As technology continues to play an increasingly important role in the success of businesses, it’s becoming more important than ever to have a reliable and efficient IT system in place. However, building and maintaining such a system can be a challenge, particularly for small and mid-sized businesses that lack the resources to hire a full-time IT staff. This is where co-managed IT services come in. By partnering with a co-managed IT provider, businesses can access the expertise and support they need to keep their IT systems running smoothly, without the high costs associated with a dedicated in-house IT team.
What are Co-Managed IT Services?
Co-managed IT services refer to a collaborative approach to managing a business’s IT system. Instead of completely outsourcing all IT functions to a managed service provider (MSP), the business retains oversight while still receiving support and guidance from the MSP.
They can take many different forms, depending on the specific needs and preferences of the business. For example, the MSP might provide support for certain functions such as network security or backup and disaster recovery, while the business handles other functions in-house.
Advantages of Co-Managed IT Support
So why choose co-managed IT support over other options? There are many advantages to this approach, including:
Access to expertise: Co-managed IT services allow businesses to tap into the expertise of experienced IT professionals without having to hire a full-time team. This is particularly valuable for small and mid-sized businesses that may not have the budget to attract top-tier IT talent.
Flexibility: With co-managed IT services, businesses can choose the level of support they need and adjust it over time as their needs change. This flexibility ensures that businesses get the support they need, when they need it, without paying for unnecessary services.
Cost savings: Co-managed IT services can be significantly more cost-effective than building an in-house IT team. See more in the broken out section on cost savings below.
Improved security: IT security is a critical concern for businesses of all sizes, and co-managed IT services can provide the expertise and resources needed to keep systems secure. MSPs often have access to the latest security tools and technologies, and can help businesses stay ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting their data.
Co-managed Examples & Benefits
Co-managed IT services can take many different forms, depending on the specific needs and preferences of the business. Here are some common examples of co-managed IT services and how they can benefit businesses:
Co-Managed Help Desk: One of the most popular forms of co-managed IT services is help desk support. By partnering with an MSP or managed professional services provider, businesses can outsource their help desk functions and gain access to a team of experienced IT professionals who can quickly and efficiently resolve technical issues. This can be particularly valuable for businesses that don’t have the resources to build and maintain a full in-house help desk team.
Network Security: IT security is a top concern for businesses of all sizes, and co-managed IT services can help businesses stay ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting their data. Co-managed network security services can include firewall management, intrusion detection, and vulnerability assessments, among other things. By partnering with a co-managed IT provider for network security, businesses can benefit from the latest tools and technologies without having to invest in expensive in-house resources.
Cloud Services: Cloud computing has become an increasingly important part of modern business, offering scalability, flexibility, and cost savings compared to traditional on-premises infrastructure. Co-managed cloud services allow businesses to take advantage of these benefits without having to build and maintain their own cloud infrastructure. Co-managed cloud services can include everything from cloud storage and backup to software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings.
Backup and Disaster Recovery: Protecting business-critical data is essential for any business, and co-managed backup and disaster recovery services can help ensure that data is safe in the event of an outage, natural disaster, or other unexpected event. Co-managed backup and disaster recovery services can include everything from data backup and replication to failover and disaster recovery planning and testing.
By taking advantage of these and other co-managed IT services, businesses can benefit from the expertise and support they need to keep their IT systems running smoothly, without the high costs associated with building and maintaining an in-house IT team.
One of the key advantages of co-managed IT services is their cost-effectiveness. While the exact cost of co-managed IT services will depend on a variety of factors, businesses can generally expect to save money compared to building and maintaining an in-house IT team.
When considering the cost of co-managed vs internal IT services, it’s important to consider both the direct and indirect cost differences. Direct costs include things like the cost of the MSP or managed professional services provider, compared to salaries for internal IT resources. Also think about indirect costs like hardware, software, or other resources that need to be purchased, lost productivity due to IT issues, as well as the cost of recruiting and retaining in-house IT talent.
To get a better sense of the cost of co-managed IT services, it’s important to do your research and understand the specific services and pricing models offered by different providers. Some co-managed IT providers may offer flat-rate pricing, while others may charge based on usage or offer a tiered pricing model based on the level of service provided.
According to one survey by CompTIA, 50% of companies who engaged an MSP saved 1-24% in annual IT costs, 33% saved 25-49%, while 13% reported savings of more than 50%. By partnering with a co-managed IT provider, businesses can benefit from the expertise and support they need to keep their IT systems running smoothly, without the high costs associated with building and maintaining an in-house IT team.
By carefully evaluating the costs and benefits of co-managed IT services, businesses can make an informed decision about whether this approach is right for them.
Finding the Right Co-Managed IT Provider
If you’re considering co-managed IT services for your business, it’s important to find the right provider. There are many MSPs and managed professional services providers to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
To find the right co-managed IT provider for your business, start by identifying your specific IT needs and the level of support you require. Then, research potential providers to find those that specialize in the services you need and have a proven track record of success.
When evaluating co-managed IT providers, be sure to ask about their experience, certifications, and references. It’s also important to consider the provider’s approach to communication and collaboration, as this can have a big impact on the success of your co-managed IT arrangement.
Finally, it’s worth noting that co-managed IT services can provide a valuable release for in-house IT departments. IT professionals are often stretched thin, with a long list of responsibilities and a limited amount of time and resources to address them.
By partnering with a co-managed IT provider, in-house IT teams can offload some of their workload and focus on higher-level strategic initiatives. This can help IT professionals avoid burnout and ensure that they’re able to contribute maximum value to the business
Co-managed IT services provide businesses with a cost-effective way to access the expertise and support they need to build and maintain a reliable IT system. Whether through managed professional services or co-managed MSP services, businesses can benefit from the flexibility, cost savings, and improved security that co-managed IT services provide.
If you’re considering co-managed IT services for your business, it’s important to do your research and find the right provider. With the right partner, you can achieve the perfect balance between expertise and affordability, and ensure that your business’s IT system is well-positioned for success in today’s digital landscape.
According to a report by Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach for small businesses is $3.86 million. However, businesses that have a Managed Service Provider (MSP) in place can reduce their risk of a data breach by up to 53%. Businesses that work with MSPs are less likely to experience a data breach and, therefore, may be able to lower their cyber insurance premiums.
Shielding Your Small Business: Cyber Insurance Requirements
In today’s digital age, small businesses are increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats such as data breaches, ransomware attacks, and phishing scams. Cyber insurance is one way for small businesses to protect themselves against the financial impact of a cyber-attack. However, it’s important to understand the cyber insurance requirements for small businesses.
Typically, cyber insurance policies have specific requirements that businesses must meet to be eligible for coverage. Small businesses should carefully review their policy coverage to ensure that it meets their specific needs and that they understand the limits and exclusions of the policy.
By properly understanding and meeting the cyber insurance requirements for small businesses, organizations can better protect themselves against cyber threats and minimize the potential financial impact of a breach. However, you do not have to do this by yourself, a Managed Service Provider can help your business become compliant and alleviate some cybersecurity insurance premiums.
Strategies to Lower Your Cyber Insurance Premiums
A cyberattack can be catastrophic for small businesses, leading to financial losses, reputational damage, and even business closure. As a result, cyber insurance has become an essential part of risk management for small businesses.
By working with an MSP, small businesses can develop a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that includes risk assessments, employee training, and incident response planning. This can help reduce the overall risk of a cyberattack and lead to lower cyber insurance premiums.
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can play a critical role in helping organizations alleviate rising cyber insurance premiums through monitoring, compliance, and strategy development.
By providing proactive monitoring and management of an organization’s IT infrastructure, MSPs can help identify potential security vulnerabilities and take corrective action before they are exploited. This can help reduce the risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches, which in turn can lead to lower insurance premiums.
Enhancing your Compliance
MSPs can also help ensure that organizations are compliant with relevant security standards and regulations, such as the upcoming June FTC Safeguard rule, HIPAA, or PCI DSS. Compliance is a key factor that insurance providers consider when determining premiums, and non-compliance can result in higher premiums or even denial of coverage.
By working with MSPs to develop and implement comprehensive security policies and procedures, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to security and reduce their risk profile, which can help reduce insurance premiums.
Finally, MSPs can help organizations develop a cyber security strategy that aligns with their business goals and risk tolerance. This can involve identifying key assets, developing incident response plans, and implementing security technologies and controls that are appropriate for the organization’s size and industry.
By taking a proactive approach to security, organizations can demonstrate to insurance providers that they are taking steps to mitigate their risk and reduce the likelihood of a successful cyber-attack. This can help reduce insurance premiums and improve the organization’s overall security posture.
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can play a critical role in helping small businesses establish a strong security posture. MSPs can provide small businesses with access to the latest security technologies and expertise, as well as a range of services to help identify and mitigate potential security threats.
For example, MSPs can conduct regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing to identify weaknesses in a business’s IT infrastructure, and then recommend and implement appropriate security controls and technologies.
MSPs can also provide employee training on cyber security best practices, such as how to identify and respond to phishing attacks, and how to use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication. By implementing a comprehensive security program and working with MSPs to establish a strong security posture, small businesses can better protect themselves against cyber threats and demonstrate to customers and partners that they take security seriously. This also plays a big role in lowering premiums.
In conclusion, managed service providers can help small businesses lower their cyber insurance premiums by reducing their overall risk of a cyberattack. MSPs can provide businesses with continuous monitoring and threat detection, help them meet compliance requirements, and develop a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.
By working with an MSP, small businesses can improve their security posture and reduce the likelihood of a successful cyberattack. This can lead to lower cyber insurance premiums and provide peace of mind for small business owners.
As a business owner or manager, you know the importance of keeping your company safe from cyber threats. However, in recent years, a new type of malware has emerged that may not be on your radar: fileless malware.
This insidious type of malware has been on the rise, with some estimates showing that up to 77% of successful attacks now use fileless exploits. In this article, we will explore what fileless malware is, the types you should be aware of, and how to protect your business from these unseen and dangerous attacks.
What is Fileless Malware?
First, let’s define what we mean by fileless malware. We are actually combining two terms under one umbrella here, with fileless malware and LOTL (Living off the Land), both being techniques used by cybercriminals to evade detection by traditional antivirus solutions, but differing in the way they carry out the attack. While fileless malware executes malicious code in memory without leaving a trace on disk, LOTL leverages legitimate tools and applications already present on the system.
Both contracts with traditional malware as it is delivered to a victim’s computer in the form of a file, such as an executable or a document with a macro. Once the file is executed, the malware is activated and can begin its attack.
The top areas of fileless malware and LOTL include:
PowerShell – a command-line shell and scripting language that is installed by default on Windows operating systems.
Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) – a system management technology that provides a standardized way for developers to access and manipulate system data on Windows.
Word Macros / VBS (Visual Basic Scripting) – It’s a popular scripting language used by cybercriminals to create fileless malware that can evade detection by traditional antivirus software. Due to its ease of use and versatility, VBS remains a prevalent choice for threat actors looking to develop fileless malware.
.Net – .NET is a software development framework commonly used by Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, Adobe Suite, and Quickbooks. The versatility and functionality offered by the .NET framework also make it a popular choice for developing fileless malware by cybercriminals.
Web browsers – attackers may exploit vulnerabilities in web browsers like Chrome or Firefox to execute code in the context of the user’s web session.
These are just a few examples, as there are many different programs and processes that could potentially be exploited by fileless malware attacks.
Types of Fileless Malware and What Each Can Mean to Your Business
There are several types of fileless malware that you should be aware of. First, there is PowerShell-based malware, which is a scripting language that is built into Windows. Attackers can use PowerShell to launch malicious code and perform actions on the victim’s machine, such as stealing data or installing more malware. This type is particularly effective because PowerShell is a legitimate tool that is trusted by most antivirus software.
Another type is called “living off the land” or “LOL” malware. This type of malware takes advantage of legitimate tools and processes that are already installed on the victim’s machine. By using trusted applications, LOL malware can evade detection and perform its malicious actions, such as stealing credentials or spreading to other machines on the network.
Fileless malware can be used for a variety of attacks, such as stealing data, spreading to other machines on the network, or encrypting files for ransom. Here are a couple of examples:
There’s the Emotet trojan, which has been used in several high-profile attacks. One notable example of the impact of Emotet was the 2019 attack on the city of Allentown, Pennsylvania. The city’s computer systems were infected with Emotet, which caused widespread disruption to municipal services, including the police department, fire department, and city hall. The city was forced to shut down its computer network for several weeks, causing significant financial losses and disrupting services for residents.
In 2020, a variant of the infamous Ryuk ransomware emerged that was completely fileless. The ransomware was able to encrypt files and demand a ransom without leaving any trace on the system’s hard drive. The attack affected multiple organizations in the healthcare industry, causing significant disruption and financial losses.
Fileless Malware Protection
Given the stealthy and sophisticated nature of this type of threat, it’s crucial to implement a layered approach to cybersecurity. Here are some key steps to take to protect your business from attacks:
Keep your software up-to-date: Make sure all of your software and operating systems are up-to-date with the latest patches and security updates.
Implement endpoint security solutions: As mentioned earlier, traditional antivirus software may not be enough to protect against these attacks. Consider investing in more advanced endpoint security solutions that can detect and prevent fileless malware.
Utilize behavioral analysis and machine learning: These technologies can help detect and prevent fileless malware attacks by identifying abnormal behavior patterns and blocking malicious activity.
Limit user privileges: Restricting user access and privileges can limit the damage that fileless malware can cause. For example, only granting administrative access to users who truly need it.
Educate your employees: Training employees on safe browsing habits, recognizing phishing attempts, and other best practices can help prevent fileless malware attacks.
In conclusion, protecting your business from the unseen and dangerous threat of fileless malware attacks can be a complex and challenging task. This is where partnering with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can be invaluable.
It’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest threats and implement a layered approach to cybersecurity that includes advanced endpoint security solutions, behavioral analysis, and machine learning. Additionally, restricting user privileges and educating employees on best practices can help prevent attacks. A lot of times, we see businesses struggle to handle all of this internally.
By taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity, you can help protect your business from the unseen and dangerous threat of fileless malware attacks.
Compliance… some companies see it as a necessary evil, some align with the benefits of it for their industry. Compliance is crucial across all industries as it ensures that companies are following laws and regulations that are designed to protect consumers, employees, and stakeholders. It is essential for companies to operate legally and ethically.
In relation to your technology, compliance becomes even more important given the sensitive information that is stored and processed.
Unfortunately, compliance can be a complex and challenging task for companies, particularly for those that are not familiar with the specific regulations that apply to them. It can be difficult to stay on top of constantly changing regulations and to ensure that all employees are following the necessary procedures.
Fortunately, there are options for you to easily gain compliance. There are ways to get IT support and assistance with various aspects of compliance, such as ensuring that data is stored securely and that all software and systems are up-to-date. You can reduce the risk of non-compliance and can focus on your core business activities.
Here is an insightful chart showing the percent of MSPs who cover different compliance requirements for their clients:
This post is setup more as a guide than a blog post, so please link right to the section that aligns with you:
Accounting firms are subject to various technology compliance laws that aim to protect sensitive client information and ensure that financial data is handled in an accurate and secure manner.
This may be common knowledge, but to make sure we’re on a level playing field, some of the key technology compliance laws for accounting firms include:
Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX): This law requires companies to establish internal controls and procedures to ensure the accuracy and reliability of financial reporting. Accounting firms must comply with SOX when handling client financial data, and must implement strict access controls and security measures to protect this information.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS): This law applies to accounting firms that process, store or transmit credit card information on behalf of clients. PCI DSS requires companies to implement strong security measures, such as encrypting data, regularly updating software, and conducting regular security assessments.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): This law applies to accounting firms that handle medical information for clients. HIPAA requires companies to implement strict security measures to protect client health information, such as encrypting data and limiting access to authorized personnel only.
FTC Safeguards Law: Replacing theGramm Leach Bliley Act (GLBA) in June ’23, this is a drastic update to the original law. Accounting firms may now be included in this law as the FTC has drastically expanded the definition of a “financial institution”. By focusing on “the types of activities” a business engages in, the rule captures businesses “significantly engaged in financial activities.” This includes accounting firms handling taxes as well as other firms.
The new FTC Safeguard law expands upon the requirements of the GLBA by including 9 specific requirements for “financial institutions” to protect consumer data.
The 9 requirements cover areas such as risk assessment, data encryption, employee training, and incident response planning.
Compliance IT Challenges
In relation to technology compliance for accounting firms, the following are some of the top IT challenges:
Data Security: Ensuring that client financial and personal information is protected against unauthorized access and data breaches is a major challenge.
Software and System Updates: Keeping software and systems up-to-date with the latest security patches and versions can be difficult, especially if the accounting firm has a large number of systems.
Access Controls: Implementing strict access controls to ensure that client information is only accessible by authorized personnel can be a challenge.
Data Backup and Recovery: Ensuring that client data is backed up regularly and can be recovered in the event of a disaster is a critical IT challenge.
Compliance Monitoring: Keeping up-to-date with the latest regulations and standards, and ensuring that the accounting firm is in compliance with all relevant laws, can be difficult.
Employee Training: Ensuring that all employees are trained on the latest security policies and procedures, and are aware of their obligations when it comes to handling client information, is a challenge.
IT Resource Constraints: With limited IT resources, accounting firms may struggle to implement and maintain the necessary policies and procedures to ensure compliance.
Cost: Implementing the necessary technologies and processes to ensure compliance can be expensive, especially for small accounting firms.
Technology compliance for accounting firms requires a combination of technical expertise and attention to detail that is sometimes not an option internally.
Internal vs External IT Compliance Coverage
Some accounting firms handle the IT side of compliance internally by establishing an in-house IT department. This approach has both advantages and disadvantages.
Control: By handling IT compliance internally, accounting firms have more control over the processes and technologies used to ensure compliance.
Customization: Accounting firms can tailor their compliance processes to their specific needs, which can be especially important for firms that operate in niche industries. This may turn into a disadvantage though, when it increases the work load as compared with outsourcing compliance.
Limited IT resources: Small accounting firms may struggle to allocate the necessary IT resources to ensure compliance, especially if they have limited budgets.
Lack of expertise: Handling IT compliance requires technical expertise and knowledge of the latest regulations and standards. Accounting firms that lack this expertise may struggle to ensure compliance.
Time constraints: Ensuring compliance can be time-consuming, especially if accounting firms have multiple clients and a large volume of client data to manage.
While some accounting firms choose to handle the IT side of compliance internally, this approach can be challenging. Small accounting firms, in particular, may struggle to allocate the necessary IT resources and may lack the expertise required to ensure compliance. There are many challenges that can be overcome by outsourcing your IT. However, larger accounting firms with well-established IT departments may be able to handle compliance internally, provided that they have the necessary resources and expertise.
Conquering Compliance with an MSP
An MSP can help accounting firms overcome the main IT challenges in the following ways:
Data Security: An MSP can provide the necessary technical expertise and resources to implement strong data security measures, such as firewalls, encryption, and intrusion detection systems.
Software and System Updates: An MSP can monitor software and systems for updates and can ensure that they are installed in a timely manner to keep client information protected.
Access Controls: An MSP can implement strict access controls and can ensure that only authorized personnel have access to client information.
Data Backup and Recovery: An MSP can provide regular data backup and can ensure that client data can be recovered quickly in the event of a disaster.
Compliance Monitoring: An MSP can monitor the latest regulations and standards, and can advise accounting firms on how to comply with these laws.
Employee Training: An MSP can provide training to employees on the latest security policies and procedures and can help accounting firms stay up-to-date with the latest best practices.
IT Resource Constraints: An MSP can provide additional IT resources and can help accounting firms overcome limitations in their internal IT departments.
Cost: An MSP can provide cost-effective solutions and can help accounting firms save money on IT costs, especially for small accounting firms that do not have the budget to invest in expensive IT solutions.
Overall, with all the above advantages it is not hard to see why many accounting firms choose to partner with an MSP when it comes time for IT compliance coverage. It is important though to make sure you’re partnering with the right MSP: How to Find the Best MSP for your Company
Financial Industry Compliance
Compliance is a critical aspect of operations for financial companies. Financial institutions are responsible for handling large amounts of sensitive information, including personal financial data and confidential business information. Ensuring the security of this data is essential to maintaining trust with clients and protecting the reputation of the financial institution.
Additionally, non-compliance with relevant regulations can result in significant financial penalties and reputational damage. Moreover, compliance also helps financial institutions maintain their competitive advantage and stay ahead of potential cyber threats. By implementing robust security measures and regularly reviewing their processes, financial institutions can detect and prevent security breaches and minimize the risk of financial loss.
You may be aware of each of these laws based on your experience, but to make sure we’re on the same page, the top compliance laws that financial companies must adhere to include:
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS): This standard is designed to protect credit card transactions and sensitive information from theft.
Federal Trade Commission Safeguard (FTC Safeguard) law: This law requires financial institutions to implement specific security measures to protect consumer data.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX): This law requires public companies to maintain the accuracy and integrity of their financial information.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): This law sets standards for protecting the privacy and security of personal health information.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): This law regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer credit information.
The FTC Safeguard Law, set to replace the Gramm Leach Bliley Act (GLBA) in June 2023, represents a significant update to the original legislation. The law has been expanded by the FTC as it focuses on the types of activities a business engages in rather than the industry it operates in.
The FTC Safeguard Law requires “financial institutions” to comply with 9 specific requirements to protect consumer data. These requirements include risk assessments, encryption of data, employee training, and incident response planning. By adhering to these requirements, financial institutions are expected to maintain the security and confidentiality of consumer data.
IT Compliance Challenges
Financial companies face several IT challenges in adhering to compliance regulations, including:
Data security: Financial institutions handle a large amount of sensitive information, making it a target for cyber attacks. Ensuring the security of this data is a major challenge.
Data privacy: Protecting consumer data is a major concern, and ensuring the privacy of this information can be challenging.
System updates and maintenance: Keeping software and systems up-to-date and secure is a constant challenge for financial institutions.
Incident response planning: Quickly and effectively responding to security incidents is essential, but planning and preparation can be difficult.
Employee training: Ensuring employees are aware of security policies and are properly trained is essential, but can be challenging to implement.
Keeping up-to-date with changing regulations: Financial institutions must stay up-to-date with changing regulations and requirements, which can be time-consuming and difficult to manage.
Integration of systems: Integrating multiple systems and ensuring they are compliant can be challenging for financial institutions.
Ensuring vendor compliance: Financial institutions rely on many third-party vendors, and ensuring they are compliant with regulations can be a significant challenge.
These challenges require significant resources and expertise to overcome.
Financial companies have several options for handling IT compliance internally, including:
In-house IT teams: Some financial companies have dedicated IT teams responsible for managing compliance, including implementing and maintaining security measures and training employees on security policies.
Compliance departments: Some financial companies have separate compliance departments responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the business are compliant with regulations. These departments may work closely with the IT team to ensure compliance in the technology side of things.
Outsourcing to third-party vendors: Some financial companies outsource compliance responsibilities to third-party vendors, such as Managed Service Providers (MSPs), who have expertise in compliance and security.
Regardless of the approach, financial companies must invest in resources and personnel to ensure they are compliant with regulations. This can include hiring and training IT personnel, conducting regular security assessments, and implementing security measures to protect sensitive information.
Easing the Compliance Challenges with an MSP
Luckily, the strong option for overcoming the challenges is working with an MSP. An MSP can help financial companies overcome the following IT compliance challenges:
Lack of expertise: MSPs have a team of certified and experienced professionals who can help financial companies navigate the complex compliance landscape and ensure that their systems and processes meet the requirements.
Time constraints: MSPs can provide ongoing monitoring and management of compliance-related tasks, freeing up the financial company’s in-house IT team to focus on other important initiatives.
Keeping up with changing regulations: MSPs are familiar with the latest regulations and can provide guidance on how to stay compliant with changing laws and requirements.
Implementing and maintaining security measures: MSPs can provide expertise in implementing and maintaining security measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption technologies.
Training employees: MSPs can provide training to financial company employees on security policies and procedures, helping to ensure that everyone understands the importance of compliance.
Regular security assessments: MSPs can perform regular security assessments and provide recommendations on how to improve security and comply with regulations.
Incident response planning: MSPs can provide guidance on incident response planning and help financial companies prepare for potential security breaches or other incidents.
Cost: MSPs can provide cost-effective compliance solutions for financial companies, helping them meet their compliance requirements without breaking the bank.
Working with an MSP is a great way to help financial companies overcome the challenges of IT compliance. With an experienced team of certified professionals at your side, you’re sure to have all the resources needed for successful IT compliance management.
Healthcare companies have a crucial role in protecting the sensitive personal and medical information of their patients. Compliance is therefore of the utmost importance for these companies, as non-compliance can result in hefty fines, damage to reputation, and loss of trust from patients.
Adherence to these laws and regulations is essential for ensuring the confidentiality and privacy of patient information, maintaining the trust of patients and stakeholders, and protecting the reputation of the healthcare company. Unfortunately, 40% of healthcare companies reported they haven’t evaluated their security measures in the last three years. Moreover, with the increasing use of technology in healthcare, compliance has become even more crucial, as the rise of cyber attacks and data breaches has put patient information at risk.
You are probably well aware of the laws governing your industry, but to make sure we’re on the same page, the top laws you need to comply with include:
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): This law sets standards for protecting the privacy and security of patients’ health information.
The 21st Century Cures Act: This law requires healthcare organizations to implement robust cybersecurity programs to protect patient data.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): This law applies to healthcare companies that handle the personal data of European Union (EU) citizens.
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA): This law requires healthcare organizations to share information about cyber threats and incidents with the government and other industry partners.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA): The FDA sets guidelines for the secure handling and protection of electronic protected health information (ePHI) used in medical devices.
These laws and regulations require healthcare organizations to implement strong technology systems and processes to ensure the privacy and security of patient data.
IT Compliance Challenges
Healthcare organizations face several IT challenges in their quest to comply with the various technology-related laws and regulations, including:
Data security: Protecting patient data from cyber threats such as hacking, phishing, and malware attacks.
Data privacy: Ensuring that patient data is protected and kept confidential in accordance with HIPAA and other privacy laws.
Data storage: Storing patient data in a secure and compliant manner, including backing up and recovering data as needed.
Data integration: Integrating patient data from multiple sources into a single, unified system.
Technical infrastructure: Maintaining an up-to-date and secure technical infrastructure, including hardware, software, and networks.
Employee training: Ensuring that all employees understand and follow best practices for protecting patient data.
Incident response: Having a plan in place for responding to and mitigating data breaches or other cyber threats.
Compliance monitoring: Continuously monitoring and maintaining compliance with all relevant technology-related laws and regulations.
These IT challenges require healthcare organizations to have the right technology systems and processes in place to ensure the privacy and security of patient data.
Internal vs External IT Compliance Coverage
Healthcare companies have several options to ensure compliance with technology-related laws and regulations and overcome the IT challenges they face. These options can be broadly classified as internal and external options.
In-house IT team: Healthcare companies can have a dedicated IT team to manage their technology and ensure compliance.
Training and education: Healthcare companies can provide training and education to their employees on data privacy and security best practices, including the use of secure passwords, secure data storage, and privacy policies.
Managed Service Providers (MSPs): An MSP can provide IT support, manage data security and privacy, and help ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.
Consultants: Healthcare companies can hire consultants to provide expert advice on data security, privacy, and compliance.
Third-party audits: Healthcare companies can use third-party auditors to assess their data security, privacy, and compliance practices and make recommendations for improvement.
Law firms handle sensitive and confidential information on a daily basis, making them vulnerable to cyber threats and data breaches. To protect the privacy of client data and maintain the trust of their clients, law firms must comply with a range of technology compliance laws. In addition, there has been a surge of cloud use by law firms, with about 40% use in 2022, up from just 3% in 2020, highlighting the need for stricter cybersecurity compliance.
You’re probably aware of all of these plus potentially more compliance areas, but to make sure we’re on the same page, some of the key technology compliance laws for legal firms include:
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): This federal law governs the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI) and applies to legal firms that handle PHI in the course of providing legal services.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): This federal law governs the collection, use, and dissemination of consumer credit information and applies to legal firms that use credit reports in the course of their work.
Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX): This federal law governs financial reporting and internal controls for public companies and applies to legal firms that provide services to public companies.
California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): This state law governs the privacy rights of consumers in California and applies to legal firms that do business in California.
These laws cover a variety of areas, including financial information, health information, consumer credit information, financial reporting, and personal data.
Legal firms must stay up-to-date with the latest regulations and standards and must implement appropriate security measures to ensure compliance.
IT Compliance Challenges
The following are some of the top IT challenges faced by legal firms when it comes to technology compliance:
Keeping up-to-date with changing regulations and standards: Legal firms must stay informed of the latest compliance laws and regulations, and implement any necessary changes to their systems and processes to ensure continued compliance.
Protecting confidential client information: Legal firms handle sensitive and confidential client information and must implement robust security measures to protect this data from cyber threats and data breaches.
Implementing security controls: Legal firms must implement appropriate security controls to protect client data and comply with relevant regulations, such as encryption, firewalls, and multi-factor authentication.
Conducting regular security assessments: To ensure ongoing compliance and to identify any potential vulnerabilities in their systems, legal firms must regularly perform security assessments and implement any necessary remediation actions.
Maintaining data privacy: Legal firms must comply with regulations related to data privacy and must take steps to protect the privacy of client data, such as implementing data masking and de-identification techniques.
Managing client data across multiple locations and devices: Legal firms must ensure that client data is secure and accessible across all locations and devices, including remote workers, laptops, and mobile devices.
Ensuring compliance with global regulations: Legal firms that serve clients in multiple countries must comply with different regulations in each country, which can be challenging and time-consuming.
Balancing security and accessibility: Legal firms must strike a balance between ensuring the security of client data and ensuring that the data is accessible to authorized users in a timely manner.
To overcome these challenges, legal firms must adopt a proactive approach to compliance, implement appropriate security measures, and stay up-to-date with the latest regulations and standards.
Internal vs External IT Compliance Coverage
Many legal firms handle the IT side of compliance internally by assigning responsibility to one or more individuals within the organization, who are responsible for ensuring that the firm is in compliance with relevant regulations and standards. These individuals typically have technical knowledge and expertise in the area of IT security and are able to implement the necessary measures to ensure compliance.
While handling the IT side of compliance internally can be challenging, it also allows legal firms to have more control over the compliance process and to tailor their security measures to meet their specific needs. However, it also requires significant investment in terms of time, resources, and expertise.
Some legal firms may find it beneficial to use an external Managed Service Provider (MSP) to help them with the IT side of compliance, especially if they do not have the necessary technical expertise in-house.
Tackling Compliance with an MSP
An Managed Service Provider (MSP) can help a legal firm overcome the top IT compliance challenges:
Keeping up-to-date with changing regulations and standards: An MSP can provide regular updates on changes to regulations and standards and assist the legal firm in implementing any necessary changes to ensure continued compliance.
Protecting confidential client information: An MSP can implement robust security measures to protect client data from cyber threats and data breaches, such as encryption, firewalls, and multi-factor authentication.
Implementing security controls: An MSP can help a legal firm implement the appropriate security controls to ensure compliance and protect client data.
Conducting regular security assessments: An MSP can regularly perform security assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities in the legal firm’s systems and implement any necessary remediation actions.
Maintaining data privacy: An MSP can assist a legal firm in complying with regulations related to data privacy and in implementing data masking and de-identification techniques.
Managing client data across multiple locations and devices: An MSP can help a legal firm manage client data securely and with accessibility across all locations and devices, including remote workers, laptops, and mobile devices.
Ensuring compliance with global regulations: An MSP with global experience can assist a legal firm in complying with regulations in different countries and ensure that client data is protected in accordance with the relevant regulations.
Balancing security and accessibility: An MSP can help a legal firm strike a balance between ensuring the security of client data and ensuring that the data is accessible to authorized users in a timely manner.
By partnering with an MSP, legal firms can benefit from the MSP’s expertise and experience in the area of IT security and compliance, freeing up internal resources to focus on other areas of their business.
Recently, the Cyber Readiness Institute (CRI) surveyed small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs & SMBs) to assess their knowledge of multifactor authentication (MFA). The findings were startling; an overwhelming majority (55%) of these organizations had no idea what MFA was or how it could help protect them from cyber threats. This lack of knowledge and understanding of MFA is particularly concerning, as any business owner knows that taking steps to secure their data is crucial for continued success.
As an owner, CEO, or CIO of a small business, it’s your responsibility to ensure the security of your company’s data. With cyber threats becoming increasingly sophisticated and aggressive, one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself is implementing multifactor authentication (MFA).
MFA adds extra layers of security beyond passwords that can help ensure only authorized users have access to your system – all while ensuring operations are as efficient as possible. In this blog post, we’ll look at multi-factor authentication, how it works, and why it’s essential for any small business looking to stay safe online in an increasingly complex digital landscape.
What is Multifactor Authentication?
Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) is a highly recommended form of authentication that provides an extra layer of security to help protect sensitive data. It requires users to provide more than one form of verification, such as a username and password combination, a one-time code sent to their device, or biometric information like fingerprints or facial recognition. MFA helps reduce the likelihood of successful cyber attacks.
By requiring two or more validation factors from a user in order to gain access to resources, organizations can ensure only authorized individuals are accessing critical data. For added security, organizations should consider implementing MFA that’s tailored to their specific needs and industry compliance regulations.
How Does Multi-Factor Authentication Work?
The concept behind MFA is simple yet effective: users provide two factors to authenticate themselves–their username/password combination and an additional factor that confirms their identity. Companies must select which authenticator factors they want to use based on their specific needs and the level of security desired.
Organizations must also decide whether they want MFA integrated into existing systems, use external solutions (such as third-party identity providers), or purchase dedicated hardware solutions for more robust authentication measures.
These requirements are designed to help organizations understand the importance of using two-factor authentication when accessing sensitive data, such as customer information or financial records. The requirements are also aimed at assisting small business owners in implementing an appropriate 2FA solution that meets their security needs.
The NIST MFA Requirements provide a number of key recommendations for implementation, including the use of unique passwords for each user, strict adherence to password policies, regular review and enforcement of access control measures, and clear audit logs to track activity. They also require that users must authenticate via two separate factors before being granted access to any protected resources. This could include something they know (such as a password or PIN), something they have (like a physical token), or something they are (like biometric data).
MFA builds on the concept of using strong passwords by offering an additional form of authentication. This additional form could include one-time passcodes, fingerprints, or any other type of authentication that requires multiple verification steps.
By following these best practices, small businesses can ensure that their valuable data is kept safe from unauthorized use and manipulation. Furthermore, organizations will have peace of mind knowing that their customers’ privacy is not put at risk by any malicious actors who may be trying to gain access to sensitive information.
MFA vs. 2-Factor Authentication: What’s The Difference?
Multi-Factor Authentication is a security measure that requires more than one method of authentication to verify the identity of an individual. This differs from Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), which is restricted to using only two authentication methods for verification.
MFA offers additional layers of protection against unwanted access by requiring users to provide multiple pieces of information to prove their identity.
Furthermore, MFA can involve using any combination of authentication factors such as passwords, biometrics, or OTP tokens, thus making it much more secure than 2FA alone. Combined with other measures such as encryption and user permission management, MFA can help organizations protect their data and systems against unauthorized access and malicious activities.
The Importance of Multi-Factor Authentication for Businesses
By leveraging MFA technology and other security measures such as antivirus software and firewalls, businesses can provide an extra layer of defense against outside threats. This adds an extra layer of security for customers’ data and provides peace of mind for business owners responsible for safeguarding their customers’ sensitive information.
According to Microsoft, implementing multifactor authentication (MFA) can provide a powerful safeguard against account compromise attacks. Utilizing MFA for your accounts helps protect you from hackers and other malicious actors who want to gain unauthorized access to your data.
It also helps to prevent identity theft by providing an extra layer of security, making it much more difficult for an attacker to gain access to your personal information without permission.
Furthermore, implementing MFA can help improve customer experience by providing faster service with less downtime due to malicious activities or fraudulent attempts at gaining access.
Companies should take the time now to make sure they understand the importance of MFA and the added benefits it provides for both themselves and their customers. With the proper education and awareness about MFA security protocols, businesses can ensure that they are protecting themselves and their customers from potential threats in the digital space.
What To Consider When Selecting An MFA Solution For Your Business
Consider the following when selecting an MFA solution for your business:
When evaluating the proper multifactor authentication (MFA) solution for your business, the critical criteria are accessibility, usability, and training resources.
To find the correct multifactor authentication (MFA) solution for your business, consider accessibility for all employees, usability, and training resources.
Additionally, ensure the MFA solution meets current and future needs while remaining cost-effective.
The provider should offer comprehensive user guides, tutorials, and 24/7 support for any issues that might arise.
How to Implement a Multifactor Authentication Policy for Your Company
Introducing Multi-Factor Authentication (“MFA”) is important in ensuring your organization’s security is up to date. To have a successful implementation, it is essential to designate someone who can lead the process and accept responsibility for cyber readiness. This individual must prioritize what systems and data need protection, decide which MFA technology best suits those needs, and assess the impact on employees.
Before rolling out MFA across the organization, it is vital to communicate the policies, expectations, and how easy it will be for employees to use. This could include workforce information sessions, training, or a messaging campaign outlining the necessary steps for using MFA such as putting up physical posters, banners, emails, and other communications throughout your organization’s buildings to explain why MFA is essential in today’s digital age. It’s also beneficial to provide support resources where employees can troubleshoot problems they may experience during initial use.
Once you have communicated your plan and employees understand how MFA works, you can begin implementation. It’s important to note that this could present technical challenges if you have a large employee base or if some of your systems need to be updated or transitioned into an MFA environment more accessible.
With strong leadership, strategic planning, and ongoing communication, successful integration of MFA is achievable for any business regardless of size.
What Challenges Might Businesses Face When Implementing Multifactor Authentication?
Businesses’ most significant challenge when implementing multifactor authentication is ensuring all employees understand why it’s important and how it works. If there’s not enough education or training around MFA, employees may not be comfortable with the process or may even find it too confusing — leading them to avoid using it altogether.
Additionally, some users may find the additional steps required for MFA tedious or time-consuming, mainly if they are used to logging in with just one credential. For both the educational and technical side of MFA, you always have the option of working with an MSP. Check out our post on how to find the best MSP for your company.
Benefits of Using Multifactor Authentication for Your Business
The primary benefit of using multifactor authentication is increased security. This can help protect your data and digital assets from malicious actors trying to steal information or money from your organization and also help protect your customers’ data and builds trust by showing that you take their data privacy seriously.
By requiring users to prove their identity multiple times before gaining access, MFA makes it much harder for attackers to gain unauthorized access.
Also, MFA can help protect against phishing scams and other social engineering attacks since attackers will need more than just one piece of information before they can get into your systems.
Finally, this extra layer of control makes it easier for you to keep track of employee activity on your networks and spot any unauthorized activity quickly before any damage can be done.
The Challenge of Using Multifactor Authentication
While many benefits are associated with using multifactor authentication, there are also some potential drawbacks. For example, trying to access systems with multiple layers of credentials is time-consuming, which can cause delays and disruptions within an organization.
How Can Employees Be Trained To Use Multi-Factor Authentication?
Putting together educational campaigns to educate them on how to use MFA, such as putting up physical posters, banners, emails, and other communications throughout your organization’s buildings to explain why MFA is essential in today’s digital age, as well as inform everyone about the risks associated with not using it – like identity theft or lost data due to hacker attacks or malware. Additionally, let them know that you are making this transition for their safety and convenience – not as a nuisance or tracking policy.
Strongly urge all your users to take advantage of this new technology – installing MFA on all applicable devices and services – to benefit from its added security measures during this digital era.
Multifactor authentication provides an extra layer of security that protects your business from online attackers looking for easy targets with weak security protocols in place. With its ability to verify identities through multiple factors such as passwords, encryption keys, and biometrics, MFA ensures that only authorized personnel can access your essential data and resources – making it an invaluable tool for businesses looking for ways to keep their networks secure. As such, we strongly recommend implementing multifactor authentication across all systems within your organization if you want the best protection against external attacks.
If you are looking for an IT firm to outsource your cybersecurity to, ANAX Business Technology is at your service. We have been providing cybersecurity solutions to help hundreds of businesses just like yours stay secure online. We offer 24/7 monitoring, real-time alerts, and an advanced security system that will keep your business protected from hackers and other threats.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are constantly under threat from cyberattacks. In fact, SMB cybersecurity issues frequently arise as 60% of all attacks target SMBs. These Cyber attacks include data breaches, malware attacks, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), phishing attacks, spyware and others.
The reason for this is simple: SMBs often lack the robust cybersecurity infrastructure of larger organizations, making them easier targets.
However, there are steps that you can take to simplify your cybersecurity and make your company a less attractive target. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most effective cybersecurity solutions for SMBs. By taking these steps, you can help protect your business from the ever-growing threat of cybercrime.
Why Small Businesses are prone to Cyber Attacks?
Small and medium businesses (SMBs) are increasingly becoming targeted by cyber criminals. With data breaches causing significant disruption, loss of business operations and potential financial losses, it is imperative for SMBs to take cybersecurity seriously.
In small companies, these problems result from a lack of resources as well as skills. Typically, smaller businesses do not have dedicated cybersecurity experts who protect them from hackers. You can take steps to close your IT knowledge gap, but cybersecurity is usually an area you need outside help with. In addition, SMBs often rely on outdated and vulnerable systems, making them easy targets for cyber criminals.
Cybersecurity helps ensure the safety of critical information such as customer data and confidential client files, protecting not only your sensitive data but also your reputation. Implementing robust cybersecurity measures including appropriate access control protocols and regularly monitoring activities on networks are essential steps to protect digital assets from malicious actors.
Some unsettling stats on SMB Cybersecurity Threats
There’s a 31% increase in the average number of attacks per company since 2020
On average, SMBs lose $212,000 annually due to cyber incidents that affected suppliers with whom they share data.
44% of data breaches include customer personally identifiable information (PII).
It takes an average of 212 days to identify a data breach and an average of 75 days to contain a data breach.
Phishing, having been observed in 41% of cyberattacks, emerged as the top infection victor in 2021. And other top threat victors included vulnerability exploitation, stolen credentials, Brute Force, remote desktop, removable media, and password spraying.
6 steps to take to Increase your Small Businesses Cybersecurity
When it comes to protecting your small business from potential cyber threats, taking proactive steps is key.
1.To ensure proper cybersecurity, begin by setting a strict password policy that requires complex passwords to be used and updated regularly. Also, a password manager is a valuable tool for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) looking to increase their cybersecurity. Password managers store user credentials in an encrypted format, making it difficult for attackers to gain access to them. This is especially important if you have multiple users accessing the same system or website.
2.Consider using two-factor authentication (2FA) to further secure critical systems from unauthorized access. This involves entering a one-time passcode or code via SMS text message in addition to your username and password, providing an extra layer of security.
3.Ensure your team is educated on the latest security protocols and best practices. Equip employees with tools to protect customers’ data, such as strong passwords and monitored internet use guidelines. Establish clear standards of behavior so everyone understands their role in protecting company information. Penalties should be clearly articulated so that all employees understand the expectations set forth by your cybersecurity policies.
4.Make sure your operating systems are up to date with the latest software and security patches. Many cyberattacks exploit known vulnerabilities in outdated software, so it’s important to stay on top of security updates and patches to minimize your risk.
5.Invest in antivirus software; pick one that offers both local and cloud-based protection. Cloud-based antivirus solutions are particularly useful for SMBs, as they can be accessed remotely and updated automatically. This helps ensure that your systems are always protected from the latest threats.
6.Regularly backup your data in case of a security incident. To ensure you can recover important information quickly and seamlessly in the event of an attack, consider using a cloud-based backup service or secondary server to create redundant copies of your data.
By taking these proactive steps to strengthen your SMB’s cybersecurity, you can help mitigate the risk of cyberattacks and protect your systems and valuable data from being compromised.
How to get started with implementing these changes
Implementing changes undoubtedly requires considerable planning and organization. Businesses need to assess their current levels of risk, identify vulnerabilities, and prioritize their implementation efforts.
One of the easiest ways for small businesses to start implementing effective cybersecurity changes is to create an inventory of all hardware and software currently being used.
Write down the guidelines needed as part of your cybersecurity update. For example, guidelines for choosing passwords, frequency of updates, and secure storage protocols.
Next, prioritize what needs to be done by identifying the most pressing issues first and creating goals with realistic timelines.
An action plan can then be created based on these goals to provide a roadmap for implementation.
Finally, any staff who will be actively involved in the changes should be trained accordingly; they need situational awareness and knowledge of policies and procedures in order to best support their role during this process.
All these steps are necessary for successful change implementation.