Guest Column | May 13, 2020

The Top 3 Security Issues Companies Face And How MSPs Can Help

By Ellie Elphick, Buchanan Technologies

Cyber Fraud security

Compliance, as it relates to security protocols, is becoming crucial – if not mandatory – to maintain, yet increasingly difficult to achieve.

For example, healthcare organizations must adhere to HIPAA requirements to protect patients’ personal health information (PHI), while any business that accepts credit or debit card payments must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) to ensure the security of cardholders’ sensitive information.

Today’s threat landscape – and the safety measures against it – is rapidly evolving. According to an article by Forbes, data breaches exposed 4.1 billion records in the first six months of 2019, with 3.2 billion of those records exposed by just eight breaches. Furthermore, the average data breach wasn’t detected until 90-180 days after it happened per the SANS Institute.

With this in mind, data security should be at the forefront of every organization’s overarching IT strategy.

Regulating The Top 3 Security Concerns With Managed Services

With the multitude of regulatory compliances in place across organizations and industries, maintaining compliance to ensure sensitive data is protected is becoming more and more complex.

This blog will outline the top three security issues organizations face and how IT managed service providers (MSP) can help while simultaneously meeting compliance standards.

Password Policies

Passwords are one of the most important aspects of an organization’s IT strategy and serve as the “first line of defense” when safeguarding sensitive data. According to TraceSecurity, a recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report showed that 81 percent of hacking-related breaches leveraged either stolen or weak passwords.

Circumstances, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, may require employees to work remotely. This doesn’t necessarily mean employees will be working from their home – they may venture out to a coffee shop or communal workspace, increasing the chances of their passwords being stolen if they aren’t careful.

Stronger passwords – especially when working remotely – should not just be advised, they should be required. It is recommended that employees update their passwords every 90 days or so, do not use the same password across multiple accounts, and incorporate a minimum length and use of special characters for maximum security.

IT managed service providers can help reinforce strong password protection policies and compliance through automation services and secure storage. MSPs also will monitor and manage your network and infrastructure for threats, increasing security and mitigating risks.

Account Decommissioning

The correct steps must be taken from an IT perspective when an employee’s time at your company has come to an end, one of the most important being to decommission their company accounts.

Account decommissioning is vital to an organization’s IT health. If a former employee still has network access even after they’ve left, they can still acquire sensitive documents and information, posing a major security threat. This is another example of a business process that can easily be performed by automation services.

Remember, decommissioning an account does not necessarily mean you have to delete folders and files since it is likely another individual will be hired to fill the role and may require certain documents. Just remember to remove all of the former employee’s access and permissions.

Security Awareness

Once your end users have access to mission-critical applications, documents, and technologies, they should receive education on and learn how to apply best practices when it comes to maintaining the security of their system and resources.

Unsolicited communications requesting employees to enter sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, or credit card information is known as phishing. This is one of the most common ways cybercriminals can gain access to your network. Providing tips and training to your employees on how to identify phishing attempts and what to do if they receive one is paramount in keeping your data secure.

If employees are not utilizing a secure VPN for internet connectivity and are instead relying on their home or a public Wi-Fi connection, secure data may be at risk. Reinforcing the password protection tips mentioned above can help reduce the chance of unauthorized individuals gaining access to their network.

Leave It To The Experts

Managed IT security service providers have extensive IT knowledge and proven processes in place when it comes to industry standards with compliance and security protocols. Additionally, by outsourcing your IT needs, your in-house staff will be freed up to focus on more revenue-generating projects that drive your business forward.

About The Author

Ellie Elphick is the marketing communications specialist at Buchanan Technologies, where she uses her prior PR and marketing experience to brainstorm and write blogs, case studies, social media content, marketing campaign materials, and more in the managed services space. She also assists with press relations for the company.