The number and severity of potentially catastrophic security threats are increasing at a rapid rate as technology becomes more interconnected. Threat actors are constantly trying to find and exploit whatever vulnerabilities they can to introduce malware and ransomware into target organizations.
While large enterprises tend to have bigger targets on their backs due to higher revenue, smaller organizations can often become victims of cyberattacks because their IT personnel don’t have the resources, knowledge, or time to implement security and compliance best practices.
Some smaller businesses (and some larger ones) can benefit from using a managed IT provider who can implement processes and a technology portfolio that can protect the organization from an ever-evolving threat landscape.
There are a lot of misconceptions about IT outsourcing. It seems intuitive that keeping everything in-house makes for tighter security. But as more data and processes are migrated to the cloud and remote collaboration becomes a staple of normal business operations, sometimes an external IT service provider can offer greater security. An IT organization that is knowledgeable about common security pitfalls, industry standards, and government regulations can make for a more secure company than is possible with a handful of internal IT personnel.
Internal IT departments can often get caught up in a reactive posture, in which most of their time is spent putting out technological fires. This approach is not viable even for normal business operations, and it is especially untenable when it comes to security. A well-executed cyberattack can bring company operations to a halt for hours, days, or weeks, and smaller businesses with less of a financial cushion might not be able to recover.
Using a managed IT service provider enables your business to take a proactive approach to IT and implement smoother day-to-day operations. And because the systems and processes they can put in place for your organization are no longer a disconnected patchwork of fixes, a managed service provider can also deliver a better security posture.
Staying on top of system updates and software patches not only keeps your digital infrastructure optimized for best performance, but it also aids your organization’s security. Attackers routinely exploit outdated systems and applications, especially when available patches notes provide details about the existing vulnerabilities they're designed to remedy.
By being proactive, your managed IT vendor can catch issues and resolve them before they become costly. Where in-house teams can often get bogged down, an experienced managed service provider can move quickly to make sure software and systems are up-to-date. And unlike an IT repair company that charges by the hour, an outsourced IT department typically charges a predetermined rate that makes for more predictable budgeting.
While threat actors typically have less to gain from small businesses than large enterprises, small companies are actually even more likely to be the victim of cybercrime. According to Forbes, small businesses are three times more likely to be targeted than larger companies. And a study by Barracuda Networks found that an employee at a business with fewer than 100 employees will experience 350% more social engineering attacks than an employee at an enterprise-sized business.
While an in-house IT team clocks out at night, a managed IT team can be on the watch 24/7. They can monitor your network and applications for unusual activity, keep antivirus software and network configurations up to date, and stay abreast of the latest cybercrime research to stay ahead of new threats on the horizon.
Everyone knows that backing up data is important, but few organizations have a plan, procedure, and process for doing so, especially when they are a small business with limited IT resources. A Managed Services Provider (MSP) can create and maintain a data backup schedule on a separate server or in the cloud, so they're safe from threat actors, natural disasters, malfunctions, or user error. Managed IT can also help recover lost data and get systems back up ASAP.
With the increasing adoption of the cloud, some data recovery is handled automatically. Using the cloud offers tons of advantages, and cloud providers are required to adhere to strict security standards, but that doesn’t mean your data is completely safe, and you are still responsible to your customers in the event of a data breach.
An experienced managed IT provider can create security controls, policies, and procedures that protect your data and infrastructure, as well as customer data and privacy. And they will have insight into what data should be hosted in the cloud versus internally.
Implementing the principle of least privilege should be at the top of your list of security initiatives. Making sure that each employee and machine identity has access to specific privileges on specific applications is one of the most effective deterrents for malware and other threats. By minimizing the number of employees who have access to sensitive information, you decrease the attack surface of your digital infrastructure and prevent threat actors from compromising an individual account and then pivoting and escalating through your organization.
By identifying employees at greatest risk of compromise, IT can then implement additional security controls around these roles, such as stricter password requirements, multi-factor authentication, and compartmentalized network configurations that would make it more difficult for an attacker to pivot.
With access to your digital infrastructure, an MSP can help identify the parts of your workflow that are costing you the most money, time, or employee effort. They can then make recommendations on ways to eliminate these bottlenecks and create a smoother workflow.
For instance, they can track what department typically submits the most support tickets and which tickets take the longest to resolve. And by seeing what types of IT issues seem to crop up the most often, your IT service provider can identify the root of the problem and eliminate it instead of simply treating the symptoms.
In some cases, you may have an in-house IT team that can handle day-to-day operations, but maybe you need a backup for special circumstances or guidance for major projects.
Maybe your organization experiences seasonal spikes in business that require additional IT resources. Maybe you want to implement a wide-ranging digital transformation initiative for which you need the guidance of a team that is more knowledgeable about the latest IT trends and requirements. Bringing in an outsourced IT vendor enables in-house IT to divide and conquer based on the service provider’s unique advantages.
In-house teams have institutional knowledge of the business, and they are immediately accessible to business leaders and company employees. Meanwhile, an external IT service provider can manage infrastructure maintenance and security, enabling the in-house team to focus on custom projects and ad hoc incidents.
One of the big advantages of outsourcing IT is that you don’t have to commit to the vendor beyond the service contract. If they don’t deliver results, or if they simply don’t vibe with the way you do business, you can always move on to another provider. Don’t be afraid to shop around to find a vendor that is the right fit for you.
At Vudu, we are technology wizards who want to bring IT magic to your business and achieve supernatural results. Are you a company that wants to improve your security with an experienced managed IT provider? Tell us more about your goals.