The Usual Suspects: Why is your business vulnerable to IT security threats?

ITusualsuspectsIt feels like it was only yesterday we were discussing Heartbleed. This past week, the focus was on a new security threat called the Bash Bug, which potentially affects users of Linux and Mac OSX. It seems like there is always a new security issue right around the corner. With cyber security on the mind of many business leaders, are there common IT issues that leave your organization vulnerable? The answer is most definitely YES. There are the “usual suspects” that, when left unaddressed, can lead to disastrous consequences.

Suspect #1: The Cloud

The Cloud is amazing. The Cloud affects almost every aspect of an IT infrastructure. Reputable companies are offering productivity suites, data storage solutions, and SaaS, which allow companies to achieve scalable growth while saving money. However, the influx of cloud-based solutions also open your business up to security issues.

A few years ago, IT professionals were skeptical of each and every cloud solution offered. Security was taken seriously when evaluating which cloud solution was right for your organization. Recently, due to the overwhelming number of cloud-based options, it seems as if security has taken a back seat to cost, usability, or a myriad of other considerations. To really protect your IT infrastructure, each cloud solution should be properly vetted with a focus on security.

Suspect #2: BYOD

Many organizations are adopting BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies. This means that users at a company are allowed to utilize their personal devices for professional uses. Historically, businesses would assign employees a company-issued workstation and mobile device. These would use approved security standards, which would prevent potential misuse or security breaches. Nowadays, adopting a BYOD policy is fairly common. There is nothing inherently wrong about BYOD, but it needs to be monitored and secure. Instead, we are seeing data being compromised and users abusing the policy, leaving your IT infrastructure vulnerable.

Suspect #3: Reactive Security

With the sheer volume of new security threats out there, it’s understandable that your IT provider focuses on each to ensure your infrastructure is secure. Unfortunately, we are seeing a trend where all the focus of IT is on the threat in front of them, instead of potential threats in the future.

Reacting to the immediate threat costs time and money. There should be a proactive security mindset with your IT provider. Taking steps to ensure your infrastructure is secure before a threat appears will help minimize the cost and time associated with current threats. You won’t have to worry so much about Heartbleed or the Bash Bug if you have taken steps prior to secure your environment.

Suspect #4: Lack of Training

The final “usual suspect” could potentially be the worst. For many small and midsize businesses, it’s difficult to find the time and resources to properly train their IT staff. This leads to a staff that isn’t aware of current vulnerabilities and, therefore, wouldn’t be able to accurately predict security flaws before they’re exploited. When a security breach occurs, you are stuck picking up the pieces which is costly and not effective. A properly trained staff will be able to take every precaution available to prevent breaches, and when they do inevitably occur, they can be dealt with in an efficient manner.

These “usual suspects” are a few of the many reasons that small and midsize businesses should consider third party IT support vendors. They’re normally well trained and properly staffed and can devote the time and energy necessary to minimize the risk associated to these suspects. You can’t eliminate Cloud solutions or BYOD. You can’t magically train your staff or develop a proactive security strategy overnight. These are headaches that business leaders don’t have the time to address themselves. Rely on IT support providers who are experts in the field. This will save your business time and time again. Then when you read about the latest security threats, you can rest assured knowing that your organization won’t be a casualty.