Welcome to the brave new world of cyber-warfare.
Gone are the days when software patches were just for nifty little feature add-ons or updates.
Today, a software update notice could mean your whole computer network is suddenly at risk. Dangers include data theft, crippling malware attacks and mischief you may not discover for months, or even years…
As with graffiti on your garage door, if you don’t pay attention and clamp down on bad behavior, your problems have likely just begun…
And, like those who hire a professional security firm to keep thieves out of the warehouse, thousands of CEOs and business owners are now waking up to the fact that it’s absolutely imperative to hire a pro when it comes to securing your data network.
Here’s why you need a professional handling this:
#1: Speed is of the essence.
“If you didn’t update to version 7.32 within seven hours, you should assume you’ve been hacked.” That’s what software maker Drupal told millions of its customers around the world last year. It’s just one example of what can happen if you don’t respond with lightning speed.
Once a security breach has been identified, hackers rush in. On “Day Zero,” cyber-crooks around the world go after at-risk targets. You’ve got to be quick to patch the gap, or else you risk a system compromise.
Unless you have the time, knowledge, experience and tool set to respond instantly, you are far better off leaving this to a professional IT firm you can trust.
#2: It’s not just the big boys they’re after.
Sure, the top news stories are about the attacks on companies like Target, Home Depot and Sony…
Yet your business is just as vulnerable, if not more so. Chances are, you simply do not have the resources that giant corporations have to manage a data disaster. The statistics bearing this out are shocking: more than 60% of small businesses close their doors following a serious data breach.
The threat is not confined to giant corporations. Small and medium businesses are being attacked every day, and, unfortunately, your business is no exception.
#3: Dealing with data breaches requires specialized knowledge, skill and experience
Here are just a few of the things a competent data guardian must be able to do to effectively protect your systems:
Review documentation and monitor forums. Sometimes your software vendor doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s critical to check online forums and other communities to see if anyone else is having issues with the new patch before jumping in with both feet.
Know when to apply a patch immediately and when to wait. Typically, somewhere around 95% of patches work hassle-free. The trick is to spot the 5% that don’t — before installing them. This requires identifying unique patching requirements, and applying exceptions accordingly. For instance:
Does the patch deal only with a security issue?
Or does it just add new features or fix non-security-related bugs? Obviously, security issues get top priority.
Is the system currently having issues?
If not, and if the patch doesn’t address a security issue your system is vulnerable to, it may be better to heed the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
What security gaps does it address? How severe is the threat to your particular network? If, for example, the only way a virus can enter your system is through an e-mail attachment and this functionality has been disabled for all users, perhaps the threat needn’t be a great concern.
Keep options open in case of complications. Once a patch has been applied, if things aren’t working, it’s critical to restore the data network to pre-patch functionality, with little if any downtime. That means having good backups in place along with a tested and proven recovery process.
Does just thinking about data security give you a headache? We strongly advise that you let us handle this critical part of your business for you.