is a lot like airbags and seat belts. They used to be optional but nowadays you probably wouldn’t drive a car without them. So, if a seat belt is an essential everyday safety measure, what about when you’re in a hurry and distracted?
The same is true of network security and your business. It’s important for doing business as usual but it’s vital when you’re growing and expanding. That’s because growth creates the kind of disruptions that are like a flashing neon sign to opportunistic hackers.
The Risks Grow as Your Business Grows
As you grow your sales, increase production and deliver more services, you need more employees and technology to enable the expansion. This means more computers, tablets and smartphones; new user accounts; faster servers; larger data storage and maybe even additional office locations or remote work opportunities.
Unfortunately, each additional device, application and user – each new node in your network – increases your vulnerability to viruses, ransomware and phishing attacks. But it’s your people who are actually your greatest security vulnerability.
Even if you can afford all the top-shelf security solutions, not incorporating security into your business plan will leave you incredibly vulnerable to the preventable threats most likely to get you:
- An employee who clicks an insecure email link
- A vendor who was gets hacked and infects your system
- A consultant who logs in without encryption or has unneeded administrative permissions
These are common situations and can easily result in an IT disruption such as network downtime or the theft and ransom of your valuable, confidential data. In both cases, the cost to your business includes lost sales and revenue, major delays, IT expenses and lasting damage to your reputation.
How to Plan for Growth and Security
As a business owner, you try to plan for changes in market conditions, the actions of your competitors and other possible factors that might impact your growth plans. Often, those “possible factors” don’t include security threats. If they do, most businesses only insert a budget line and some generic text about the threats.
Incorporating security throughout your business and growth plans is the key to avoiding these nightmare scenarios. One practical, specific way to incorporate security is to address the 3 tenets of network security – confidentiality, integrity and availability.
For example, your sales team certainly needs read & write access to your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform but maybe your marketing vendor can do with read only access.
Or, shifting responsibilities among team members may require revising user authorizations so each individual has the appropriate level of access. Likewise, whenever individuals leave your employment, access to company accounts and shared digital spaces like Google Hangouts, OneDrive and Slack must be frozen immediately.
These are just a few of the many daily changes that increase risk and create new vulnerabilities for a business experiencing growth. Each must be continually monitored to vet for risks and take the appropriate security measures.
Use a Risk Assessment to Create a Security Plan
You can’t buckle your seat belt or install an airbag after you have a crash, and you can’t secure your network after an attack. Instead, the best and only practice you should follow is to incorporate security in your business plan and then budget accordingly.
Start with a security assessment. It’s a critical first step that identifies your needs and vulnerabilities and ensures a secure operating environment. Security is vital for your business, and the assessment should be conducted by a qualified, experienced expert.
Don’t Trust Just Any IT Provider With Your Network Security
Look for Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). VersaTrust has a CISSP on staff, who went through extensive training and testing to prove an in-depth understanding of cybersecurity strategy and an ability to design and implement solutions that improve the security posture of an organization.
Reach out to us with a call (817) 595-0111 or email to get started with your assessment today.