IT security has taken center stage in both government and corporate conversations because of recent high-profile, cyber security breaches. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration survey, 88% of business owners feel their company is vulnerable to a cyberattack. Many shared that either they can’t afford IT solutions or have limited time to devote to cyber security, while others just don’t know where to begin. However, more companies are beginning to see the importance of putting budget dollars toward initiatives for cyber security. Gartner released a report in May 2021 that forecasts a worldwide spending increase of 12.4%, reaching $150.4 billion for security and risk management.

As companies focus on improving their network and cyber security, they also need to eliminate bad IT practices across the business which can easily compromise efforts to improve security. Poor cyber hygiene can lead to a range of security risks, including: ead to

Working without an IT strategy and disaster recovery plan

Businesses that operate without an IT strategy have a difficult time remaining agile and responding to changes in the business environment. As a result, they tend to operate in a reactive state instead of making decisions based on a strategic plan. An IT strategy will help define and allocate the IT budget and address IT components including infrastructure, applications, services, sourcing, integration, and innovation. Businesses without IT personnel may find it challenging to create an effective IT strategy. Take advantage of a managed IT service provider who can explain and guide companies with specific questions about their IT needs while also providing tactical options.  

Additionally, a disaster recovery plan is a business-critical document that defines the policy and process to execute recovery action if there’s a loss of data, data breach, or ransomware attack. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, 60% of small- and mid-sized businesses who find themselves victims of data security breaches go out of business within six months. Creating a disaster recovery plan helps businesses resolve data loss and recover system functionality so they can recover quickly and operate after an incident— even at a minimal level.

Using multiple software systems

Many small- and medium-sized businesses start off using software which worked for the time but either fail to update or adapt their software, or elect to use a mish-mash of different services and products to accommodate their growing list of vendors… As a result, many companies have integration and compatibility issues with their suite of software or products and are stuck working with a clunky, inefficient software system. which requires unnecessary maintenance and oversight.

Delaying software upgrades or using outdated or inferior technology

Many small- and medium-sized businesses start off using software which worked for the time but either fail to update or adapt their software, or elect to use a mish-mash of different services and products to accommodate their growing list of vendors… As a result, many companies have integration and compatibility issues with their suite of software or products and are stuck working with a clunky, inefficient software system. which requires unnecessary maintenance and oversight.
Delaying software upgrades or using outdated or inferior technology

VPNs have been around for the last 20 years, and companies continue to use them, but the security they once provided does not stack up to what’s needed today. Why? VPNs give devices and users full network access… even if it’s not required. Clearly this is not a best network security practice f because it allows complete access, which means the entire network, not just a subnet, is left vulnerable in the event of a breach.

Network hardware and system software have lifespans. Hardware and software can only last for so long, depending on how much and how often it’s used. Continuing to operate hardware or software that is outdated or not supported can create a huge hole in a company’s security. Installing patches and updates is essential, but when support ends, so do the updates and patches. Companies who move to a virtualized system [4 Benefits to Transitioning to Virtualization Technology] are not concerned with outdated equipment and software because updates happen automatically.

Making decisions based on cost instead of security

It’s vital for companies to save money and not overspend in areas where it’s not needed. It’s also important not to cut corners when purchasing hardware and software. Business owners will often make purchases based on the current needs of the business without considering the scalability of hardware or software to meet future needs. This approach often results in unnecessary spending on expensive and disruptive data migrations and updates. Business owners need to evaluate technology based on how it will help them meet their overarching business goals instead of purchasing technology because they need a quick fix.

Not scheduling reliable backups

Having a reliable backup data source is important if you ever need to recover data. Companies use multiple ways to back up their information, including removable media such as USB sticks, external tapes or drives, duplicate mirror drives, archival or backup software, cloud backups.

Not training employees

Your data security is only as good as your company employees’ security knowledge. Employees are the first line of defense when it comes to network security, especially as more and more employees continue to work remotely. It’s important to educate employees about the risks of clicking on unsafe links, opening attachments from unknown senders, using weak passwords, and other habits which can create risks for the entire company. It only takes one compromised device or lost password to open an entire network to attack. Employees need to take responsibility for their actions. Still, it’s also critical for organizations to provide training as well as security measures, such as multi-factor authentication which prevent employees from being exposed to those risks.

Ignoring tech support

Setting up a company’s hardware and software is only half of an IT support job. Continuous daily monitoring, maintenance, and management of a company’s network and systems is one of the most important areas for the success of a business. Not only does IT need to ensure that systems are operating correctly, but in order to make sure networks and systems remain secure, updates and patches need to be installed as quickly as possible. It’s critical that companies partner with an IT person or a managed IT services provider who is skilled and knowledgeable about the trends, technologies, and integration for all company-wide systems. Proactivity is key. Correcting mistakes or problems after the fact can cost more than just your wallet, it can also risk your reputation and the longevity of your business.

Visual Edge specializes in managed IT services and cyber security, cloud computing, and print/copy solutions for businesses across the U.S. including remote offices. The company has more than 20 years of technology service with a national network of expert engineers. Request your no-obligation assessment today and get a free dark web analysis.