Managed services equip companies to deal with changing cybersecurity landscape

Each year seems to bring a broader and more complex array of cyber threats to businesses, and many companies are struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of change. According to a recent survey from security software firm KnowBe4, more than half of IT managers – 51 percent – find security harder to maintain now than a year ago. Preventing cyberthreats and responding quickly to security issues are some of the biggest challenges for companies, which is why many are turning to managed services providers for a more secure infrastructure, as well as functions like malware removal and application support.

“Cybercriminals are constantly devising cunning new ways to trick users into clicking their phishing links or opening infected attachments,” KnowBe4 CEO Stu Sjouwerman stated, adding that companies need to respond with thorough cybersecurity procedures, policies and training.

Another recent study from Solutionary and the NTT Group found that 54 percent of new malware goes undetected by antivirus software. As a result, companies need to make sure they are protected at the application level by using secure software and applying updates, ITBusinessEdge contributor Sue Poremba wrote in a recent column. Leveraging managed services for application support can help ensure software is kept updated and secured against threats, while external expertise can also be valuable in implementing state-of-the-art perimeter solutions and secure data center infrastructure.

Additionally, a managed services provider that offers malware removal can be a valuable partner in responding to and limiting the damage of an incident like an SQL injection attack, which the Solutionary study noted can easily cost a business $200,000 or more. Such protection might be unaffordable for a small business to implement in-house, but, by outsourcing certain IT management functions, companies can access state-of-the-art security solutions and industry-leading expertise. With the right portfolio of tools protecting it, a small business can avoid these ever-expanding threats.

Managed services can help organizations avoid top 10 business hazards

Managed services enable businesses to more successfully navigate a threat-laden enterprise landscape. Although an organization’s biggest IT, operations and security anxieties vary by region, industry and company size, what they’re most afraid of is generally the same across the board – lost profitability, client churn and a tarnished reputation.

In the Twitter age, no confirmed threat goes unpublished or unanalyzed, and it’s difficult for an organization to escape blame even if it’s only affected as a byproduct of another incident. The woes of retailer Target, which reported a 22 percent decrease in its client base in January following a massive data breach during the 2013 holiday season, serve to underscore consumer response to an enterprise that demonstrates less-than-exemplary information security, data management and business continuity.

According to a recent Business Continuity Institute study of nearly 700 enterprise respondents in 82 different countries, the top 10 most common perceived threats to disaster recovery and business continuity are:

  1. Unplanned IT outages
  2. Cyberattacks
  3. Data breaches
  4. Adverse weather effects
  5. Utility supply interruptions
  6. Fires
  7. Security compromises
  8. Health or safety incident
  9. Act of terrorism
  10. New laws or regulations

How managed services assuage anxiety
Managed services offer vast potential for companies to mitigate potential problems in many areas because a provider’s solutions are customized to the needs of the company. The above list offers a variety of incidents stemming from the company’s location, industry, employee behavior and general security management. Overseeing prevention and contingency plans that effectively respond to all of these potential hazards is time consuming, resource intensive and costly. While it’s impossible to prevent adverse weather or control regulatory measures, it’s possible to keep these threats from doing any real damage.

Managed services are scalable, so the amount of a provider’s involvement can correspond exactly a company’s anxieties and potential hazards. One organization may simply require online backup services via an offsite server in order to increase its data loss prevention activities. Another may want to virtualize nearly all of its infrastructure so its employees can stay connected and productive during a wave of bad weather. As a company’s needs change over time, it doesn’t have to rearrange its entire back-end infrastructure in order to keep danger at bay.

Managed services key to making disaster recovery planning stick

Managed services can help organizations eliminate one of their biggest pain points – disaster recovery. Establishing and upholding continuity and contingency plans can be complicated and resource-intensive. Many businesses, especially fledgling ones, choose to shove disaster recovery planning on the back burner. Over time, the lack of attention paid to disaster recovery planning puts organizations at risk.

According to a recent study by The Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council, many organizations are woefully unprepared for disaster to strike. Its global survey of more than 1,000 organizations, from small businesses to large corporations, found that a whopping 73 percent of organizations do not have adequate disaster recovery plans in place. Its other findings include:

  • 64 percent of respondents said that their organizations’ disaster recovery efforts are underfunded.
  • More than 60 percent do not have fully documented plans.
  • Among the 40 percent that do have documented plans, 23 percent have never actually tested them to see if they work.
  • Of respondents that experienced outages, almost 30 percent lost data center functionality for days or weeks at a time.

Since there’s no way of knowing when and how a potential disaster may occur, companies are gambling with their future every day they don’t do something about their disaster recovery and business continuity planning efforts. Being proactive is the only way to successfully combat the effects of unplanned events.

Managed services can help organizations establish a meaningful, up-to-date disaster recovery system. They can provide concentrated data backup and system recovery services beyond those a business has the budget or time to uphold, noted MSPmentor. Keeping systems current, especially when an organization adds a new application or hardware, is key to eliminating vulnerabilities that stem from outdated disaster recovery plans.

Proactive risk mitigation is important. Managed services providers can help organizations develop recovery time objectives for business-critical applications and conduct automated recovery testing. Having a dedicated IT staff on hand relieves companies of having to make their forays into the difficult science of disaster recovery and business continuity planning alone.