Maximizing IT Security Regardless of Budgets

In its list of IT outsourcing trends for 2012, CIO.com predicted that IT security will step into the spotlight this year. Indeed, according to CIO.com’s source, Mark Ruckman of Sanda Partners, a large provider of IT managed services will more than likely be humiliated by a public hack sometime in 2012. Some are calling 2012 the “Year of the Cloud,” but others like CIO.com see this as the “Year of Security.” This year, outsourcing partners will be on the lookout for superior data protection, for both themselves and their customers.

If your company doesn’t have a lot of liquid capital to throw at IT security issues, don’t panic. There are several affordable steps small businesses can take to protect their data and networks.

1. Security Analysis

IT consultants perform a security analysis to find the weak points in a network. A thorough analysis reviews every IT system that would be included in IT managed services – internet and email, data backup and recovery, anti-virus and anti-spam software, and so on. Once you have an IT security analysis report in hand, you can make more informed decisions about which IT security upgrades will have a positive impact on your bottom line. And because you’ll typically only pay for the limited amount of time required to carry out the analysis, this is an affordable approach to improving your IT security.

2. On-Demand IT Security: Affordable Action on Security Analysis

Once your IT security review is complete, it’s time to create a custom data security protection plan. A data security protection plan outlines how to best strengthen the vulnerabilities laid out in the security review. Both the creation and the application of your data security plan can be paid for piecemeal to make for flexible budgeting. Simply hire an IT consultant on an hourly basis. To ensure that your IT security is in good hands, look for a consultant who also offers complete IT managed services.

3. Outsourcing IT Managed Services: How to Make it Affordable

Ultimately, one of the best ways to protect company data and networks is to hire an IT outsourcing partner to handle all of your IT managed services. This approach can be quite cost-effective, depending on the service contract. Most IT security firms offer a range of prices for monthly services.

Considering that 70 percent of small businesses that experience a significant data loss go out of business within a year, it’s crucial to address your IT security issues sooner rather than later. Outside of these three general levels of IT managed services, here are a few good IT security techniques that don’t cost an arm and a leg:

Isolate important information. Especially sensitive company data should be copied as little as possible. Keep it on a separate server and take other steps to segregate sensitive data from the rest of your network.

Conduct employee background checks as part of your new-hire process. Studies have found that many IT security meltdowns are inside jobs, so it’s important to hire only the trust worthiest individuals.

Teach employees how to set strong passwords, and remind them to change passwords regularly  – then put into place systems that enforce the policy.

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