Create a Cybersecurity Strategy for an Uncertain Future

With the rapid changes brought on by the current pandemic, organizations are learning to adapt on the fly. Those deemed nonessential continue to upend their routines. From shutting down offices and asking employees to work from home to restructuring their sales and customer support processes, business leaders continue to push the limits (way beyond in many cases) of their comfort zones.

The past few months have no doubt made a significant impact on the business world, one that will have lasting effects, possibly for years if not decades. Work from home environments are gaining traction and becoming more normalized. Organizations will evaluate their commercial real estate needs and could realize significant cost savings from trimming back their office footprints.   

That leads to other tough questions for business owners. Do they have a robust infrastructure and effective cybersecurity measures in place to protect their company, employee, and customer data? Now that many organizations are reopening, MSPs and business leaders need to evaluate the challenges ahead and what systems and processes are required to overcome those potential issues. What are the plans for addressing future incidents such as pandemics, natural disasters, or cyberattacks? Just as important, what can MSPs do to minimize the effects of those events?

Address the Vulnerabilities

With the mass upheaval of what is, or was, considered a traditional workplace, in conjunction with a significant amount of added stress with the pandemic, certain shortcomings have come to light. For example, secure and robust network access is not a given.

Many companies make it all too easy without proper protocols to protect their data. Their vulnerabilities heighten when employees work remotely. Whether using an unsecured network or subpar personal device, accessing business networks becomes a significant risk.

Ransomware has also become an increasing threat to the SMB. When individuals are stressed, mistakes and misjudgments happen – there is no better example of this problem than the current worldwide pandemic. The challenge increases when staff members who usually work a certain way in one location are suddenly forced to change their routines. One little mistake, like an employee downloading a malicious file or inadvertently clicking on a link, can send an organization spiraling out of control in today’s virtual environment.

Add Endpoint Security

In the ‘Work from Home’ age with team members using a variety of devices, businesses should never underestimate the importance of securing every connection. Endpoint protection should be mandatory in work from home (WFH) situations.

Cybercriminals understand that some people tend to lose focus when working in different locations, and they love to leverage unsecured points to wreak havoc on business networks. While endpoint security provides more comprehensive protection than antivirus software, there is still a lot of room to grow.

Thankfully, innovation is helping MSPs address some of their biggest concerns. Technologies such as autonomous endpoints can speed the detection and containment of attacks, enforce compliance, and patch software while providing more control and visibility for administrators.  

Asset Management

According to the Absolute Remote Work and Distance Learning Insights Center, one out of every four devices has a critical security app out of compliance. The same group suggests that Windows 10 devices are an average 74 days out of date with critical patches.

These numbers highlight the blind spots of asset management. With so many employees working remotely on personal devices that are likely out of date, it creates serious concerns for MSPs and clients.

Without physical access to those systems, IT professionals run not all sorts of problems and may find themselves scrambling to address the biggest issues. What they need is more comprehensive and insightful information on the health of each device to manage the threat matrix.

Data Protection

Data security should be at the top of the list for any business today. After all, the loss or compromise of critical information can damage their reputation, finances, and operations. When team members leave the traditional office setting, many will find a way to work around security tools and procedures that cause them frustration or inhibit their workflow.

With no one looking over their shoulder, it’s easier to take shortcuts than when a boss or IT professional is down the hall. MSPs must work more diligently with their clients to educate their end-user communities on best practices and threats. Left to their own devices, without proper training, those individuals can be extremely detrimental to the long-term health of the business.

The mobile age is here, and businesses need to find new, more advanced ways to keep their employees and data secure. Now is the perfect time to rethink your clients’ cybersecurity protocols and evaluate the technologies that could best protect businesses with a WFH approach.

MSPs who can successfully deliver those services for their clients are more likely to see increased sales and retention. With what everyone hopes will be the most challenging business environment possible, IT firms that can successfully adapt to all the changes will be better positioned to overcome any future challenges.