Nathan Viveiros, founder and CEO of ThinkTech Computers Inc. in Fairhaven, highly recommends businesses work with a managed-services provider as a cost-effective way to protect against cybersecurity risks, especially when considering what a breach can cost.
PBN: Are there business owners that feel that their only options for cyber protection is expensive in-house information technology support, or nothing?
VIVEIROS: We work with companies that have internal IT support and we help augment their teams with a co-managed IT solution. However, for most small- to medium-sized companies that rely on their technology, a managed IT service will be the best solution.
Managed IT services providers essentially offer complete IT support without the need to hire dedicated in-house IT support staff. You get full-time access to network and technology experts without having to pay a full-time person or team. In other words, you save money and you have a team keeping a close eye on your network.
PBN: What are the ways managed services protect your company?
VIVEIROS: There is no one, single solution that can protect your company from every possible threat, but our strategy is the implementation of multiple layers of protection. Examples could include modern firewalls with up-to-date security subscriptions, multifactor authentication, employee security awareness training, a backup solution that is tested frequently and a cyber liability policy, just to name a few.
A company representative should be sure to meet with their managed-service provider often so that they understand your business goals and can make the proper recommendations to keep your company protected.
PBN: Are there some industries where there may be more that managed services can offer than others?
VIVEIROS: Many companies do not realize that every state has its own data breach security laws. Businesses that store personally identifiable information are required to protect that data to be in compliance with state laws. Every state is different, but examples of PII are Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and credit card or bank account numbers in combination with a person’s first name or initial and their last name.
There are, however, several industries that are more regulated, [such as] health-related or financial companies. They need to have additional protections in place to maintain compliance. Having a managed IT services provider that can help implement the proper cybersecurity protections can help your company maintain the compliance requirements.
PBN: How does a managed-services system work?
VIVEIROS: Managed IT services are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Most managed-service providers can offer a solution that scales with the size of your business and plan options to best fit your company’s needs and budget. Having a strategic technology plan helps set your business up for success by matching your technology needs and budget with your business goals, often with a predictable monthly fee for which businesses can better budget.
PBN: When it comes to the adage “time is money,” how does this translate in terms of a major company cyberattack?
VIVEIROS: This past year, we have seen a substantial increase in cyberattacks. A company approached us recently after a Ransomware attack where all its critical financial and client data was encrypted. They were being asked to pay a large sum of money – ransom – to get back access to their data. Its IT company had been backing up data on a regular basis, so they hoped they could just restore from their backup. Unfortunately – although their backup had been working properly – the backups contained the same encrypted files for the same stretch of time.
The company had never performed test restores to validate the data was good and useable. Employees are now faced with recreating years of data from the paper records. This could take most of their team working overtime for many months or paying the ransom, an amount of money large enough to possibly put them out of business. They are checking with their insurance company to see what coverage they have, if any.
This is just one example of how quickly a business without the proper protections or a strategic plan in place can be severely impacted by such a cyber breach.
Susan Shalhoub is a PBN contributing writer.
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