Owning and running a small business requires you to wear many hats in the beginning. But there’s usually a point where the books become complex enough to hire an accountant or the workload becomes overwhelming and you have to bring on more staff. So how do you know when to hire an IT security consultant?
It’s time to outsource your IT security if you:
- Are working with old tech
- Haven’t got a cybersecurity plan
- Need to meet compliance standards
- Want to educate your team
- Are expanding your business
- Haven’t been audited recently
- Know your industry is facing more attacks
Want to learn more about why these are signs you should look for an IT security consultant or the many ways they can assist you? Keep reading!
When It’s Time to Hire an IT Security Consultant
1. You’re Using Old Technology
Cybercriminals love to prey on small businesses who use outdated technology. When they find one, it’s like a free buffet to them.
When that old desktop computer you’re still relying on was built, a lot of the tools hackers use nowadays didn’t even exist. What’s more, once manufacturers stop issuing updates and patches to the operating system, there’s nothing you can do to make them more secure.
When it comes to obsolete devices, they don’t even have to be expert criminals to access them. Because there are no further patches for obsolete technology to existing vulnerabilities, the methods written by other cybercriminals are more than enough to get anyone there.
If your business is running on ancient devices, you are living on borrowed time. Updating all your technology at once is a huge undertaking, and an IT security consultant can help explain your options and make the decision easier.
2. Need to Develop a Cybersecurity Plan
It’s literally impossible to defend against 100% of cyber attacks. Dedicated teams of cyber criminals can find ways into even the most secure networks. Just think about the US government – they have nearly unlimited resources and some of the best minds in cybersecurity, and they are still working incredibly hard every single day to protect sensitive data.
That’s why it’s incredibly crucial for every small business to create a thorough and comprehensive cybersecurity plan.
What goes into a cybersecurity plan, exactly? A data security policy, password policy, data classification policy, mobile device policy, remote work policy, email security policy, social media policy, and recovery plan in the event of a breach, to start.
Learn more about the building blocks of a cybersecurity plan here.
That’s a lot to wrap your head around, isn’t it? Especially if, like most small business owners, you aren’t particularly tech savvy. This is why we suggest working with an IT security consultant to make sure that you dot your i’s and cross your t’s.
3. Get Up to Compliance Standards
Governments across the globe are enacting legislation pertaining to privacy and data security in many industries. New laws are being signed every day that could affect you and how you do business. Just having a website with tracking software like Google Analytics installed can have legal implications.
These laws can cover what data businesses can access, how you are allowed to access it, and everything about data storage from how it must be stored to how long you can keep it. There’s very little room for error.
You can’t claim ignorance of these data and privacy laws either. You’ll be liable if the law is broken whether you knew of it or not.
The fines and penalties for breaking these laws are not cheap. An investment into having an IT security consultant help you ensure your compliance could very well mean the difference between being forced to shut down in the event of a breach or weathering the trials it brings.
4. Educate Your Employees
You may have a dedicated internal IT team who handles day to day needs quite well, but has gaps in its knowledge. Or perhaps your staff is new and could do with some experience and perspective.
Part of a thorough approach to cybersecurity is getting your employees on the same page as you, whether they’re an IT team or Sales team. After all, your cybersecurity strategy is only as good as its weakest link.
So you know it’s time for some training. It can be really difficult to educate your staff and get them as invested in cybersecurity as you are, especially if technology is not your forte.
Talking with an IT Security Consultant can help you plan your curriculum, or they can speak on the areas you are less than rock solid on.
Read our article about getting your employees invested in cybersecurity for more tips! With a good plan in place, it’s relatively easy to increase buy-in from your employees when it comes to cybersecurity.
5. You’re Preparing to Expand Your Business
A small business is pretty vulnerable to attack when it expands. More employees and devices = more vulnerabilities. Plus, more employees means more room for human error.
Whoever manages the expansion, whether that’s you or a trusted employee, is very likely to prioritize cybersecurity last, below performance, budget, and the other logistics.
But it’s imperative that someone consider it, or you could be working with fancy new equipment that leaves your data (and your customer’s) compromised.
Another important consideration is data storage and retrieval. Especially if you choose to switch to the cloud for storage. You’ve got to ensure that your provider is secure, affordable, and the data transfer goes off without a hitch.
Want to know more about storage solutions? Read our post about the cloud and on premises storage, the differences and similarities between the two, and how to determine which is right for you.
Consulting with an IT security expert who can guide you through the process ensures that all your bases are covered and you don’t leave yourself vulnerable while you upgrade and expand.
6. You Think You’re Due For a Security Audit
You may read all the latest updates on cybersecurity concerns, have all the required software, and send out cybersecurity updates to all your staff… but you could still be quite vulnerable to attack.
It may seem as though you can just set up all of these systems and trust them to do their jobs, but the landscape of cyber threats is always changing.
Despite the time and expense, you must carry out regular checks into whether your security plan is working or not. After all, cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways in and evolving their techniques. If you don’t ensure your defenses are effective, your cybersecurity is just a theory.
If pulling your IT security team away from their jobs isn’t doable, consider calling in an IT Security consultant to perform the audit for you, so that they can stay on task.
7. Your Industry is Facing Increased Cyberattacks
As the data collected and stored by different industries evolves over time, so too do the cybersecurity threats for the companies in those industries.
Cyber criminals follow the money and the need, just like business owners do. So it’s vital to pay attention to what’s happening in cybersecurity with regards to your business sector, and make adjustments to your security plan accordingly.
For example, those in the Healthcare industry are particularly vulnerable due to the type and amount of personal data (in this case, called PHI or personal health information) they store. Any breach of PHI would violate HIPAA laws and put a healthcare company in a great deal of danger.
Those working in financial services have the same concerns – remember how bad things were for Equifax after the massive data breach in 2017?
Cybersecurity is preventative so it’s imperative that you stay ahead of threats as long as your business remains open. It’s a good idea to think of news about increased attacks in your industry as a severe weather alert, and respond accordingly.
Calling in an IT security consultant at those times can help you develop creative solutions to the threat at hand.
So You Think It’s Time to Hire an IT Security Consultant
There are many valid reasons to call in the cavalry when it comes to the security of your business’ data. Knowing when to let go of the reins and let experts do their job is key to growing and expanding your small business.
If it’s been forever since your last audit, if you don’t have a fully fleshed out cybersecurity plan (everything from data management to crisis response should be planned for), if your business is expanding, if your industry is facing a recent onslaught of cyberattacks, if your staff lacks certain training or expertise, if you need to meet compliance standards, or if you need to update obsolete tech, an IT security consultant is likely the most cost effective solution to your problems.
Do any of the above situations apply to your company? Please schedule a meeting with us. CloudNexus would love to help you address your concerns and lighten your workload where we can!