap will also provide the details for a backup and disaster recovery plan that protects the organization if it is impacted by a man-made or natural disaster that cuts off the business’s ability to operate. Small-business IT support can utilize the original IT assessment in order to determine if the best approach to managing secure data backup services is via colocation, cloud, virtual data, or software backup management solutions.
Today, cyber security for your small business must adopt fundamentally new approaches to deal with a reality where the threat may already be inside of the organization. With the Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report stating that 63 percent of data breaches involve leveraging weak, default, or stolen passwords, it’s clear that stolen credentials are one of the easiest ways to exploit small businesses. One solution that MSPs can deliver is a robust multifactor authentication solution as a part of identity access management.
The security roadmap is what guides your small-business IT support in the form of an experienced MSP to partner with you in developing security policies, finding and implementing security solutions, and enabling governance. Small-business IT support from an experienced MSP relies on its involvement in the development of the security roadmap with its IT assessments, security protocols, and security solutions. This approach ensures a more holistic approach to security that can continually adapt and evolve to the business and emerging threat sophistication.