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Getting comfortable with IT security

Business owners should never hesitate to ask managed IT support providers about the security measures they plan to put in place.

Business owners should never hesitate to ask managed IT support providers about the security measures they plan to put in place.

Small and midsize businesses must take a proactive approach to IT security solutions. Being passive and waiting until something goes wrong puts these organizations at unnecessary risk.

A recent article for NetworkWorld explores the rise of cyber crime and the fact that many SMBs don't realize that their networks have been breached for weeks, month or even years after the fact.

Shawn Henry, a former executive assistant director for the FBI, spoke to the news source about the state of cybercrime today. The reality is that more and more tools are becoming available to unscrupulous individuals who target any company they can steal money or sensitive information from. He even mentions groups popping up and offering "hacking as a service."

But, theft is not the only thing to be cognizant of. Hackers altering data contained in a business' network could cause untold amounts of damage.

"Take financial institutions," Mike Gault, CEO of Guardtime, told NetworkWorld. "They are bound to numerous data integrity requirements, so it is critical for these firms to have a secure audit trail around all aspects of their financial transaction histories; an audit trail that will stand the test of time, stand up in a court of law, hold up against regulatory scrutiny; an audit trail that cannot be manipulated by insiders, even when they maintain trusted access to core financial systems."

For SMBs that do not have the resources to build and maintain robust IT security solutions, local IT support firms are often tapped for assistance. But, it is important to know what you are getting from any partner you are going to trust with data security.

A provider should be able to give you a detailed blueprint of the security measures they will employ to protect your network and systems. They should also be able to provide action response plans in the event of a breach and a timetable for its implementation. SMBs should never hesitate to ask questions until they are comfortable with the strategy used to protect their IT assets.