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Is a Cyber Security Consulting Firm Worth It? Blog Feature
Courtney Casey

By: Courtney Casey on February 17th, 2020

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Is a Cyber Security Consulting Firm Worth It?

Cyber Security

Online threats are a serious concern for every business. New cyber security risks are constantly emerging, and the cost of failing to protect information is high. IT departments do their best to keep their systems secure, but the average IT group doesn't have enough time or the specialized skills needed to deal adequately with online risks. The services of a cyber security firm, often called a managed security services provider (MSSP), will provide greater protection.

As you contemplate whether or not you should outsource IT cyber security services and consulting, think about how your IT team allocates their workload. For many IT teams, security isn't their number one concern and the management of security concerns slips in the face of immediate demands. Users need help with their systems, and deadlines push other considerations out of the way.

Here are some factors to contemplate as you evaluate your need to bring in expert cyber security consulting and services.

The Cost of Security Breaches

Managers don't always think about the consequences of a security failure before it happens. Even minor incidents can lead to downtime and lost productivity. The worst case is a data breach, the loss of confidential records to data thieves.

A data breach often means a legal obligation to notify the affected parties. This is a time-consuming task and hurts the business's reputation. It requires tightening security and fixing the source of the problem. There may be penalties under government regulations and contractual obligations.

The average cost of a data breach in 2019 was $3.9 million, based on information from IBM and the Ponemon Institute. That's the worldwide figure. In the United States, the average was $8.19 million, or $242 per breached record. The cost varies by industry, with healthcare having the most expensive average breach.

The good news is that businesses with strong security measures not only have fewer breaches but have less costly ones. The more quickly a breach is detected, the less expensive it is. It's sadly common for breaches to remain undetected for months while they siphon out data.

Scams and Other Dangers

An organization with weak security faces many kinds of risks. All of them threaten to hurt productivity, increase costs, and damage trust in the organization. These are just a few of the scenarios:

  • Phishing email tricks people into doing dangerous things. The victims may give out confidential information, such as passwords. They may follow links to dangerous Web pages. The messages could have attachments that run malicious scripts when opened.

  • Using weak passwords or using the same password everywhere makes it easier to guess them. A criminal who gets into an account can steal information, alter files, and impersonate an employee.

  • The excessive use of privileged accounts opens up multiple targets. If regular users all have administrative privileges and any of those accounts is breached, the intruder may be able to access databases directly, create or alter accounts, and do other serious damage.

  • Vulnerabilities in software, if they aren't patched, open up direct attack paths. Exploits could lead to loss of confidential information, malware infections, and vandalism of websites.

  • Advanced persistent threats (APTs) are a kind of malware that can lurk on systems for a long time, sending information to an unauthorized server for weeks or months without being noticed. The cost by the time they're discovered can be huge.

Related: Get on-demand access to our executive webinar - "Executives: Beware of these 7 Cyber Security Blind Spots"

How Professional Security Services Help

The threat landscape is constantly changing. Cyber security is an arms race. It's difficult for an IT department to keep up while doing all its other work. A specialized cyber security services firm keeps track of emerging threats and the best defenses against them. It addresses issues which an already stressed IT crew might overlook.

There are two main aspects to cyber security:

1. Prevention

A security service provides in-depth defenses against threats of all types. It stops most attacks from reaching their targets. If some get through, it keeps them from doing any harm.

2. Mitigation

There is, unfortunately, no such thing as perfect prevention. When attacks get through, monitoring services detect them quickly. This allows quick removal of the threat. The damage is less, and any necessary remedial actions can start promptly.

Both prevention and mitigation are necessary for a complete security strategy.

Cyber Security Services and Managed IT Services

A cyber security service may be part of a managed IT service or be offered by itself. The typical MSP cover all aspects of IT management including security. Not everyone needs this type of service. Some businesses prefer to outsource most of their IT operations, while others can manage their own systems.

What's important to remember is that cyber security requires specialists and that security sometimes appears to be in conflict with IT management.  Additionally, not every business is in a position to retain security experts as full-time employees. Even an organization that can handle all its network management and user support in-house should consider outsourcing to cyber security consulting firms with high expertise.

Types of Cyber Security Services

There are many aspects to security management. What you need from cyber security firms depends on the size of your organization, your budget, and the level of protection that you need. You can keep the more routine parts in-house while relying on experts for the more complex parts. These are some of the services you can get with managed security:

  • A security assessment. Getting an outside perspective on your security status is valuable in itself.

  • Security awareness training. Human error is a factor in many incidents, and well-trained users make fewer mistakes.

  • Spam blocking. If phishing messages don't reach the users, they can't mistakenly trust them.

  • Authentication management. Maintaining standards for strong passwords protects accounts. Multi-factor authentication will provide stronger protection where it's needed.

  • Vulnerability scanning. Identifying software with known vulnerabilities allows quick fixes that can close off major risks.

  • Patch management. Keeping software up to date likewise eliminates sources of risk.

  • Anti-malware software. Every system needs protection against worms, viruses, and other attempts at infection.

  • Firewall management. A well-configured firewall keeps out unwanted traffic, stopping it before it can find vulnerabilities to exploit.

To find out more about the cyber security services we provide, contact us today. We offer a free security assessment to give you an objective view of where you are now with security and recommendations for how to improve the way you manage cyber threats.

 

About Courtney Casey

In an industry dominated by men, Courtney Casey, Director of Marketing for Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., is making her mark on the world of information technology. Courtney has been immersed in the IT field most of her life and has been molded into the tech savvy expert she is today. She began working for Accent while earning her Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach. Known in the Inland Empire as the "Tech Girl," Courtney is a regular columnist for the region's newspaper of record, The Press-Enterprise. Her columns address topical news trends, new technology products, and offer advice on how to embrace technology or avoid common IT pitfalls.