6 FACTORS TO CONSIDER TO ENSURE YOU’RE PROTECTED
These days, it’s commonly accepted that the key to a stable and secure IT environment is a proactive approach to IT management. Most business leaders understand that anyone and everyone is a target, no matter how large or small your business. However, there are still quite a few companies out there that operate with only minimal IT protection under an “it won’t happen to me” mentality.
Network security issues go beyond criminal activity—natural disasters, equipment failure, or even user error can all compromise or even destroy important data. Regardless of the catalyst, there are solutions for every scenario, but they are dependent on one question: does your company operate with a reactive or proactive approach to network security?
A reactive model is one in which a company’s IT team responds to a problem once it has already happened. There’s no way to avoid damage with this model. At best, the problem is identified quickly and the harm minimized, but there’s no such thing as “zero loss” when it comes to this approach. Ask any security IT professional—the best approach is proactive network security.
Determining what and how much network security you need can be tricky if left to your own devices. Many network security companies use scare tactics to try and sell their top-level—and most expensive—security packages, making it difficult to know what your company really needs.
So let’s take the guesswork out of it. Check out these major factors to consider when shopping for IT security services for your business.
Proactive monitoring: When left unchecked, changes to your systems can turn into problems, both long and short term. Any complete IT solution should include constant, proactive monitoring of your entire network’s systems and operations. Proactive monitoring involves watching and documenting all incoming/outgoing data and activity so potential system threats like computer viruses, hacking attempts, and more can be caught before they result in catastrophic destruction. Proactive monitoring allows you to track the root of the problem, identifying the issue at its cause and before it becomes a bigger problem—so you’re never left in the dark about what’s happening on your network.
Best practices: If most (or all) security professionals stand behind something, chances are good that your company should too. Industry best practices exist because they’ve been tested, time and again, and have proven to yield the greatest results in the greatest number of scenarios across the board. Don’t trust just one professional; trust the consensus of them all.
Backup & Recovery: Any comprehensive network security IT solution should include multiple backup systems (both on- and off-site) and a disaster recovery plan in place to ensure your company can bounce back in the event of security breach, data loss or equipment failure. This is your last line of defense, and an absolute must have for every company of every size. The consequences of data loss can be severe; in worst case scenarios, data loss can (and has) caused companies to fail completely. To your clients, data loss translates to loss of trust and confidence in your ability to keep everything running smoothly.
Communication: Often overlooked, working communication tools are a necessity for successful businesses. Email, telecommunications, and electronic data exchange (EDI) must be up and running at all times to ensure your company is freely communicating with customers, partners and vendors. Mobile devices and other communication tools have their benefits, but with the advent of bring your own device (BYOD) in the workplace, you’re faced with new potential system access points for criminals to exploit. Your IT team should implement policies and protocols designed to specifically address communication security breaches.
Network Security: The internet is brimming with threatening software and criminal activity. Because of this, antivirus programs, malware protection, spam filtering, and firewall intrusion prevention—to name just a few—are one side of a never-ending battle between cyber criminals and network security. With as many options available as there are criminals learning to overcome them, the best solution for any company is to choose a comprehensive network security plan that’s custom-built to suit your company’s specific network security needs.
Strategic Planning: Looking at the big picture is equally as important as looking at current challenges. A company that plans for growth is more likely to evolve, so it’s important to have a specific strategic IT plan for growth backed with a strategy for implementing that plan. Your comprehensive IT strategic plan should result in better returns on investment, due to appropriately distributed spending over reasonable timelines and well-timed technology investments that accelerate company-wide growth.
In life, sometimes you want to gamble. When it comes to your company’s network security, gambling isn’t an option. A proactive approach to network security gives your company the competitive advantage and ensures a safer future for your data.