Compliance, as it relates to security protocols, is becoming crucial – if not mandatory – to maintain, yet increasingly difficult to achieve.
For example, healthcare organizations must adhere to HIPAA requirements to protect patients’ personal health information (PHI), while any business that accepts credit or debit card payments must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) to ensure the security of cardholders’ sensitive information.
Today’s threat landscape – and the safety measures against it – is rapidly evolving. According to an article by Forbes, data breaches exposed 4.1 billion records in the first six months of 2019, with 3.2 billion of those records exposed by just eight breaches. Furthermore, the average data breach wasn’t detected until 90-180 days after it happened per the SANS Institute.
With these points in mind, data security should be at the forefront of every organization’s IT strategy.
Regulating the Top 5 Security Concerns with Managed Services
With the multitude of regulatory compliances in place across organizations and industries, maintaining compliance to ensure sensitive data is protected is becoming more and more complex.
In this blog we will outline the top five security issues organizations face and the ways in which IT managed services providers (MSP) can help while simultaneously meeting compliance standards.
Data breaches are becoming increasingly common across organizations of all sizes. When a data breach occurs, confidential or protected information is exposed, such as financial information, passwords, proprietary data, personal records and more.
Data breach oftentimes lead to detrimental, lasting effects to a business. Not only can data breaches be costly to manage, but they can also negatively impact an organization’s reputation, which may be irreparable. Furthermore, a data breach can take place, and without the proper precautions, not be detected for several days or even months, making it even more difficult to navigate.
There are numerous reasons data breaches happen, but one way to combat the likelihood of them materializing is to have anti-virus and ransomware software in place to identify actions – or even behaviors – that can lead to a breach.
Network intrusion – where an unauthorized group or individuals obtain access to a private network – is another major threat facing businesses today. Intrusions can be done by outside sources as well as internal company personnel.
Not only does this pose the threat of your critical data and information being stolen over time through the placement of malware and ransomware, but the intruders can also spread viruses that can affect normal business operations.
Partnering with a managed services provider will improve businesses’ network security, as the MSP can implement IDS and IPS technology to monitor and respond to threats to your network and infrastructure, helping to mitigate risks.
Passwords are one of the most important aspects of an organization’s IT strategy and serve as the “first line of defense” when safeguarding sensitive data. According to TraceSecurity, a recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report showed that 81% of hacking-related breaches leveraged either stolen or weak passwords.
Circumstances such as the current COVID-19 pandemic has required many employees to work remotely. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean employees will be working from their home – they may venture out to a coffee shop or communal workspace, increasing the chances of their passwords being stolen if they aren’t careful.
Stronger passwords – especially when working remotely – should not just be advised, they should be required. It is recommended that employees update their passwords every 90 days or so, do not use the same password across multiple accounts, and incorporate a minimum length and use of special characters for maximum security.
IT managed service providers can help reinforce strong password protection policies and compliance through automation services and secure storage.
It is imperative that the correct steps are taken from an IT perspective when an employee’s time at your company has come to an end, one of the most important being to decommission their company accounts.
Account decommissioning is vital to an organization’s IT health. If a former employee still has network access even after they’ve departed the company, they can still acquire sensitive documents and information, posing a major security threat. This is another example of a business process that can easily be performed by automation services.
Remember, decommissioning an account does not necessarily mean you have to delete folders and files since it is likely another individual will be hired to fill the role and may require certain documents. Just remember to remove all the former employee’s access and permissions.
Once your end users have access to mission-critical applications, documents and technologies, they should receive education on and learn how to apply best practices when it comes to maintaining the security of their system and resources.
Unsolicited communications requesting employees to enter sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, or credit card information is known as phishing. This is one of the most common ways cybercriminals can gain access to your network. Providing tips and training to your employees on how to identify phishing attempts and what to do if they receive one is paramount in keeping your data secure.
If employees are not utilizing a secure VPN for internet connectivity and are instead relying on their home or a public WiFi connection, secure data may be at risk. Reinforcing the password protection tips mentioned above can help reduce the chance of unauthorized individuals gaining access to their network.
Leave it to the Experts
Managed IT service providers have extensive technical knowledge and proven processes in place when it comes to industry standards with compliance and security protocols. Additionally, by outsourcing your IT needs, your in-house staff will be freed up to focus on more revenue-generating projects that drive your business forward.