As data protection regulations proliferate and technology systems become more and more indispensable for day-to-day operations, security is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the job description for enterprise IT teams.
A comprehensive approach to security is vital for any organization, but even more so for any company that handles sensitive customer data.
In this article, we provide an overview of the security coverage IT needs to provide—and the potential advantages of working with an IT service provider.
The Imperative for a Comprehensive Security Strategy
Quality management of enterprise technology security is inherently exhaustive: any weak link in the security environment risks introducing a vulnerability that can negate even the most expansive investments in advanced security tooling.
Every operating system, every device type, and every physical location need to be exhaustively secured.
Developing a robust system-wide security strategy isn’t just about mitigating risk but enabling productivity-enhancing capabilities like mobile/remote work without sacrificing data protection.
Enabling Productivity: Mobility and Remote Work
Mobile and remote access are allowing organizations to enhance quality of life for employees, improve productivity, and bring in the best talent without geographic restrictions. The scale of these implementations can range from a secure mobile app to a full-fledged VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) strategy, but the underpinning security objective remains the same: opening up access for employees without opening up vulnerabilities for attackers.
For companies handling sensitive data, these innovations come with greatly expanded security concerns.
Employee-owned mobile devices are a great example of the need for a security strategy that threads the needle between well-protected data and a manageable technology environment. A BYOD approach, for instance, is convenient for employees and eliminates the need to manage a company-owned device for every employee. But these devices represent a huge security risk if not properly secured. The right Mobile Device Management (MDM) strategy can lock down sensitive assets by, for instance, partitioning company-controlled, sensitive data from user-controlled information and wiping it clean if the device is lost or fails to check in with the company network at a pre-determined interval. Even routine controls, like limiting cut/paste between company and user-controlled apps, can help prevent careless user errors.
The capability to secure a mobile device’s data without taking total control of the device is representative of a broader trend in cybersecurity: organizations are beginning to think about not just how to secure devices and infrastructure, but specific sensitive data.
Securing the Data: Beyond Infrastructure
The ability to secure specific data can offer some useful flexibility. For instance, we recently published a blog on the value of IBM i’s Row Column Access Control: field-level security allows IT to lock down sensitive data without totally re-working permissions across often complexly interconnected systems.
Software suites like Office365 offer powerful options for bringing similarly granular access control to a broad array of systems and data types. For instance, sensitive documents or spreadsheets can be restricted to particular users without needing to exhaustively manage permissions for every file.
Conditional Access Policies can be implemented to limit data access to Mobile Device Managed (MDM) devices or Mobile Application Managed (MAM) applications, ensuring the ability to wipe the data from these devices if they are lost or stolen. The ability to restrict copying, saving, printing, or forwarding sensitive data is another example of the many ways Conditional Access Policies can protect corporate\sensitive data.
Training and Testing
Human error will always be the greatest vulnerability for any security setup. Even simple mistakes—like using a phone to take a photo of a secure workstation’s screen—can slice through advanced security practices and put data at risk.
This fact renders regular training in security best-practices a vital component of any security strategy. Regular employee testing can be a useful tool for ensuring that best practices are being taught successfully (with employees who fail to certify required to retrain). Making sure employees “think thrice” before clicking email links and to be suspicious by default is one sample end objective.
Of course, training/testing represents yet another security workflow for IT to manage. Without careful planning and adequate resourcing, training is the sort of valuable best practice that become easy to neglect.
Securing the Enterprise: Careful Planning, Timely Updates, and Meticulous System Management
Often, handling the administrative workflows demanded by these many different aspects of modern security management present a serious business problem. What’s more, these workflows are not only burdensome for IT professionals but incredibly time-sensitive in the security context: a single out-of-date OS or security tool can compromise security for the entire organization.
From updates, to training new employees, to ensuring that user access tweaks don’t threaten time-sensitive workflows, the administrative demands of an enterprise-grade security strategy can be expansive.
This need for highly detailed planning, execution, and monitoring across the organization is precisely why the right IT service provider can be so helpful in ensuring that everything from training to MAM (Mobile Application Management) is carefully managed according to well-defined best practices.
Key Strategic Advantages of MSP-Managed Security
Robust security is more important than ever, and the workflows required to maintain it are more complex than ever. Leveraging the right service provider to manage security offers strategic advantages for many different organizations.
- Security Knowledge Base: managing security across an enterprise-scale technology environment requires a specialized skillset which can be beyond the typical scope of knowledge of IT generalists. For organizations that can’t cost-effectively hire full-time security specialists, the knowledge offered by an experienced service provider is an essential alternative resource.
- Facilitate Operational Enhancements: security concerns can prevent organizations from moving to productivity enhancements that may introduce new threat vectors, like secure mobile apps and virtual/remote workstations. The right IT service provider understands how to scale up these tools without sacrificing security or introducing a quagmire for admins.
- Free Up Valuable Internal Resources: From managing updates to refreshing disaster recovery plans, security workflows can place substantial demands on internal IT resources. By taking on security-management work, IT service providers free up IT professionals to focus on the areas where they can provide the most value.
PSGi takes the same approach to client systems that we take with our own: any device that touches the PSGi network is secured. We have the full-time security team needed to ensure that rigorous best practices are supported, that all client projects are fully secure, and that the latest developments in this fast-changing field are being tracked and incorporated into ongoing work.
If you are interested in a more detailed discussion of instituting better defense for your technology environment, you can get in touch with the PSGi team using the button below.