Year end is when many companies are doing reviews in order to plan ahead for the new year. One area where it is vital to do this is cybersecurity.
What challenges did your Connecticut business see in 2020 regarding its IT security? Did you suffer the breach of a cloud account? Did you have problems securing newly remote employees? What new threats are being seen in the cybersecurity world that you need to prepare for?
These are just a few of the considerations when planning your IT security budget for 2021.
According to consulting and research firm McKinsey, the COVID-19 pandemic had a big impact on cybersecurity which businesses will see in the coming year. You will need to be prepared for these new threats. A proactive approach is the best way to prevent the damage that can be caused by these threats.
The McKinsey study showed that businesses plan to increase IT security spending in several key areas in 2021 in the following areas:
- Network security
- Endpoint security
- Identity and access management
- Messaging security
- Managed security services
- Security and vulnerability management
When it comes to your own company’s technology investments, we have identified several key areas to consider including in your 2021 budget to ensure your business continuity and security.
Remote Employee Security
Many small and mid-sized businesses experienced a remote workforce for the first time in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Many of these businesses are planning to keep the option in place due to the benefits of increased productivity, lower costs and ensuring they are prepared for the next major unexpected event.
One of the challenges of a remote team is extending your network security to cover those devices and business workflows happening outside of your main office.
During the pandemic, 20% of surveyed organizations have experienced a data breach due to a remote worker.
Some of the technologies to invest in that can help keep remote workers more secure include the following:
- Virtual Private Network (VPN)
- Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)
- Endpoint Device Manager (e.g. Microsoft Intune)
Cloud account breaches are becoming more common. Hackers go where the data resides and it is being stored more frequently in cloud software platforms like Microsoft 365, Google Workspace and others.
It is less work to hack a weak user password to gain access than it is to try to get around the defenses of a large SaaS provider which makes access and password management a big priority for businesses.
Review how you currently manage passwords and access to company cloud accounts. Where can you put more secure methods in place?
A few ideas:
- Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) on all accounts
- Use a single sign-on (SSO) tool to streamline & monitor account access
- Increase protection through location-based access management
Endpoint Device Management & Security
Endpoint device management is largely about securing all of the devices connected to your business network and cloud accounts regardless of the location from where they are accessed.
This doesn’t just include computers and servers. The number and types of endpoints used in the workplace have exploded over the last decade thanks to the rise of mobile technology.
Mobile devices now make up about 60% of endpoints for a business. They often are not secured properly and this is especially true if a company is using a “bring your own device” (BYOD) mobile policy.
To properly secure endpoints, you need an endpoint device manager like Intune (part of Microsoft 365 Business Premium). This enables important security controls for PCs, servers, smartphones and tablets such as:
- Ability to remotely push security patches and updates
- Remotely lock or wipe a device
- Monitor device access to company data
- Grant or revoke device access to company assets remotely
Managed IT Security
IT security has become increasingly complex and more sophisticated types of attacks are being released. Due to this complexity, businesses have been looking for ways to ensure that they are covered and to reduce the time IT security takes away from core business activities.
Managed IT services (including managed security) include a full suite of safeguards that handle all of your device and network security for you. Businesses can often save money by securing managed IT security with a trusted IT pro rather than trying to do it all themselves.
Some of the protections that Sound Computers offers in our managed security plans include:
- Patch/update management
- Unified threat management
- Network audit for vulnerability identification
- Spam/phishing protection
- Company surveillance systems
- Enterprise-class mobility management
- and much more
Messaging apps like Slack and Teams have exploded in popularity during the pandemic as a way to keep remote teams connected. Companies are largely moving their communications online via VoIP phone systems, video conferencing, social media customer support and messaging tools.
All of those communications could leave sensitive data exposed if you haven’t ensured that your systems are encrypted and secure.
Look to put in place policies that can follow and protect data from being shared or copied (like Microsoft’s sensitivity labels) and that give you more control over the security of your cloud communication data.
Reduce Stress, Improve Productivity and Security in 2021
Sound Computers offers tailored IT security solutions for any size company and need. We will help you reduce stress and improve productivity by giving you peace of mind about your data security.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call 860-577-8060 or reach us online.