Outsourcing cyber security to a Managed IT Security Services Provider (MSSP) when you are trying to run a small to medium professional services organisation can, at first thought, seem an unnecessary spend of IT budget.
However, with growing cyber security risk and an ever-increasing work-from-home workforce, the cost of outsourcing your cyber security is significantly less than the cost of when you are breached.
Government safeguards for private information, such as the Notifiable Data Breach (NDB) scheme, have been implemented to try and protect businesses as well as individuals. Coupled with the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s (ACSC) ongoing work to prevent cyber-attacks on businesses and their annual cyber-crime report, there is a lot of information coming from the government to suggest cyber security is a BIG concern to business and needs attention.
Trying to manage competing business priorities with fewer resources, Australian SMBs often don’t have the skills and tools to defend themselves against cyber security threats. Outsourcing to a specialist Managed IT Security Services company is often the best option.
There are many Managed Service providers who supply outsourced IT, but not all of them offer a managed security solution. Managed security tends to be offered by companies that have expertise in this area and is usually an additional overlay on top of traditional managed IT services.
Businesses, such as professional services, know cyber security is important. However, they face significant barriers when attempting to implement good cyber security practices. These barriers include:
“Businesses operating in the SMB sector, often offering professional services, tend to have lower IT budgets than enterprise organisations. However, the security threat to them is still very real.” says CEO of IT Smart Solutions Steve Ranson.
The ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report 2020-21, revealed that small to medium businesses have had an influx in cyber-attacks over the last 12 months. The ACSC is acutely aware of the escalating scale and impact of malicious cyber activity. Business risk has grown dramatically due to the increase of staff working from home during COVID. Cyber threats are also escalating – including potential state sponsored attacks linked to the Russia/Ukraine conflict.
The report showed that the ACSC receives approximately 144 reports of cybercrime each day (that’s 1 report every 10 mins), with $300 million estimated annual losses.
More worrying still, small businesses made more cybercrime reports than in the previous financial year. And medium businesses had the highest average financial loss per cybercrime report, as shown below.
Cybercrime reports and average reported loss by organisation size for financial year 2020–21
The ACSC report puts IT security solutions for small to mid-sized companies firmly in the spotlight. 62% of SMBs surveyed for this report had already experienced a breach. Unfortunately, the report also finds “that only once an SMB has experienced a cyber incident, they become more aware of the risk, and view cyber security as more important, and believe that a cyber incident would occur again.”
Security breaches come in many forms, and usually their effect will depend on the stage of the breach. The ACSC business survey found that only 15 % of SMB owners could identify all nine of the most common cyber risks. Without being able to identify these risks, the likelihood of the breach penetrating your business is much higher.
When it occurs, the damage to reputation can be long lasting, significantly impacting your ability to retain customers or attract new ones.
Worst-case scenarios include significant financial loss, or the crippling cost of remedying the situation.
Each of these scenarios can force an organisation to cease trading altogether, unfortunately something we see often when organisations thought they were protected by automated services or desktop security solutions. Costs in the tens of thousands and up can be required to fix a breach if not detected on time.
Managed IT Security Services providers will have the specialist resources to protect your business from cyberattacks. Using experts for security means you personally don’t have to keep up to date with an ever-changing cybersecurity landscape.
“Providers should have a clear framework or set of solutions to apply to your business environment. The ACSC’s Essential 8 framework for security best practice is a good example, and will significantly reduce your risk of cyberattack,” says Steve Ranson.
Typically, the provider will charge an implementation fee and an ongoing monthly fee. This will include any software costs along with the time to maintain the solution. A small monthly fee to automate and implement the Essential Eight Mitigation Strategies can be more cost-effective for SMBs in terms of time, money and effort than having to respond to a cyber security incident.
Added to this, using Managed IT Security Services allows you to access the same level of security larger companies have in-house. It means constant support and monitoring of your IT, allowing you to focus on bigger projects to grow your business, and ensures you are always protected, even when staff are away on leave.
By adding Smart Security to any of our scalable Managed Services plans, your business will have the advanced security capability that’s vital today.
Smart Security from IT Smart Solutions uses a multi-facetted approach to cover all your security needs. For a start, we follow the ACSC Essential 8 framework because we know these eight essential controls are proven to mitigate cyber-attacks. You can find out how they provide an effective defence by reading our blog.
However, we go a step further with the Essential 8. We organise the eight controls into three specific areas of focus to make it simpler for customers:
We also utilise security controls included with Premium Microsoft 365 licencing. For a small monthly amount, our flexible, scalable solution uses the tools within Microsoft 365 to help you achieve the level of cybersecurity your business needs.
Over and above that, our Smart Security add-on provides additional software for even greater protection.
A key aspect of our approach is being collaborative. We work through each step with you so you know what changes are required, and how the changes may affect you.
“Some of the controls in the Essential 8 framework may have an impact on your day-to-day operations. We work through each step with our clients to ensure they know what changes are required and how these changes might impact them”, says Steve.
As part of the process, we report on your current Essential 8 maturity level. And we continue to work with you to progress you along your security path.
The problem for many small to medium businesses is they don’t know what their level of risk is, and where their vulnerabilities lie.
Outsourcing your security services allows you to focus on your core business, while improving protection.
In line with the ACSC’s advice, we recommend assessing your businesses level of cyber security every 12 months. Our cyber security assessment allows you to see how your business stacks up. It’s quick and it’s free. Take our quick, free cyber security assessment.