Adequate data security can make or break your business. A managed IT services provider can help protect both your company’s information and reputation by following a few basic procedures.

Today, businesses rely almost entirely on data storage and exchange to conduct their operations. Data use has increased business efficiency and profitability, but it also poses security risks that could potentially spell the end to a company’s operations entirely.

Organizations are responsible for maintaining the safety and privacy of client and employee information; a task that’s becoming increasingly difficult as hackers develop advanced techniques to evade security measures. Data risk is especially apparent for small to midsize businesses whose bottom line will suffer more severely and who may lack the knowledge and resources to solve the issue when such a breach occurs.

Whether your business’s data is hacked or suffers loss from a natural disaster, your company is likely to experience consequences that can range from employee downtime to expensive legal fees. It’s imperative that your business employ data security and continuity procedures to safeguard against damages to your reputation and your bottom line.

Why is data security a concern for my business?

Businesses are liable for a plethora of information including confidential client files, financial details, employee social security numbers, etc. However, some companies fail to implement sufficient security protocols and are unaware of the harm these vulnerabilities can inflict upon their organization.

According to Kaspersky Lab, a data breach can cost a small business an estimated $38,000 in out-of-pocket expenses and an additional $8,000 from indirect recovery expenditures. Such fees can include fines, the money lost during the disruption of employee workflow, and the remedies necessary to restore the safety of your information and network.

However, capital loss isn’t the only consequence of compromised data. Most importantly, your business will likely lose the trust of its customers and the clients it serves and potentially alienate future partners thus losing growth opportunities. Essentially, securing your company’s information is vital to the financial security, reputation, and success of your organization in the future.

It’s common for businesses to overestimate their ability to handle potential threats with the security measures they have in place. For example, many businesses believe they are sufficiently prepared to deter phishing efforts, when a majority of data breaches are a result of successful phishing attempts.

Unsecured websites, end points, smart devices, and networks are all flashing, neon lights for hackers looking for vulnerable systems to invade, and it’s important your business reviews its standard processes for handling these areas of your IT environment.

How can my business guard against data security threats?

Despite the doom and gloom overshadowing the topic, data security is manageable. Even in the wake of a destructive event, it is possible for your business to retrieve lost, destroyed, or compromised data. Your organization can continue operations without disruption if the right protocols are in place and adhered to.

However, it can be difficult for smaller companies to fund and manage the technology necessary to secure their information. Outsourcing these responsibilities to an IT managed service provider (MSP) may be a cheaper and more effective means of preventing threats from escalating.

Managed IT services providers can deliver standardized methods of data protection and the network consulting to expand or update these protocols when necessary. An effective MSP will help your business design a set plan for preventing the loss and unauthorized access of information via the following strategies.

1) Role-based access control (RBAC)

RBAC allows your business to determine who gets access to what data depending upon their role in the company. For example, in most cases, a CEO or COO will have greater access to files than a sales representative or office assistant. Access control provides your company with the ability to restrict data access to what’s necessary for the individual to do their job and prevent information from ending up in the wrong hands.

2) Employee education

It’s important to inform your staff of safety measures and protocols to help secure your business’s network. While software and monitoring can protect your business from external threats, one wrong click on a virus-infected email and an employee can endanger your entire business infrastructure.

Education regarding safe internet navigation, effective passwords, and secure handling of mobile devices can prevent an accidental compromise due to carelessness or uninformed employees. Your staff should be wary of emails sent from strangers and avoid responding or opening attachments and websites included in the message.

3) End-point protection and Edge protection

End-point protection involves software that prevents end-users from accidentally jeopardizing the security of your data. If an employee attempts to navigate to an unsecured web page, the software should block the request immediately. If malicious data does leak into your network, it should be immediately disabled by antivirus software.

Edge protection includes the firewalls, spam filters, and web filters that ensure most harmful websites or emails remain blocked from your network from the start.

4) 24/7/365 remote monitoring

It can be difficult to maintain continuous remote monitoring of your company’s network, but a suitable MSP will be available at any time to receive immediate notifications of potential data security threats and handle issues accordingly. Essentially, your network monitoring strategy should allow for most issues to be solved before your employees are aware a problem occurred.

5) Data backup and recovery

In the event of a natural disaster, server crash, or invasion your business will need access to its data to continue normal operations. Replicating and hosting your data on back up servers will give your company peace of mind and guaranteed data continuity.

Aldridge has been in business since 1984 and has experience with a variety of data loss and breach incidents. Our company has developed standardized processes for preventing and remedying damage to your network. Contact a firm representative today to learn how we can help protect your information and your business.