Building a Cyber Security Sandwich with Common Sense: Defending Your Small Business… Deliciously!

Are you part of the 87% of small businesses who don’t think they’re at risk for a cyber security attack? According to CBS, half of small businesses have not only been attacked but had their security breached in the last year. A cyber security plan can mean the difference between an attack and a complete loss of data and security. The truth is, your small business is at risk. It’s time to take action.

There are several layers to an effective cyber security plan. Like a good sandwich, each piece might be decent on its own, but to get to the next level, there is a winning recipe waiting to be executed flawlessly.

To keep your business secure and your information safe, you need a preventative cyber security approach. This proactive undertaking involves regular maintenance of your hardware and software, keeping a close eye on company and personal data, and staying on top of your game with education and updates.

Hiring a managed IT services company, training employees, and installing enterprise-grade hardware and antivirus software are all critical to the protection of your small business. They are vital layers to the cyber security sandwich.

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Outsourcing IT: Choose Your Bread

One of the best ways to ensure your company’s cyber security is to partner with a managed IT services company. This is the bread of your sandwich, the foundation, and the layer your company can reap immediate benefits from the day you sign on.

Outsourcing your IT allows professionals to work on your network in the background, providing maintenance and updating your systems, which frees you up to focus on your company’s success. Should an IT disaster occur, the company can spring to action at a moment’s notice.

IT companies come in many forms. Maybe you want standard white bread (a large, faceless company) or maybe you want a more artisanal approach like a toasted sesame bun. The white bread option can keep your sandwich together and even help in an emergency. However, a nimbler, proactive firm can ensure that your cyber security is at its best, adding flavor in the form of specialized expertise. It won’t wait until your system is broken. They bypass the “break-fix” technique, and take preventative measures instead.

You can choose your IT provider specifically for the type of cyber security sandwich your business needs.

At the minimum, IT services should include the following:

  • Standard network management
  • Server monitoring and maintenance
  • Server backup management
  • Anti-virus and anti-malware
  • Remote support
  • On-site support
  • Proactive security audits

But there are many more things an IT service can include!

  • Preventative maintenance and monitoring
  • Wireless network management
  • Disaster recovery planning
  • Cyber security training for employees
  • Management of internet service provider relationships

Depending on your technology infrastructure, there may be even more options. Each one is part of a customizable foundation for your needs.

There’s nothing more vital to your business than keeping your company’s important data protected. Cyber security, managed and maintained by professionals who can be alerted around the clock to abnormalities in the system, saves you time, money, and energy. This keeps your cyber security sandwich safely in your hands instead of falling apart.

Dedicated Solutions: Let’s Add the Veggies

A reliable IT company should be prepared to update your software, replace your hardware, remotely manage your network, and proactively safeguard your company’s technology.  Data loss prevention and disaster recovery planning are also critical components to the solution. The vegetables on a sandwich might not be your favorite, but they add great texture and are healthy additions.

Tapping into cloud storage and other reliable backup solutions is another essential layer to your cyber security sandwich. Many people cherish the cold, crunchy lettuce in a sandwich. The meal just isn’t complete for them without that crisp, green taste. Cloud storage is a great way to keep your information fresh for when you need it at a moment’s notice.

Let’s talk about the tomatoes and onions—that’s your annual network audit. Managed IT services should include an annual network and computer audit to thoroughly review your needs and identify systems to help your business run more smoothly. Your business is changing and growing, and it’s important to annually reassess the network to keep it healthy.

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Employee Training: Getting to the Meat of IT

Employee training is the real meat of a successful cyber security sandwich. Taking the time to have your employees properly trained to use your equipment can keep you ahead of hackers constantly trying to hijack a stray click.

Many types of malware, Trojan horses, and viruses can be avoided through proper protocol. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) gives some practical ideas, such as strong passwords, two-factor authentication on transactions, password protecting all devices, and not leaving your devices unattended.

Don’t trust your employees’ training to just anyone. Including a solid education with your managed IT services is key. Even though most of this sounds like common sense, it can be invaluable to train your employees so they understand security is of utmost importance. Doing so will put everyone on the same page, and keep employees from endangering your business by accident.

Online fraud, phishing, pharming, and other cyber attacks can sometimes be hard to discern. Criminals are continually finding new ways to seem legitimate and also get past standard defenses. Give yourself and your employees a leg up and get ahead of the attacks before they happen. Put some solid meat on your cyber security sandwich!

Tying Up the Odds and Ends: Adding “the Works”

These odds and ends are much more than managing a few areas of your network. Most businesses think they have things like firewalls, antivirus software, and secure Wi-Fi. However, each of these components should be reviewed, customized, and updated for proper security.

What about “the works?” Sandwiches need some mayonnaise, pickles, and cheese—and so does your cyber security plan.

  • Do your computers have enterprise-grade anti-virus and anti-malware?

Free anti-virus and anti-malware software is not ideal for businesses. Most do not perform real-time scans, essential for proper protection. Enterprise-grade software is made to withstand the typical 40-hour-per-week demand and is much more powerful in detecting and preventing viruses and malware.

To protect your business, it is imperative to invest in business-grade software to protect your data and your clients’ information.

  • Is your Wi-Fi network secure?

Everyone likes a Wi-Fi hotspot, but if you give out your internet password to anyone who comes in off the street, you’re greatly endangering your network. “Keep public and private access to your network partitioned. Visitors and users off the street don’t need to access private data vital to your business. Partitioning your network provides the customer service of a wireless network while keeping your business safe,” says Anderson Technologies. If you have a separate, public network, the password to your main network will remain secret.

Other advantages to having public Wi-Fi separate from your business’s network include the ability to:

  1. Keep your network printers, NAS drives, shared files, and other sensitive network information private.
  2. Restrict the amount of bandwidth guests can use, and what they look at.
  3. Configure each network for specific needs.
  4. Give out a simpler password instead of the complicated, more secure password needed for your business Wi-Fi.

Insecure connections allow for the unauthorized capture of information. If you provide wireless access as a courtesy to your guests, creating a second Wi-Fi is a simple security measure.

  • Are your firewalls properly patched and configured?

Hackers are sneaky, and so is their malware. Ransomware, for example, can bypass the need for individuals to click a link by injecting malicious code on legitimate websites and taking advantage of unpatched software to hijack your IT security.

Firewalls provide enhanced IT security to protect your network. While firewalls aren’t necessarily failsafe, they prevent unauthorized access while still allowing legitimate users access to the systems and data necessary to perform their jobs.

When creating your cyber security sandwich, don’t forget “the works!” Each of these sandwich items may seem small, but all are essential for a robust cyber security recipe.

Many companies choose to outsource their IT so they don’t have to worry about juggling so many balls. An outsourced IT company can not only help with these security measures but also with backups to get your business up and running again in case of a natural disaster or someone physically stealing your hardware. They will have the answers to questions you don’t even know to ask.

They can give you more than IT support; they will give you peace of mind.

Don’t Wait to Acquire Managed Services: Munch On!

Like a good sandwich, managed services should be savory and fulfilling. If you choose to outsource your IT services, your systems will be maintained by experts. This enables you to more fully direct energies to your business knowing your IT needs are being professionally taken care of.

When a security emergency arises, the clock is ticking. The FTC says, “Plan ahead so you know what to do if a hacker gets into your system.” The longer a hacker has access to your information, the less likely the story will turn out well for you.

A managed IT services company will keep your computers up-to-date and keep you ahead of the game.

Are you ready to build your cyber security sandwich?

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The post Building a Cyber Security Sandwich with Common Sense: Defending Your Small Business… Deliciously! appeared first on Home Business Magazine.

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