Controlling the Costs of IT Security: Why It’s a Lot Easier Than You Think
One of the common themes that’s permeated a lot of the meetings I’ve been having with both current and prospective clients lately can all be summed up in a single word: security. These chats may not, however, be taking the shape you probably think they are.
Yes, cyber security is critical and it’s an issue that is only getting more pressing as time goes on. But I’ve also found that there’s something of a “security fatigue” that is setting in across the landscape, and it couldn’t be coming at a worse possible time.
The sheer volume of cyber security information available to all of us has gotten so large that I’ve personally seen a lot of people sort of “tune out” otherwise important considerations. At a certain point they shut off, assuming that either a simple antivirus solution is going to address their concerns or that their IT provider is exclusively responsible for safeguarding their systems.
Those that do understand how dangerous these two ideas are are usually hit with sticker shock almost immediately, as a lot of these solutions don’t usually provide a tangible return on their already expensive investment.
Based on all this, the question you should be asking yourself becomes clear: how do you make sense of it all? Where do you even begin? How do you properly safeguard your system in an era where this type of technology is becoming more expensive all the time?
Thankfully, the answer is simple. You don’t reduce costs or hope someone takes care of everything for you. You take matters into your own hands and control costs along the way.
The good news is that this is a lot easier than you probably think it’s going to be. It just requires you to keep a few key things in mind.
Understand the Game You’re Playing
But first, a matter of perspective.
You need to acknowledge that no matter what type of business you’re running, what size that business is or even the industry it’s operating in, you too are likely to become the target of a cyber attack.
Cyber crime does not discriminate and it can happen to absolutely everyone. Therefore, if you fell into the category of people who assume that a straightforward antivirus solution is enough to “get the job done,” you may want to re-evaluate your position.
Likewise, you need to acknowledge that your MSP isn’t a “silver bullet” to that end. We absolutely need your complete cooperation so that they can better understand how impactful inaction could be from any appreciable IT security standpoint.
If you designate a single person – or your MSP – to “cover it all,” it’s only going to lead to you feeling like you’re taken advantage of because you’re paying a lot of money to a company who is totally in the dark as to the work that really needs to be done.
In truth, you’re not trying to stop yourself from becoming a target at all – that’s largely impossible. You’re trying to stop yourself from becoming a victim. That’s a different matter altogether.
The Relationship Between Security and Cost
With all of that in mind, there are a number of different strategies AND tools that, when used together, can not only minimize the volume of cyber security incidents that you’re dealing with, but can also greatly improve your company’s security posture as well.
First and foremost, the number one thing that you can do to control the costs of IT security and improve your digital defenses has to do with training for your employees. Everyone – from the newest hire to the people who have been there from the beginning – need to be trained often about the different types of threats that are emerging on a daily basis.
They need to not only know what a phishing email looks like, but what the consequences are of engaging with one. They need to know what to do if one comes across their inbox. They need to understand how poor IT hygiene can easily negatively impact not only their ability to work, but your entire organization as a whole.
Secondly, you need to acknowledge that your MSP is less a service provider and more a partner – and those relationships are a two-way street. Even doing something as simple as making sure that your machines are patched and updated so that your MSP doesn’t have to gently remind you about it on a regular basis will go a long way.
You also want to make sure that you’re actually collaborating with your MSP or other IT provider so that they have clarity on the areas of exposure you’re subject to. They can’t protect you against what they don’t know. They want to help you – you just have to let them.
Above all is, don’t forget that the cost of downtime is high and the cost of restoring your reputation after a data breach is even higher. Small businesses in particular can’t afford either of those two things and, with growing compliance requirements, the consequences of not heeding this advice can quickly grow expensive beyond your wildest imagination. That’s not hyperbole – that’s a cold, hard fact.
In the end, it’s critical for you to remember that understanding the threats you face is just as important as implementing the solution meant to guard against them. If you make decisions with that idea in mind, you won’t have to worry about the costs of IT security because the solutions will start to speak for themselves.
About Jeremy Louise
Jeremy Louise is the Vice President of Sales and Business Development at Technical Support International, an organization dedicated to helping businesses all over the area get the most out of their IT investment. To find out more information about controlling the costs of IT security, or to learn more about what TSI can do for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.