The professional services space is filled with important information. Lawyers, accountants, doctors, and many more professionals have access to some of the very most personal information available. However, that does not mean the space is filled with doctors and lawyers who are experts in cybersecurity and IT. For this reason, they are continuously targeted by hackers. Since October is cybersecurity awareness month, we thought we would take a look at modern cybersecurity practices to see which ones were working best for professional services firms. Let’s consider celebrating cybersecurity in professional services.
Cybersecurity in Professional Services – Costs of a Data Breach
Before we take a closer look at the professional services industry, we need to get across just how devastating a data breach can be for your business. Depending on the size of your company, it can cost you everything. Here are some interesting statistics from a study of 2018’s data breaches conducted by IBM:
- The average cost of a data breach: $3.86 million
- The average cost per lost or stolen record as a result of a data breach: $148 million
- The average cost of lost business after a data breach: $4.2 million
- The average cost of notifying individuals that their data has been compromised: $740,000
I know what you’re thinking: “These are enterprise businesses.”
No they aren’t. These are averages of all data breaches recorded in 2018.
Can your firm absorb a $4 million data leak? If not, you are like most businesses. This month we will go into how crucial network security is for the modern business; and, what practices your firm should take to keep your data and network safe in the ever-changing threat landscape.
Cybersecurity for Professional Services
Since professional services typically hold a lot of extremely sensitive data there needs to be a concerted effort to protect that information, especially in industries like healthcare and accounting where there are state and federal security regulations that need to be adhered to. Check out our industry pages like our Healthcare IT page to learn more about how we keep these companies safe. To promote enterprise network security, the professional services firm can use the following security tools and strategies:
Virtual Private Networks
With the need for constantly relayed information, having a secure pathway to send and receive data is crucial for professionals that often work remotely. The Virtual Private Network (VPN) delivers just this. It is a great solution if the only Internet connection you have access to is a public Wi-Fi connection or one that is found in any hotel or conference center. The chances of having data intercepted from these connections are a lot higher than from your home or office connection. The VPN encrypts all data packets so that intercepting data becomes virtually impossible. If you would like more information on the VPN topic, we have multiple blogs to learn from on it.
Like any other business, it is important that everyone in your professional services firm or medical practice is thoroughly trained on the latest threats they would face. Most data breaches are accomplished through phishing attacks. Knowing how to properly judge an email to spot a phishing attack and what to do (or what not to do) with these messages is extremely important nowadays. Your employees should have this information on hand at all times to look back to if they need it.
Mobile Device Management
Since the modern professional services firm and medical practice use a fair amount of mobile devices in their day-to-day business dealings, a strong mobile device management policy should be put in place. This provides network administrators the ability to control the information allowed in the network from smartphones, laptops, and tablets. With the ability to control all mobile applications and data, a mobile device management platform can work toward the ultimate goal of complete network security.
One of the best ways to understand, and address, network and host vulnerabilities is to deploy a penetration test. The penetration test goes beyond the discovery of vulnerabilities, by exploiting would-be holes in the network to ensure that your IT network and infrastructure is compromised. Once you have a good idea about what holes you have in your network, you can work diligently to fill them and build complete network security. We can conduct one of these if you think your business would benefit from it.
If your professional services firm or medical practice needs solutions to help keep your network free from threats and your business compliant with state and federal regulations, contact the IT professionals at Symmetric IT Group today at (813) 749-0895. Check out our information security page for more cybersecurity information.