The growing IT threat is something businesses and governments simply cannot afford to ignore. While online security software becomes more adept at identifying and defending against cyber attacks, so the hackers are too developing their capabilities.
In recent months there have been many high profile data breaches, including the extramarital affairs website Ashley Madison, which was attacked in July. This lead to the leakage of gigabytes of personal information and an inevitable media circus. Other major hacks include entertainment and technology giant Sony, which had its private emails hacked and published online last year, revealing a series of embarrassing and controversial conversations.
As the cyber hackers continue to advance their capabilities it is becoming more important than ever that businesses take threats to online security seriously.
From small and medium-sized enterprises to multi-national organisations, preparations should be made to prevent an online security breach and to respond to a hack with minimal impacts on day-to-day operations.
In light of recent online attacks many organisations are turning to more advanced data encryption services, especially when it comes to email systems and with a more mobile workforce the need for virtual private networks (VPN) is greater than ever. This is increasingly important as more and more businesses adopt cloud-based communication and data sharing.
As well as the technology and skills to provide encryption and VPN services without slowing down communication between workers, many businesses choose to adopt a managed security service (MSS) as their preferred option for cyber security.
There are many benefits to choosing an MSS, whether as a long-term defence against online hackers or as a consulting and support service for an organisation with its own IT manager or department.
Organisations with specialist IT staff can conduct training workshops, teaching incident handling and providing a basic understanding of how cyber hackers operate. However, should the right know-how not be present within a business, then outsourcing managed security services or online security experts to educate IT personnel and provide added support functions can be an effective solution.
While training is no doubt a must, firms must assign responsibilities to staff members so that, should the worst happen, there is no confusion as to who must react and how. Every key player should be aware of their role and how to communicate any problems with internal and external parties.
Knowledge transfer is a priority for any IT manager or chief information officer and working with an MSS provider could help educate internal staff, improving skills and technology awareness
MSS will monitor best practices, test IT defences and identify and resolve potential issues, however for organisations who choose to tackle cyber threats in-house there are many key performance indicators businesses can measure to assess their cyber security capabilities as their business grows.
Depending on the level of security coverage you require for your business it could make better financial sense to scale MSS support up and down as needed. This provides improved flexibility and eliminates the need to cut staff or technology resources should an organisation change size or budget.
Experienced MSS organisations can also build upon a repository of case knowledge, encountering a diverse range of cyber threats, and have developed rapid identification and defence mechanisms to deal with such security breaches. This allows MSS providers to fine-tune clients' cyber defence strategies to suit specific industry and organisational needs, providing a more targeted response.