Last month, we discussed the perils of doing business in an environment that increasingly relies on computers, interconnected devices and computer controlled systems. This month, we review how the IT service industry continues to create more layers of protection for businesses.
There was a time when having virus protection and a firewall made computer users feel secure. For quite a while, users got away with combining those basic measures with activities performed by their IT consultants, such as scheduled baseline scans (such as Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer) and regular audits.
As risks grew, the more mature IT service companies, including TekTegrity, started increasing protection by combining the following:
DNS umbrellas to catch suspicious activity
Timely installation of updates issued by software companies
Patching, both routine and emergency
Continuous monitoring of industry news and alerts
Ongoing education and training of staff on security best practices
Client education (Newsletters, alerts, and ongoing updates that help users know what to watch for, what to talk to their IT pros about, and how to prevent unintentional network vulnerabilities.)
Routine security scans for PCI and HIPAA compliant clients
Today, security measures are getting stepped up even more, with IT companies constantly adding new protections for their clients’ systems.
Over the next season in technology, business users can expect IT service providers (including TekTegrity) to roll out continuous active scanning and auditing services. Actively monitored (as opposed to routinely scheduled) services allow real-time notification and immediate response to configuration changes, breaches, and evolving threats.
Users won’t notice changes from their ends, but behind the scenes at IT companies, technicians are busy setting up systems that will remotely monitor and protect business networks.
The stakes are high, and we don’t expect hackers, phishers and other cybercriminals to give up any time soon. Their activities can be lucrative, hard to detect and difficult to prosecute, since they’re often perpetrated by organizations spanning several countries with differing laws.
But the good guys (and gals!) in IT security and service are always up for a good challenge. At TekTegrity, we are proud to be part of a community that helps deter losses and protects the businesses we support and rely on.
While it’s difficult to calculate the losses attributed to malicious cyber activities, a July, 2013 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies breaks the activities into six categories:
•The loss of intellectual property and business confidential information
•Cybercrime, which costs the world hundreds of millions of dollars every year
•The loss of sensitive business information, including possible stock market manipulation
•Opportunity costs, including service and employment disruptions, and reduced trust for online activities
•The additional cost of securing networks, insurance, and recovery from cyber attacks
•Reputational damage to the hacked company
(Source: The Economic Impact of Cybercrime and Cyberespionage, Copyright © 2013 McAfee, Inc.)
Russ Levanway is the CEO of TekTegrity, an IT Managed Services Provider serving the Central Coast and Central Valley. The organization’s Total Systems Management™ (TSM) service model provides preventative IT support at fixed monthly fee levels. For more information, visit www.tektegrity.com.