If you’re a small to medium sized business (or even a large business) then there’s a lot to manage. However, as IT professionals we always cringe when businesses tend to skimp on IT security. This can be incredibly costly for businesses both in terms of money as well as reputation (which you can’t really put a dollar amount on).
There have been many high profile data breaches in recent years. One of the biggest ones was with Target, who let a lot of credit card numbers get hacked due to subpar security measures. I myself (the author) had my credit card number eventually used fraudulently from this breach.
However, will customers hear news of a breach like this and stop shopping at a certain store because of it? I haven’t changed my shopping habits and I still shop at Target. After all, the bank covered the damages when criminals took my card number to a shoe store and bought almost $500 of shoes and then lunch at Subway. So who really bears the brunt of damages here?
Either way, the damage to a company’s reputation can suffer if companies are not careful about their IT security can be bad if they do not handle the aftermath well. This is what happened with Equifax recently and the resulting fallout from the mismanagement of the public relations after the breach. The coverups and attempts at patching the problems created more aggravation for customers and put a resulting black mark on their name.
AMA Networks, a managed IT services company based in San Diego California says that handling IT security is one of the most important aspects of a company’s IT planning. It’s not something that should be done part-time or half baked.
Ensuring there is a cultural attitude towards trying to suss out and prevent hacking is also important. Teaching and training employees in knowing what to look for is important. It’s surprising how many breaches occur because of an employee carelessly opening an email attachment or giving information over to a phone scammer. It’s true that these scams continue to get incredibly sophisticated so employee training is key.
It’s also important for business owners to keep tabs on the overall climate of security and subsequent news. It can be an important consideration when choosing major changes for companies such as the onboarding of new technology and managed IT experts in order to prevent security holes in new equipment.
Additionally, ensuring that your company is within compliance standards doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Compliance is often the bare minimum. In order to stay ahead of new threats you have to take a proactive approach to IT security and risk assessment. Staying ahead of the game means employing state of the art encryption technologies as well as making sure that your hardware and equipment can handle stricter security protocols.
Don’t be afraid to outsource these elements of IT jobs as it can put a strain on in-house IT staff that might already be too busy with other work.