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Can your company afford the cost of a data breach? Why it’s time to reexamine your cybersecurity strategy

By AT&T Business

Your midsize business would never turn down 28% in savings—but that missed opportunity could be the reality for companies that don’t have adequate cybersecurity. According to the Ponemon Institute, a research center focused on information security, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with an effective security strategy in place can reduce the financial impact of a cyberattack. Still, there’s a disconnect between this reality and the preventative measures midsize companies actually take. A report by the National Center for the Middle Market found that among companies, business strategy and cybersecurity strategy are aligned only about half of the time.

According to AT&T Business, a company is vulnerable when the capacity and complexity of its data outpaces the ability to manage it. Here are the signals to watch and the solutions to deploy when you’re ready for your security plan to scale with your business.

Three signs your company needs to ramp up cybersecurity

The insidious nature of today’s cyber threats makes precaution especially important for midsize businesses. Cybercriminals often perceive SMBs as easier targets, because they typically have less sophisticated security infrastructure than larger organizations and may not have the requisite resources to respond to a breach quickly. Below are a few signs that your organization should consider expanding its current cybersecurity capabilities:

🔍 Your IT team is spending all its bandwidth cataloging emerging threats.
If your IT team is busy manually tracking potential threats—and educating employees about how to avoid them—it will be unable to dedicate sufficient resources and time to maintaining holistic network health. A more proactive strategy that includes vulnerability scans and an up-to-date catalog of threats (OTX) will free them up to manage the company’s security.

🔍 The average employee has no idea what constitutes “risky” security behavior when they’re remote.
It’s great that your employees work on-the-go, dialing in or accessing company documents via tablets, smartphones, and laptops. But more devices invite more opportunities for security gaps. Monitoring endpoints—i.e. protecting a corporate network by focusing on remote devices—is an integral part of comprehensive cybersecurity.

🔍 Your transaction channels have expanded, creating seams where sensitive data can slip through the cracks.
Clearly mapping every element of your growing organization’s data flow is a challenge—as is maintaining a watertight security ecosystem when new connections form, old ones become stagnant, and the two merge. Fissures in network security architecture appear as a natural part of this process, increasing the risk that nefarious entities will gain ingress.

Three ways to stay ahead of the security curve

Prevention and detection are the linchpins of holistic, effective cyber risk management. AT&T Business offers an edge-to-edge approach that allows companies to intercept threats before they even begin. Below are proactive steps AT&T Business suggests midsize organizations take to protect themselves and provide that they can keep growing.

💻 Cultivate a “defense first” culture.
Defensive security best practices include monitoring endpoints, application security, and providing air-tight avenues for end-to-end data transfer. Drills are another integral part of this approach. A third-party vendor can perform security audits such as penetration tests and vulnerability scans to detect system weaknesses. These stress tests not only simulate attack scenarios to identify threats, but they can also help midsize companies outline a roadmap for effective countermeasures.

💻 Make VPNs mandatory.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)—an encryption method that allows users to receive information privately on a public network—are a particularly important element of mobile device management. These connections provide a foundation for highly secure data networking that’s scalable to your company’s evolving demands.

💻 Use a unified security management platform.
Midsize businesses must consider the entire lifecycle of the data they collect—including where it’s stored and who has access to it. A single, hosted solution (versus using multiple vendors) allows for all elements within an ecosystem to speak one common language. This also makes for more efficient communication in the event of a breach, which can translate into faster response time and improved ability to rebound.

There’s no one-and-done action to solve all your security needs. In today’s data-rich, threat-heavy landscape, you have to establish a sound framework. Once a midsize organization hits the growth tipping point and begins to support increasingly complicated data, a comprehensive approach keeps the focus on effective scaling instead of constant course-correcting. With this in mind, AT&T cybersecurity consultants don’t just find problems; they define comprehensive solutions, so mid-market businesses can flourish. With the right tools and expertise, a midsize business can change the conversation from reactive to proactive, and focus on their growth plan.

To learn how to upgrade your cybersecurity, visit AT&T Business online today.

This article was produced on behalf of AT&T Business by Quartz Creative and not by the Quartz editorial staff. Sources are provided for informational and reference purposes only. They are not an endorsement of AT&T Business or its products.

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