ISG Technology Awarded “Oklahoma’s Best IT Firm 2020”

ISG Technology is proud to announce that it has been awarded Oklahoma’s Best IT Firm by The Oklahoma Journal Record newspaper, The Journal Record. The award was featured in the publication’s 2020 Reader Ranking Awards, which compiles the best organizations across 84 categories including technology, finance/accounting/insurance, health care, legal services, as well as many others. 

To obtain the results, readers were notified of the ballot through direct emails and print advertisements linking to the ballot and were encouraged to share the link with their colleagues. More than 1,400 businesses were nominated during the open nomination process from January 20th to February 28th. The ballot was open from March 2nd through April 20th and garnered more than 58,000 votes from business professionals across Oklahoma. The results were tallied to come up with the list of award-winning businesses. 

“We’re honored to be a part of such a great list of businesses here in the Oklahoma City area,” said Walter Hirsekorn, General Manager of ISG’s South Region. “Winning this award this year is especially meaningful as I know our team has worked tirelessly to help clients through the business and technology challenges created by the pandemic.”

ISG Technology manages the IT systems of business in Oklahoma City and throughout the United States. 2020 has been a challenging year for business across the globe, and managed services providers (MSPs) like ISG Technology have been essential in keeping businesses operational during stay at home orders, and a number business disruptions caused by the spread of COVID-19. 

For more information on The Journal Record’s 2020 Reader Ranking Awards, visit The Journal Records website. For more information on ISG Technology, please visit or contact them at (877) 334-4474.

ISG Technology and Twin Valley Communications Aligning Services to Help Businesses Adapt to Pandemic

Twin Valley Management, an Overland Park, Kansas-based holding company for Twin Valley and ISG Technology, is announcing its plan to improve the technological capabilities of organizations in underserved areas of North Central Kansas. Twin Valley Communications is among the largest privately-held telecommunications companies in Kansas and ISG Technology is a leader in IT cloud & managed services in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

This comes on the heels of Twin Valley being awarded $1.3 million of CARES Act and Connectivity Emergency Response grant dollars. Additional investment by Twin Valley of almost $900,000 has been committed to deploy a combination of fiber to the premise & fixed wireless broadband services. Twin Valley Communications will also utilize the CBRS spectrum that it won at auction.

President and CEO of ISG and Twin Valley, Ben Foster stated, “There are so many businesses, schools, hospitals and local governments in these areas that simply don’t have access to the broadband needed to enable things like remote work, virtual healthcare and distance learning. We’re trying to fix that.”

Foster continued to talk about their strategy to combine Twin Valley’s broadband services with ISG’s suite of managed IT services and its data center offering to provide a complete technology solution for organizations in rural areas. “Unfortunately, many businesses spend countless hours stuck in the middle of a blame game when issues arise. The ISP points the finger at the IT provider and vice versa. When we deliver bundled connectivity and IT, the client knows who to call. We see a massive opportunity to create new value in the fiber-optic broadband, managed IT & cloud services space.”

The companies are focused on helping businesses in these areas adapt to the changing work environment the pandemic has created. Bringing together broadband and managed IT services allows companies to stay connected and focus on their core business.

In addition to providing Gigabit service to businesses and households in cities that are covered by the 15-mile fiber optic cable build-out – hundreds of households will have fixed wireless broadband speeds up to 100 megabits/second. This infrastructure will pass through multiple cities and will provide the foundation for future investment and even faster connections.

10 Simple Ways to Boost End User Cybersecurity

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. It’s a great opportunity to review the basics of cybersecurity with your employees. 

Cybersecurity is a complex and ever-evolving field. To many people, it can seem daunting and confusing. Fortunately, there are many simple ways to boost cybersecurity on a user level. 

We’ve collected ten of the most simple and effective ways to boost your cybersecurity. Sharing these simple security measures with your team will help boost the security of your business by minimizing the risk of human error.

Strengthen Your Passwords

Your passwords are the first barrier protecting your confidential information from hackers, so practice using strong ones. Get creative with the passwords you choose by replacing letters with punctuations marks, deliberately misspelling words, and using long passphrases. The greater mixture of letters, numbers, and special characters you use, the harder it is for hackers to crack.

You should also use a different password for each account you have. The more you reuse passwords, the weaker your security will be. Proofpoint offers great training programs to help employees understand and implement effective password security.

Use A Password Manager

Passwords that are easy to remember are often easier to hack. A password manager can be very helpful in keeping all your passwords memorized so that you don’t have to. It can even suggest strong passwords for you!

There are lots of password manager platforms and services available. To get started, here is a roundup of some of the best password managers out there.

Avoid Oversharing On Social Media

Even simple information that you post on social media, like your favorite coffee shop, can be used against you. Names, addresses, and even vacation plans can give criminals the information they need to target you. If someone posts personal information without your consent, ask them to remove it promptly.

Another dangerous aspect of social media is location sharing services that allow people to see where you are at any time. Always disable these services in your apps, and be mindful of what someone can learn about you based on your social media.

Update Your Software

Your software is important and is always being improved, whether on your computer or mobile devices. Don’t delay recommended updates! They contain important patches to fix security issues. Not updating software leaves you vulnerable to cyberattacks. 

Secure Your Network

Your personal network is rarely going to be as secure as the one you use when you’re at work. It’s essential that you’re securing your network as much as possible. Get in touch with your network provider and ask if there’s anything you can do in order to strengthen and protect your network from harm.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication requires multiple steps to access an account. Often, this means you need a password and authentication via your phone. It can help take your security to the next level.

Multi-factor authentication has definitely helped many people and organizations strengthen their security. Many businesses, such as banks, now require it.

Watch For Phishing Emails

Many cyber criminals send fraudulent emails that imitate those from well-respected sites. These phishing attempts try to get you to reveal personal information by clicking on links, opening attachments, and responding to requests. If you aren’t sure if the message is truly from the company (or individual) it expresses to represent, call the company directly and ask.

ISG Technology partners with Proofpoint for security awareness training. They have many resources available to help teams identify phishing emails.

Check Emails For Suspicious Hyperlinks

One aspect of phishing prevention is to always double-check links in emails, especially those in unexpected messages. Always be wary of what you click on. Before clicking on a link in an email, hover over the link to see where it directs to. If it looks suspicious, don’t click.

Install Antivirus Software

The antivirus software that you have on your devices is going to add that extra layer of security and highlight any potential dangers before you encounter them. They can scan your devices routinely and alert you to any suspicious activity or threats when they occur. 

It’s a good idea to choose an antivirus that is both effective and lightweight. That way, it will be able to combat modern threats without bogging down your computer as it scans. For this aspect of security, ISG Technology recommends Webroot.

Be Deliberate About App Privileges

Apps on your mobile device often ask for permission to access aspects of your data, such as the device’s location. But you shouldn’t grant the permissions without considering it first. If the request doesn’t make sense, or is for more information that seems reasonable, don’t grant it. This is especially true with less reputable apps.

As the rate of cybercrime is rising, your personal cybersecurity is something you should always be proactive about. These ten tools and habits will prevent the loss of your personal data, as well as minimize the risk of a breach for your company.

7 Habits of Highly Secure Organizations

In today’s economy, businesses must understand and leverage the value of data to remain competitive and appealing. Data has enabled us to create more desirable products and better understand consumers’ behavior, becoming a company’s major asset. 

This content is brought to you in partnership with Aruba Networks

And so, it becomes crucial to implement a bulletproof cybersecurity system to protect such an essential asset. But, data security is much more than that, and implementing organization-wide habits to keep this information secure should be part of any security system.

A recent survey by the Ponemon Institute and HPE identified 7 commonalities in the cybersecurity plans of highly-secure organizations. Jim Morrison, former FBI Computer Scientist and current HPE Distinguished Technologist, presented these principles in a special webinar for ISG Technology, in partnership with the Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The following is a summary of those principles.

1. They Value Security as Part of Digital Transformation

Technology has become an essential aspect of any business’s operations, and without investing in the current digital transformation, your company is likely to become outdated and less competitive quickly. 

However, along with these technological innovations come a few challenges that entrepreneurs can’t ignore. As your company gathers data, it becomes crucial to implement solid security systems. Security can’t be an afterthought. It should be an integral part of a digital transformation plan.

2. They Manage Risk Effectively

This content is brought to you in partnership with Aruba Networks

Proactively and effectively managing the risks inherent in business is an essential component of a successful digital transformation. Throughout the digital transformation process, over 75% of high-performing enterprises work in close collaboration with a risk management team.

A risk management team can offer valuable advice regarding the implication of any initiative you are launching, identifying the areas that carry the highest cybersecurity risk, and can help build security into the design of new projects

3. They Use Security Automation

Human error still represents one of the major risks for any company’s security, despite how advanced our technological innovations have become. Eliminating or reducing manually-operated systems through automation can represent a suitable solution to this issue. 

Automation can play a major role in your security system. The automated system will introduce compliance as code, implement a standard response and access control system, and reduce reliance on the decisions made by an analyst.

4. They Implement a Zero Trust Model

When it comes down to protecting the data of your business, clients, employees, and contractors, you want to always be sure of your security. Implementing a Zero Trust model means you always verify the status of your security.

This is “not because workers are bad,” explained Jim Morrison, HPE Distinguished Technologist. “It’s that workers get distracted.”

HPE’s Silicon Root of Trust is a security measure built in to a server’s silicon. It provides a unique, immutable fingerprint that connects the silicon to the firmware. If the firmware is ever compromised by an attack, the Root of Trust will not allow the server to boot up. It’s the strongest hardware security solution on the market.

5. They Use Machine Learning

Machine learning is among the most revolutionary innovations of our era. Using machine learning in data security will decrease the company’s reliance on human perception and decision making.

Instead, the system itself is to recognize the voice, face, or optical character of whoever is trying to access data. This can help you implement a standard recognition and access system that will nearly eliminate human error.

6. They Purchase Cyber Insurance.

Today, investing in a cyber insurance policy is one of the best ways to protect your company against losses or damages due to data breaches, which can be extremely costly for any business. A cyber insurance policy can cover you in the event of business interruption, cyber-extortion, reputational damage, media liability, and more.

7. They Connect Privacy and Security

It’s crucial to understand that it is not possible to have privacy without a strong security system. Effective cybersecurity reduces the risk of privacy breaches for customers, employees, and partners. It also minimizes human error. Because of this, cybersecurity defenses and privacy measures are tied together. 

Understanding these perspectives on business security can help you find the weaknesses in your own cybersecurity posture. For help implementing the security measures you need, contact us today.

Digital Handbook: 5 Steps to Strengthen Cybersecurity Posture

The global cost of cybercrime is expected to exceed $6 trillion in 2021. That means that cybersecurity should be a big priority for businesses. If you’re looking to strengthen your cybersecurity posture and lower the risk of attacks and breaches, this guide will explore effective measures and highlight five key steps to success.

What Is Cybersecurity Posture and Why Does It Matter?

“Cybersecurity posture” refers to the collective efforts to protect the business from cyber threats. It is a term used to describe the overall defense mechanisms in place to tackle and prevent cybercrime. This phrase relates to any kind of security measure, including policies, staff training, and spam filters.

It’s hugely beneficial to be aware of the status of your cybersecurity posture so that you can identify potential security weaknesses, make improvements, and ensure you meet industry guidelines and benchmarks. 

1. Follow a Security Framework

Security frameworks provide a strategic blueprint to help businesses stay safe. There are different frameworks in place within different industries, based on each one’s specific needs for 

compliance and data protection, such as HIPAA for the healthcare industry.

The most widely used and recognized framework in the US is from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and it comprises five elements:

  • Identify: Understand and identify potential risks based on the data you handle, your client base, and the regulations that are relevant to your organization.
  • Protect: Invest in the right protective technologies and implement security procedures, including employee training and regular system patching.
  • Detect: Monitor continually for threats and system vulnerabilities.
  • Respond: Have a plan to mitigate and evaluate security breaches, as well as communicate with staff and customers.
  • Recover: Restore systems, patch system weaknesses, and take steps to manage your reputation.

All ISG Technology security solutions are founded on the NIST framework. For more details on this framework and how it can be implemented in your cybersecurity posture, check out our whitepaper on the subject.

2. Understand Where You Are

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To address weaknesses and strengthen defenses, it’s vital to understand where your business is in terms of security posture. Carrying out several kinds of tests provides critical information about your security status. 

There are a number of tests that can determine the current strength of your security, such as penetration tests and vulnerability assessments. Which test you use depends largely on your situation. That’s why the most efficient way to perform testing is to contact an IT services provider. Those experts will help you understand which assessment is right for you, how to perform the test, and how to read the results. 

Did You Know? Hewlett Packard Enterprise is the only major server manufacturer shipping world’s most secure industry-standard, made-in-USA servers. The new HPE ProLiant DL380T server is shipping today to U.S. customers as the first industry-standard server to be produced through the HPE Trusted Supply Chain process, which HPE plans to expand to the rest of its portfolio in 2021. Customers from select countries can purchase products delivered through HPE Trusted Supply Chain in 2021. Read the press release>>

3. Begin Building Resilience

Building resilience in the field of cybersecurity can be compared to fortifying a castle. Different elements, such as a moat, high walls, and guards, come together to create a more robust, tougher defense. In cybersecurity, this translates to firewalls, spam filters, antivirus software, and employee training.

Every company has different needs, but the goal of each should be to take their cybersecurity to the next level. At this stage, it may be beneficial to add more advanced technology, fill in security gaps, and boost efficiency by automating processes. The aim is to reach a point beyond protection and prevention where organizations are secure by design.

4. Create a Culture of Cybersecurity

Employees are often a company’s best asset, but when it comes to cybersecurity, they can be a liability. Because more than 90% of attacks start with email, it’s important for employees to recognize the role they play in your company’s security posture. 

Creating the right company culture and promoting education about cybersecurity can help lower the risk of breaches and phishing scams significantly. Changing the culture involves:

  • Awareness: Employees should be aware of the importance of cybersecurity, the potential implications of breaches, and their role in prevention. 
  • Testing: Testing enables businesses to identify who is most susceptible to phishing attacks and provides practice for employees.
  • Training: Regular training teaches employees how to spot phishing attacks and how they should respond.

This process is so important, we’ve given it a blog post of its own to explore the steps in more detail. The easiest way to implement these strategies is to work with an experienced managed service provider. As part of our managed security services, our IT experts can analyze your company’s security posture and implement needed changes, including simulated phishing attacks and training for employees.

recent survey by the Ponemon Institute and HPE identified 7 commonalities in the cybersecurity plans of highly-secure organizations. Jim Morrison, former FBI Computer Scientist and current HPE Distinguished Technologist, presented these principles in a special webinar for ISG Technology, in partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

5. Plan for the Attack

We often assume that big businesses are the main targets of cybercriminals, but statistics show that isn’t true. Around 70% of ransomware attacks involve small or medium-sized businesses. Every business should be prepared for a cyber attack. 

Preparing an Incident Response Plan will help you and your team know what to do when an attack happens. Responding as quickly as possible will minimize the risk of downtime, protect your reputation, and reduce the risk of financial losses. 

This plan involves:

  • Assembling your team
  • Detecting and confirming the source of the breach
  • Containing the issue 
  • Assessing the damage
  • Notifying the relevant authorities and affected individuals in line with compliance requirements
  • Preparing for the future

Having a clear Incident Response Plan in place will help team members handle the high stress of a cyber attack, leading to better management of the situation.

Learn more about HPE server security>>

If you’re keen to improve your security posture but aren’t sure where to begin, investing in managed IT services will provide access to security experts and a raft of cutting-edge, tailored solutions that will help you lower the risk of data breaches and ensure your company is prepared for cyber attacks. 

Three Critical Elements of Creating a Culture of Security

Your employees are the most valuable asset to your organization. But they are also one of the biggest risks to your cybersecurity posture. This is particularly true when it comes to phishing attacks. 

For business owners, it’s incredibly beneficial to create an environment which actively champions and promotes safe, secure work practices. This culture of cybersecurity facilitates the adoption of positive policies, procedures, and practices which are designed to minimize risks. 

There are three key elements to building this culture successfully: awareness, testing and training. 

1. Security Awareness

Cybersecurity should be a priority for every organization, from small-scale businesses to international corporations. It’s easy to think that only big businesses are the desired target for hackers, but this simply isn’t true. More than 70% of ransomware attacks involve small and medium-sized companies. 

Additionally, over 90% of cyber attacks originate from phishing emails. This means that in the vast majority of cases, it’s the human element, not technology, that is the weakness in a network. Employees can put businesses at risk due to a lack of understanding regarding phishing threats and how to respond appropriately. 

Every individual should be aware of the importance of cybersecurity and the potential consequences of their actions. Something as simple as clicking on a link or responding to a spam email can jeopardize the future of a business. Data breaches are expensive and damage the reputation of the business, which leads to customer loss.

2. Security Testing

Regular testing is an effective means to improve awareness of hazards like phishing scams. Simulated phishing tests enable employees to learn how to spot the difference between legitimate emails and spam. 

Phishing emails are often amazingly lifelike and they can be tricky to spot. The tests are engaging and interactive, and with frequent tests, employees learn what to look out for. This first-hand experience is often a more influential way to learn than reading about red flags or listening to a colleague talk about potential dangers.

If they do click on a simulated phishing test, the link will take them to a message that reminds them of the ways to identify phishing attacks. The program can also be customized to assign specific training for those employees who frequently fall for phishing emails. 

3. Security Training

Most employees aren’t cybersecurity experts, which is why training is so crucial. Training programs, sessions, and interactive workshops can help employees to understand the threats the business faces, to recognize potential dangers, and to adopt safe online practices. 

The testing software used to simulate phishing attacks uses interactive videos on different topics to train employees. This means that, while all employees will receive training, the more “phish-prone” users will be directed to more training videos, because they will click on more phishing tests.

Threats evolve, and hackers are creative and intelligent. This means that ongoing training is essential. Employee training is an important aspect of cybersecurity policies and procedures, and may mean the difference between a breach and a failed attack. 

Creating a Culture of Security

Employees often pose cybersecurity threats to businesses without knowing it. The right company culture can help to prevent attacks and reduce risks. Raising awareness of the importance of cybersecurity and the implications of cybercrime, carrying out regular testing, and providing training can help to protect and shield organizations. 

The easiest way to implement these strategies is to work with an experienced managed service provider. As part of our managed security services, our IT experts can analyze your company’s security posture and implement needed changes, including simulated phishing attacks and training for employees.

Companies who implement these awareness, testing, and training programs see a significant decrease in their risk score. To learn more about creating your culture of security, check out our webinar, “Protecting Against Cyber Threats With The Human Firewall,” or contact us today.

Is physical data destruction completely secure?

Cybersecurity is a paramount issue facing businesses in the digital world. The average costs of a successful cybercrime in 2017 were roughly $1.3 million for large enterprises and $117,000 for small- to medium-sized businesses, according to Kaspersky Lab. These figures include the cost of data theft but do not encompass the additional potential price of a damaged reputation and ensuing legal action. Data also indicates that cyberattacks will become only more expensive and damaging in the coming years.

Defending an organization against cybercrime requires a multi-channel approach. Companies should be open to software solutions, employee training and hardware upgrades whenever necessary. However, another avenue for cybercrime is occasionally overlooked. Physical theft of connected mobile devices, laptops and even desktop computers can lead to an open pathway for cyberattacks. In addition, some businesses simply sell their used electronics without first doing a proper data cleanse.

But can information to completely and permanently removed from a hard drive?

Hard drives are traditional data collection units that can be altered in a number of ways. However, the question is "can data be permanently removed."Hard drives are traditional data collection units that can be altered in a number of ways. However, the question is “can data be permanently removed?”

The levels of data destruction
Deleting data is not as secure as some might assume. In actuality, when information on a computer is “deleted,” the files themselves are not immediately removed. Instead, the pathing to that information is expunged. The data is also designated as open space, so the computer will eventually overwrite it. However, until this rewrite occurs, it is relatively easy for the information to be restored and accessed by any tech-savvy user.

Fortunately for organizations trying to permanently dissolve their data, deletion is only the first step of the process. Lifewire recommended three additional methods to ensure that information remains lost.

First comes software – using a data destruction program on the hard drive. This method has been met with approval from the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a secure way to permanently remove information from a hard drive, according to DestructData. However, drawbacks include resource consumption, as this can be a time-intensive process. In addition, some overwriting tools can miss hidden data that is locked on the hard drive.

The most secure method to completely remove data is degaussing. Hard disk drives operate through magnetic fields, and degaussers alter those waves. The result is a drive that can never be read again. In fact, the computer will not even register it as a hard drive from that moment on. However, the downside in this process is twofold: One, the drive is useless after degaussing. Two, this method can on only hard disk drives. Solid state drives and flash media do not use magnetism in the same way, so a degausser will be ineffective.

The final option is to physically destroy the data drive. While many people think that this task can be done with patience and a hammer, it is unfortunately not that simple. Hard drives can be rebuilt with the right tools and expertise. According to the Computer World, NASA scientists were able to recover data from the charred wreckage of the Columbia shuttle after its disastrous explosion and crash in 2003.

Computers that are simply thrown out can still possess classified data, which can return to haunt the company.

The resiliency of hard drives
In short, it can be difficult to permanently expunge data from a hard drive. This reality is in part why businesses are opting for less internal data centers and more dependency on cloud solutions. According to TechTarget, cloud solutions represent a more secure method of data organization than traditional IT infrastructure.

While data can be safely deleted, the reality is, unless a degausser is used, there is always some chance of information recovery. Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated, and given the expensive nature of dealing with data breaches, it is understandable why the cloud is becoming the preferred solution.

ISG Technology Announces Growth in Kansas City

Technology provider makes series of promotions and new hires to its KC branch

KANSAS CITY, Kan., Sep 13, 2020 –ISG Technology recently announced several hires and promotions within the Managed IT Services Provider’s Kansas City office. Among the new roles were:

  • Eric Tabor, Chief of Staff and Kansas City General Manager
  • Dave McCabe, Director of Cloud and Data Center Services
  • Chris Sheldon, Senior Network Engineer
  • Ramiro Carreon, Engineer

Tabor has served in various roles with the company over a 15-year span. In addition to Vice President of Strategy, he has assumed leadership of the sales and professional services team for the KC market. He said the company has proven its value to the market through its entire history.

“For over 70 years we have unlocked possibilities across our community of clients by focusing in them,” Tabor said. “This culture and vision allows us to focus on the long-term viability of both ISG and our clients. Our ability is an exciting opportunity in Kansas City and across our footprint.”

Tabor added that the company is “laser focused” on helping clients save time and money, cut operational expenses and grow their business.

“We have proven for over 70 years we align with our clients’ goals and help them achieve success however THEY define it,” he said.

Like most industries, IT has seen its entire landscape shaken by the health pandemic and its fallout. Tabor said ISG Technology has excelled in protecting its clients both from a security perspective, but also keep them on track to reaching their definition of success.

“Challenges can often create cost and/or lack of productivity. Ensuring the right IT partner is there to guide a business through those changes/challenges is mission critical,” he said.

The result is a customer service-focused organization constructed perfectly to meet the changing needs of clients both in today’s climate and whatever comes next.

“We are a family-owned, 70-year-old organization with a long-term investment horizon which allows us to do the right thing for clients and employees. That helps create a special culture where people can be themselves and experience tremendous pride in helping clients achieve success.”

McCabe joined ISG Technology in the fall of 2019 and has since taken over responsibility for the ISG Technology data center and cloud offerings. He said the state of the industry, given the challenges of 2020, puts an increased value on IT and on customer service. He said ISG Technology’s family-owned history and sense of loyalty throughout the organization helped solidify his decision to join the company. That’s a selling point to up-and-coming IT professionals.

“We hire very skilled engineers who are hungry to learn even more,” McCabe said. “You’ll always be challenged and never be bored working for ISG.”

Want to know more about how ISG can help you take your business to the next level?  Contact us today.

Webinar: Strengthen Security Ops & Tackle Threats

By now you know that Covid-19 has expanded the attack surface, making businesses across the globe more vulnerable to attacks via remote workforces and security policies built on the fly. You also know that a layered security approach is the solution. 

But what does a complete security strategy entail? How do you know what layers to add? And how do you get there?

In this webinar, Lane Roush, Vice President of Pre-Sales Systems Engineering for Arctic Wolf, utilizes his 20+ years of experience in IT infrastructure, storage, compute, networking and security to layout a more cost effective way of layering your security strategy.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to strengthen your security operations
  • What the NIST Cybersecurity framework is and how to complete it
  • Tackling a hybrid-remote workforce during COVID-19
  • How ISG + Arctic Wolf can help

Who Should Watch?

Business and IT leaders who are responsible for business continuity, disaster recovery and data protection.

The Critical Importance of Regularly Patching Your Network Devices

Maintaining your business security is a vigilant process. With cybercrime threats increasing around the clock, your defenses have to match up. Cyber criminals are constantly developing and improving their technique as they find new methods of targeting businesses and their data.

That’s why many companies choose to work with a managed service provider, which offers technological expertise at a scalable cost. Many businesses don’t realize the scale of the threat they face, and consider it sufficient to enforce minimal security measures by downloading some security software and leaving it at that. But without a regular maintenance program of patching and updating, the software will quickly become ineffective.

Data breaches are a very serious matter; apart from the obvious costs of time and inconvenience for your company, there are substantial regulatory fines for failing to maintain your security systems, not to mention the loss of business and reputation. 

In fact, for some companies the cost of a data breach can be deadly. More than 60% of breaches that occur could have been prevented by scanning for vulnerabilities and patching, but were not used. Shocking statistics like that really emphasize just how important it is to keep the systems you rely on regularly updated.

What Is Patching?

You might have come across those pop-up windows when you start your computer in the morning, telling you that software updates are available to install. These fixes are referred to as “patches.” They work in between version upgrades of the security software on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer to keep you secure against threats which have evolved since your last installation. 

It ensures that your security is working properly, and can update new features that your security software develops. Many people constantly hit “remind me later,” but these patches provide crucial software updates which fix holes in the system and keep your business well protected. They fill any gaps in the updated programming sequence that had been missed in an update. 

Patch Management vs. Server Patching 

When you think of the number of devices the average business deals with on a daily basis, it becomes clearer why this can be a big task. Laptops, smartphones, and desktop—each device is a portal to hackers seeking to gain entry into your systems. 

Patch management is the process by which you make sure all of your devices are patched the same to ensure that there aren’t any gaps across the system. Server patching is a little more complicated; it involves patching systems with a tool to make sure that everything is in place to avoid crashes or failure in your main server. 

Patch management can be carried out on an individual basis but it’s more common to use centralized management software, allowing your IT provision to set policies and rules that automatically apply patches. These can be worked around set business hours so that there is a minimal downtime and loss of productivity.

Aspects of Patch Management

Patch management should be a big priority for any stable business. Unpatched systems are very easily attacked by criminals seeking a way into corporate networks. New vulnerabilities are constantly evolving, and if patches are not applied in a timely manner, it’s the digital equivalent of leaving your back door wide open. 

But patches must also be applied correctly. Good patch management is required in order to make a judgement call on what to install and when. Working with a Managed Service Provider can help you to be advised on what action is most suitable for your configuration, and work out the details of when it’s best to patch your network devices. Compatibility issues may arise, or the patching could use a touch-up.

Taking inventory, standardizing devices, testing systems, deployment, auditing, reporting, and developing policies are all part of constantly ensuring a protected and healthy system that allows a business to focus on its core mission. When your IT security is regularly reinforced with the proper support to keep you on top of any risks, you can have the peace of mind to focus on the other critical operations of your business.