Effective security is critical to ensuring network stability and uptime.

Managed IT services solutions provide your business with a wide variety of benefits, including IT help desk support, reliable disaster recovery, and proactive network monitoring and maintenance that maximizes the stability and uptime of your network systems.

Established managed IT services providers (MSPs) also offer cybersecurity consulting and support, which is an important but sometimes overlooked aspect of their offering. It’s especially overlooked by small and midsized businesses who sometimes feel that “flying beneath the radar” is still an effective approach to managing cybersecurity risk.

After 20 years in the cybersecurity management business, we can assure you that it is not. To achieve true long-term ROI from your technology investment, businesses should partner with an MSP who has a strong cybersecurity offering, then take active steps to maximize the benefit of that service.

The Threat of Cyberattack is Still Growing at Small and Midsized Businesses

Over the past several years, there’s been so much bad press about ransomware, malware, and phishing, the notion that there are businesses who are still not taking cybersecurity seriously seems far-fetched. But despite sustained awareness-building by the media, the number of successful cyberattacks continues to grow.

Here are just a few of the most recent news headlines.

  • The number of cybersecurity attacks in the middle of 2021 had far surpassed the total number for 2020, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC).
  • Cybersecurity Ventures predicts there will be a ransomware attack every 2 seconds, with the total damage of those attacks reaching $265 billion dollars by 2031.

How is it possible that cyberattacks are still on the rise, despite cybersecurity issues making national headline news?

First, there’s a pervasive sense of overconfidence among the nation’s small and midsized businesses that despite the major headlines, the problem of cybersecurity intrusion is something that happens to other people. A recent study from CNBC shows that more than half of America’s SMBs — 56% to be exact — still aren’t worried about being a victim of cyberattack, while 24% report not being at all concerned.

This hubris causes havoc and stress. The reality is that hackers are increasingly looking at small and midsized organizations, with the notion that several small successes will equal the financial reward of a single Fortune 500 breach, with much less effort.

That means — and we can’t say this emphatically enough — every business big and small should be adopting a wartime footing with regards to their cybersecurity defenses with the help of a veteran MSP.

MSP Partnership Enables a Proactive Cybersecurity Posture

Without the ongoing, vigilant support of an ongoing cybersecurity consultant or partner, businesses that “go it alone” almost always assume a reactive cybersecurity posture. That means enlisting cybersecurity experts and advanced digital tools after an attempted (or successful) intrusion.

It goes without saying that this is a poor strategy. Would you put a secure lock on your door only after you’d been robbed? In this age of proliferating cyber threats, where even a single spam email or lost mobile device can cost a business millions of dollars in damages, recovery costs, and network downtime, securing a business must be an ongoing, proactive affair.

A managed IT services partner is in an excellent position to provide this proactive support.

After addressing any shortcomings at the outset of your relationship (a stage known as onboarding), they will monitor your network endpoints for suspicious activity, use the latest security tools to defend your network perimeter, and perform ongoing security audits and maintenance to maintain vigilant, 24/7 security over the long-term.

A proactive cybersecurity process involves many stages.

Diagram of proactive cybersecurity process

A Skilled Team of Cybersecurity and Regulatory Compliance Experts

Cybersecurity is an important component of the regulatory programs at healthcare providers, who must contend with shifting HIPAA and HITECH standards. Of course, it’s an even bigger burden for financial services providers, who face a multitude of evolving data privacy and security standards at both the federal and state levels, including FINRA/SEC, FDIC, Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), PCI-DSS, and others.

Aside from providing cybersecurity expertise, most proficient managed IT services providers will also offer regulatory compliance expertise so that all your organization’s most critical internal and data customer assets remain safe and compliant as they flow through your network and applications.

  • Data Privacy Expertise. In recent years, standards around data privacy such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and other new state regulations have raised the bar for handling personally identifiable information. A qualified MSP will be able to guide you through that process of securing each data flow in your network, ensuring PII stays safe as it moves between cloud, on-premise, laptops, and mobile devices.
  • Documented Compliance Processes. Your MSP should bring expertise with all the leading compliance frameworks, like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the International Organization for Standards (ISO), and the Information Systems Audit Control Association. This insight and familiarity will help you enable stronger data governance and risk management processes, in a predictable and repeatable way, throughout your organization.

Worth noting again is the long-term nature of regulatory compliance. A high percentage of organizations that achieve compliance with a given standard will fall out of compliance as their network and operations evolve. Working as a long-term strategic partner, an MSP can provide consistency to those efforts, allowing you to achieve and a maintain compliance with confidence.

Are All MSPs Effective Cybersecurity Partners?

The answer is of course, “no.” A low barrier to entry in the managed IT services field means there are IT services provider operating at every level of capability and solution maturity.

Where established MSPs will provide access to an entire team of senior network engineers and security experts, a newly formed MSP will only have a small team of one or two people with cybersecurity skills, and may even have critical internal cybersecurity vulnerabilities of their own.

To realize the full cybersecurity and compliance benefit of working with an MSP, you must be careful during the vetting process and pick a seasoned partner who has a long-track record of helping businesses in your area.

A Single Managed IT Services and Cybersecurity Partner

Is your business in Albany, NY, Charlotte, NC, or Bluffton, SC ready to partner with a veteran MSP with world-class cybersecurity expertise? We encourage you to get in touch to find out more. Our friendly team of experts is available any time at 877 877 1840 or [email protected].

How To Supplement Your Internal IT Team.

In an ideal world, technology would be a consistent source of competitive advantage and benefit for small and midsized businesses. The reality is that many fail to realize that confidence.

Without the right resources and support, even a highly skilled technology team can become overwhelmed by the growing list of technology management duties. When important tasks get neglected, it creates ripple effects throughout an organization that damage productivity and efficiency.

The co-managed IT services model solves these problems by providing your existing IT team with all the support and resources they need to successfully plan, manage, and defend your network technology.

This guide covers:

  • • Aligning technology with business goals
  • • Reducing churn while preserving institutional knowledge
  • • Empowering your staff to maximize productivity
  • • Achieving the highest level of cybersecurity defense

Download it for free by filling out the form here.