In the midst of a pandemic, companies have had to move swiftly to online work environments to stay in business. While the internet has made this move possible, it has also increased the exposure of businesses to cybersecurity threats.
From seasoned hackers to copy-paste compromises, as well as phishing-based threats, many companies have been left vulnerable as they try to keep up with ever-evolving security challenges. In response, many companies have outsourced security to deal with threats in a timelier manner and to contain costs.
Traditionally, online threats come in two broad categories: phishing and hacking. Phishing is a cyber-threat that relies on human interaction. Instead of using software to break into a company’s network, phishing seeks to bypass electronic security by tricking employees into giving vital information to access a network through otherwise legitimate means.
Phishing commonly comes in the form of an email sent to employees, to which the perpetrator masquerades as a trusted company source and attempts to get information, such as passwords, from employees. Phishing can also occur by telephone, as scammers seek to impersonate someone from the company’s IT department, for instance.
Hacking, by contrast, is the use of software designed to break into company networks and computers. While the threat of phishing can be reduced through employee education, hacking defense requires professional expertise and regular work to keep security patches and relevant defenses up to date.
Copy-paste compromises are a particular form of hacking. Named because they use pieces of freely available hacking code that can be copied and pasted to rapidly build hacking software, this type of hacking tool takes advantage of known security vulnerabilities. Companies are at greatest risk for this type of attack when they do not have the dedicated IT resources to keep software updates current and address known security issues.
Security outsourcing trends
A recent Microsoft report on cybersecurity reveals that companies have, on average, increased spending and staffing for security and IT teams to meet the increased dangers of cybercrime during the pandemic. At the same time, companies are dealing with the reality of being under pressure to reduce costs.
Ironically, while 82% of companies surveyed said they planned to add security staff, 81% of companies were also feeling pressured to lower overall security costs. One way companies are seeking to address these disparate demands is to outsource IT security altogether.
This has been made more feasible as cloud computing solutions have matured. In fact, 40% of those surveyed say they are prioritizing cloud security. Such solutions offer a standardized, more secure environment as security is more uniformly and swiftly implemented.
However, technology alone isn’t enough to fully protect companies. There is still a need for security professionals to monitor and address issues. This blend of technology and human monitoring is also especially important for identifying phishing attacks. As Microsoft noted, 54% of security leaders reported an increase in phishing attacks since the beginning of the pandemic.
The future of cybersecurity
Cloud computing is driving what security experts refer to as cyber resilience. As companies rely more and more on their networks, it is no longer enough to try and stop cyber-attacks. Plans need to be in place for recovery once an attack has occurred.
According to iastl.com, the importance of network security is increasing with ever-evolving security challenges. “According to research, manufacturers paid $36.9 million in premiums for cyber-specific policies in 2016, but only around a third of businesses have basic prevention measures in place.”
Having the right insurance in place is vital, but being able to respond to an attack and implement contingency plans also requires highly trained professionals as well as enough of them to get the task done as quickly as possible. Those professionals do not come cheaply.
This is one of the main drivers for outsourcing IT and security solutions. Not only can business meet its daily, usual IT demands, but it also has access to a deeper reserve of professionals when a situation suddenly demands them. More importantly, it is not getting fresh hires that would be of limited use in the midst of a crisis but instead seasoned technical personnel who can rise to the task at hand and restore a company to good working order swiftly. Better yet, with detailed monitoring, a dedicated IT and security company will greatly reduce the number of intrusions and threats that get into a company’s system in the first place.
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