According to the most recent UK government Cyber Security Breaches Survey (March 2020), 46% of businesses surveyed reported experiencing cybersecurity breaches or attacks within the previous 12 months.
In line with the experiences of many businesses in the UK, the survey highlights that cybersecurity breaches do not necessarily happen on an irregular or ‘one-off’ basis. Of the businesses that identified breaches or attacks, 32% reported experiencing security issues at least once a week in 2020 – an increase from 22% in 2017.
Covid-19 & cyber security
Although the economic impact of Covid-19 has reduced employment opportunities in many areas, one area of rising employment is found in the field of cybersecurity, with businesses hiring various IT specialists, including information security analysts, network engineers and application security engineers.
In order to protect against the constant risk of a security breach or attack that could significantly undermine or permanently damage a business, the management or monitoring of IT security and network support is a full-time job for many businesses, even those who consider themselves ‘smaller’ enterprises.
For those businesses who don’t have the resource to hire a full-time team of cybersecurity specialists, outsourcing their IT and cybersecurity solution remains the only option for accessing the resources of a team of expert IT consultants.
Following the rise of increased Covid-19 related security breaches as UK businesses accommodate remote working for employees, the case for strengthening IT security and remote working protocols has never been stronger.
What are managed IT services?
By working with an experienced IT outsourcing provider, businesses can utilise the specialism of the IT consultant/s they work with to tap into a wide range of IT solutions. After a comprehensive IT and/or security audit, a business can typically expect a tailored solution that covers some or all of the following;
• Proactive IT support including network, desktop, PC and cloud support, hosted email, email security, and an IT helpdesk facility.
• A managed security software solution incorporating certified third-party vendors or bespoke in-house solutions with remote monitoring & maintenance.
• A managed disaster recovery solution with an IT contingency plan centred around fast and efficient data backup and recovery to help minimise disruption following an IT disaster or cybercrime attack.
• IT system upgrades and new system implementation, including cloud services/cloud migration to ensure that business hardware, software and cloud-based infrastructure effectively meet the demands of the business.
• Staff systems training, including cyber and IT security training.
• The outsourced solution is delivered as part of a managed service model, with monthly services at a price the business can afford.
How do I know my business has the right IT outsourcing partner?
When assessing the outsourcing of IT security operations to an external specialist, or reviewing existing outsource provision, there are a few things to consider:
Does the provider offer proactive IT support across the entire IT infrastructure, or do they work on a remote reactive basis for disaster recovery only?
Do they have the relevant vendor partnerships, certifications and accreditations in place to support your business IT solution needs?
Do they have an appropriate IT solution that meets critical business needs at a monthly or annual price the business can afford?
If considering a new outsourced IT provider, it is worth evaluating how they take the time to fully understand the IT operations of your business. Do they offer a cybersecurity audit, for example, in addition to an analysis of your existing IT infrastructure and systems?
According to the UK Cyber Security Breaches Survey, in the last five years, there has been greater board-level engagement in cybersecurity; 80% of businesses report that cybersecurity is a ‘high priority’ for their senior management boards (an increase from 69% in 2016), and half of businesses (51%) report that they update their senior management on cybersecurity-related issues at least quarterly.
Many outsource providers take on a board-level role with the client business, advising how IT can help them achieve business goals, and focusing on IT development within the business. Is this level of input and expertise something your business could benefit from?
Many of the businesses who reported to the UK Cyber Security Breaches Survey identified that board-level engagement improved over time. Increased benefits of board-level engagement in terms of identifying and managing risks included more businesses seeking out information and guidance; carrying out cybersecurity risk assessments; having staff whose job role includes information security and governance; having written cybersecurity policies and more businesses backing up their data on cloud servers.
Something else to consider is how an outsourced IT partner can help with board-level and employee-wide engagement in relation to the technical controls and governance processes introduced following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Ultimately, IT security and protection from cybercrime is a priority for all businesses seeking to strengthen their defences from unforeseen cyber breaches and attacks. Finding an expert outsource partner is part of that process for many businesses seeking to both protect and enhance their business IT infrastructure.
CARA Technology is a unique team of IT specialists. We are a Microsoft Certified Partner, WatchGuard Professional Partner, Hewlett Packard (HP) Preferred Partner, Netgear Powershift Partner and Dell Preferred Partner. We are based in Macclesfield, Cheshire, and support businesses throughout the North West region. We also operate referral partnerships, including accountancy/bookkeeping, business consultants/coaches, managed print suppliers and telephony providers.