Cyber Security

What Future Do You Choose For Your Business?

Written by Victoria Wilson

The computer screens flicker and all around you, your colleagues start murmuring. Suddenly, you hear someone in accounting exclaim, "We've been hacked! The data on my spreadsheets is disappearing right now!!"

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In the moments after a cyber attack, how would your business respond?

Cyber attacks come unannounced and have the potential to cripple your business. And hackers don't wait for a more convenient time or leave your most important data alone.

In our estimation, there are two divergent paths in the aftermath of a cyber attack. Which future would you choose for your business?

A tumbleweed blows across the floor of your once-bustling office...

A layer of dust has settled on top of every desk and monitor. Signs have been hung outside advertising office space to let. You are one of the few employees left six months after the cyber attack. It was a security bug activated by someone downloading a suspicious program for converting files. Data and files seemed to be deleting themselves...erasing right in front of everyone's eyes! Not only were the files missing, but the records and information were surely compromised. There's no telling who was able to access them!

Word spread incredibly fast after the attack. Local and national news outlets reported on the breach. The phones wouldn't stop ringing at first. Customer after customer called to cancel their accounts. Some were furious, insisting to know if their information was among the compromised data. Others, some of them long-time clients, were regretful but firm. They understood how quickly something like this can happen, but they simply couldn't have their name associated with a data breach like this.

Things have never truly recovered. An IT security specialist company was contacted to assess the damage done and help rebuild a more secure IT network. They were able to show us the vulnerabilities in our IT environment, including outdated email security software, weak passwords and a lack of segmentation to keep the most sensitive data behind stronger defences. Now we truly understand the importance of a well-monitored and secured IT environment, not to mention the importance of each individual's discretion and good judgment!

Still, there are rumours that ICO is going to have to get involved. The fines alone might be the final nail in coffin. After all, 60% of small businesses fold within 6 months after a cyber attack...

Now imagine this:

You begin to panic as the news of the cyber attack spreads around the office, but then you remember the file folder with instructions on who to alert and what steps to take in the event of a cyber attack or suspicious network activity. 

These procedures were established by SysGroup, the managed IT services and IT security company who your company recently appointed to provide secure cloud hosting, along with backup and disaster recovery services. You quickly alert your IT Director, and she's on the phone with SysGroup within minutes. Rather than shutting down the entire network, they are able to isolate the security bug, which keeps you from having to take systems offline.

And thank goodness the data that seemed to be gone was fully-restored in less than 15 minutes from a clean backup version that was in the SysGroup cloud. Although it took a while for things to calm down in the office, business operations were able to carry on without grinding to a halt! Communicating the details of a cyber attack (even an attempted one) with clients is never easy, but you feel much better being able to tell them about the defences you had in place, including the reputable IT security services from SysGroup. Telling the relevant authorities was an important step as well. Your valuable reputation as a company is safe from the often-irreparable damage done by cyber crime!

Eventually, you were able to determine that an employee had unknowingly downloaded a suspicious file converting program, which let a security bug into the network. What a relief that you had investigated managed IT security services when you did!


So, which outcome sounds most desirable?

According to research by ESG, 57% of SMEs know or suspect that their employees are using non-IT provisioned cloud applications for or at work. 

Additionally, 28% identified careless employee behaviour as the top security vulnerability for their business. 

Take an aggressive posture towards IT security preparation!

As a smaller business, you may feel that higher-level security features are outside of your grasp. However, working with a MSP allows you to host your data in some of the largest and most secure data centres in the world, configured with features like state-of-the-art WatchGuard firewalls and anti-virus tools.

When a MSP delivers and advises on your IT security options, they translate jargon, clearly explain costs and help you to prioritise your spending based on your network's strengths and weaknesses. This kind of consultancy helps you to be forward-thinking as a SME with limited resources.

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