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Security Advantages of Outsourcing IT Services




From remote access and collaboration tools to cloud computing and automated workflows, today’s IT systems are an immense boon to modern businesses. However, with every opportunity comes risk, and the increasing reliance on interconnected systems demands an increased vigilance against those seeking to penetrate and exploit them.


When it comes to managing your businesses’ IT demands, outsourcing may seem like it introduces more risk since you’re providing access to an outside agency. However, partnering with a reputable and established managed IT services provider is one of the best things you can do to keep your digital operations secure.


In this article, we’ll dive into the major IT security threats faced by businesses and how a managed IT services provider helps you fight against them.

Learn more about why Brisbane businesses need managed IT services, including how they improve efficiency and help you save money.


Common IT Security Threats & How They Work


Malware and Ransomware


Malware (short for ‘malicious software’) is software that’s designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorised access to your computer system. Ransomware is a particularly nasty type of malware that encrypts your files and demands money from you to restore access.


One of the most notorious ransomware attacks occurred in May 2017 with the WannaCry cryptoworm. This attack infected over 200,000 computers around the world, demanding a ransom of $300 to $600 USD to recover the encrypted information.


Phishing


Phishing attacks are something most people unfortunately come across in their lives at one point or another. Essentially, these attacks involve mimicking a trusted entity to try and solicit sensitive information like passwords or credit card numbers. In the business world, this commonly takes the form of an attacker impersonating someone’s email address and contacting other employees asking for information.


Phishing scams don’t need to be very sophisticated to get results, and even the biggest companies can fall victim to them due to human error in failing to recognise them. For example, between 2013 and 2015, a phisher was able to scam Google and Facebook out of $100 million USD in invoices by impersonating a vendor both companies used.


Insider Threats


Insider threats refer to when your IT security is compromised by someone inside or affiliated with your organisation. This could be anyone who has some level of access, from a disgruntled former employee to a business associate or ex-client. According to Proofpoint’s 2022 Cost Of Insider Threats Report, insider threats cost organisations more than $15 million USD per year in remediation.


Just like phishing attacks, insider threats can impact any organisation, big or small. As recently as August last year, Microsoft employees accidentally exposed login credentials that could have given attackers access to the company’s Azure servers and other internal systems. Luckily, the leak was caught before any damage could be done.


How Outsourcing to Managed IT Services Protects Against These Threats





Implementing The Essential Eight Maturity Model

Developed by the Australians Signals Directorate (ASD), the ‘Essential Eight’ is a cybersecurity mitigation strategy designed to protect an organisation’s IT network.

Here’s a brief overview of the mitigation strategies that make up the Essential Eight:

1. Application Control:

· Allows only approved applications to run on a system, stopping malicious or unapproved software from being executed, even accidentally. For example, if an employee downloads software without seeking approval, they won’t be able to run the program.

2. Patch Applications:

· Update software regularly to fix vulnerabilities, denying attackers a common entry point. While updating software can seem straightforward in most cases, it is easy for employees to neglect without a strategy in place to ensure it’s always done and there are no vulnerabilities.

3. Configure Microsoft Office Macro Settings:

· Restricts or disables the use of Microsoft Office macros from untrusted sources, preventing malware delivery through them. Since Microsoft Office applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint are ubiquitous across many organisations, this strategy becomes a cornerstone of cybersecurity.

4. User Application Hardening:

· Configures applications to block potentially harmful content, reducing risk from threats like untrusted macros or web content. For example, disabling browser plugins like Flash and Java that can automatically execute malicious content when visiting a website.

5. Restrict Administrative Privileges:

· Limits elevated system access to necessary users only, reducing the risk of extensive system compromise. This is a critical step in mitigating insider threats.

6. Patch Operating Systems:

· Keeps the OS updated to fix vulnerabilities, decreasing the risk of outdated system flaws.

7. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA):

· Requires multiple forms of identification before an employee can access a system, enhancing security by not relying on passwords alone. This means that even if a password is compromised, an attacker won’t be able to access your systems.

8. Regular Backups:

· Securely and frequently backs up data, ensuring data restoration in case of attacks or failures. This can involve maintaining copies of data in different cloud locations and physical external drives. This means that you’ll have a backup in case of a ransomware attack or if your data is deleted or corrupted.


These mitigation strategies are all designed to complement one another and need to be implemented in a meticulous way to ensure maximum coverage. Due to its complexity, partnering with a managed IT services provider that understands the Essential Eight is key to ensuring a smooth implementation.


At Levit8, we specialise in helping organisations like yours identify the maturity level suitable for your technology mix and progressively implement each stage until the final target is achieved.



Proactive Threat Detection and Intervention




No matter how many layers of protection you have, the best defence is often being able to identify threats and vulnerabilities as they appear before they have a chance to spiral out of control.


In this regard, managed IT services can play an instrumental role with:


Continuous Monitoring – Using cutting-edge tools, your managed services provider can vigilantly monitor your IT network and infrastructure 24/7. With their expertise in cybersecurity, their team can set up real-time alerts so they’re notified of a threat and able to act immediately.


Levit8 uses industry-leading tools like CrowdStrike and WatchGuard to provide total cyber coverage to our clients, giving them peace of mind we will detect and respond to any threat.


Regular System Sweeps – Your managed service provider will regularly scan your network to identify dormant threats or vulnerabilities.

Behaviour Analytics – By getting an understanding of how your business typically operates, the managed service provider will be able to notice when something unusual occurs. For example, if an employee suddenly starts to access large amounts of data outside of their normal activities, this can be flagged as a potential threat.

Incident Response Plans – If a breach or attack does take place, your managed service provider will have a well-defined and rehearsed response plan in place to respond to and mitigate any damage.


Employee Education and Training


Deloitte’s Future of Cyber 2023 report identified that a whopping 95% of cyber incidents result in some way from human error. While mitigation strategies and surveillance from experts are two key pieces of the cybersecurity puzzle, it’s also essential that your organisation acknowledges the need to train your staff on best practices.


A managed IT services provider that provides truly comprehensive protection for your business will also be able to help educate your staff on things like:

· Recognising Phishing Attempts– How to spot suspicious emails and links.

· Password Hygiene – Generating strong passwords and not reusing passwords.

· Safe Web Browsing – Avoiding dodgy websites and downloading files from unverified sources.

· Handling Sensitive Data – Managing, storing, and disposing of sensitive information.

· Using Personal Devices – The risks of using personal devices to access work systems.

· Incident Reporting – Who to contact and what to say when there’s a threat.

As part of our comprehensive service, Levit8 provides the Cyber Safe Learning Management System to all our managed IT clients. The system contains various training modules to get your team up to speed on best practices in cyber security.




Keep Your Data and Systems Secure with Levit8

Cyber threats are an unfortunate reality of modern business, but most of them are completely avoidable when you take a proactive approach. Partnering with a managed IT service provider like Levit8 ensures that every base is covered, allowing you the peace of mind to focus on what you do best rather than having anxiety about your IT security.


With a team of seasoned IT professionals offering 24/7 remote and on-site support, you can rest assured that Levit8 has your back.


Learn more about our Managed IT services in Brisbane and our specific Cyber Security solutions. When you’re ready to reach out, call us on 1800 538 488 or enquire via our contact centre to chat about your IT security requirements


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