Your Digital Bodyguards: Essential Cybersecurity by IT Service Providers

Digital Bodyguard

In the digital age, hackers are the new pirates, and your business is the treasure!

If you think your business isn’t important enough to be targeted, think again. Cybercriminals love small to medium sized businesses because they often lack the robust defenses and counter measures of larger corporations. And believe us, they can do just as much damage with a small businesses’ data, as a large ones.

So, how serious is the threat of cyber crime and what can you actually do to protect yourself against these digital marauders?

Understanding the Cyber Threat Landscape

The Modern-Day Threats

Today’s cyber threats are more sophisticated than ever. From phishing emails that look like they’re from your bank to ransomware that locks you out of your own computers, navigating the digital world today is like sailing through pirate infested waters.

Just a few weeks ago we helped a marketing agency that received what looked like a legitimate client enquiry. The hackers had gone through great lengths to look professional, creating a marketing plan, scraping assets from an existing well-known company and asking very detailed questions whilst posing for an RFP from potential agencies.

As part of this email enquiry – which went back and forth a bit through (what turned out to be a faux) qualification process – a downloadable folder was shared. Unbeknownst to our client, embedded in this folder was a key logging virus that launched itself upon opening. Our client had no idea this virus had executed itself into their system had it not been for our countermeasures. If it went undiscovered for even a day or two, the consequence would have been very serious. The scale and professionalism of the scam was so good, even our experienced IT engineers were almost fooled.

And while the data they might get hold of is valuable itself – customer information, card details, personal data etc – hackers tend to use ransomware to hold your system hostage – until a fee is paid to release you. In many cases, it’s’ bad old-fashioned blackmail.

This not only hurts you financially, but it damages your reputation and productivity whilst you deal with the problem. Not forgetting all the stress in the meantime.

What Are Your Options?

So how do you manage these evolving threats?

Well, you could try and handle the situation yourselves. There are many consumer-grade, off-the-shelf anti-virus software solutions you can install. But are they REALLY that good if they cost $100 a year? What’s your data worth?

Who’s staying on top of their updates and regular scans across your entire business network? And would you know what to do if you even locate a virus in the first place?

Another option is to employ an in-house IT manager. However, they will need a salary and projects to keep themselves busy. A lot of the time, the IT tasks required, whilst mission-critical, don’t need a full time person working on them. This can be vastly inefficient for a small business to resource for.

Unfortunately many businesses even opt to just address problems when they arise via a break-fix IT support solution. However, this is like closing the barn door AFTER the horse has bolted. For all you know, the damage could already be done. And a good IT support business worth their salt will charge you an arm and a leg to ensure you are back up and running securely again after problem resolution.

No. Increasingly, the most cost effective and realistic solution is to hire an IT services partner.

IT Services – Your Digital Bodyguards

Your Digital Kevin

Your Digital Kevin

Think of an IT service provider as your own digital Kevin Costner.

Digital Kev – let’s call him – is there to protect your business from all the nasty stuff lurking online and posing a threat to your business safety. Whether it’s setting up firewalls, managing software updates, or training your employees to recognize phishing attempts, Kevin has got your back – 24/7.

One of the best things about Digital Kev is that he tailors his work to fit your business’s unique needs. He is not a one-size-fits-all situation.

A florist and a financial consultancy have very different cybersecurity needs, and Kevin will create customized strategies for each business – dependant on the way they manage data or how they are regulated.

Let’s have a deeper look at the types of Cybersecurity measures your digital bodyguard will employ.

Cybersecurity Measures Provided By IT Services

Firewall & Antivirus Software Management

A firewall is like a moat around your business’s digital castle, and antivirus software is the drawbridge that lets in the good guys and keeps out the bad. Together, they form your first line of defense against cyber threats.

Your IT services partner will monitor and manage your firewall to block all unauthorized access and malicious software files from storming the gates – whilst at the same time allowing all reputable files and data to flow through the organisation freely. Think of them as the bouncers at the club – if your name’s not on the list, you’re not getting in.

Data Encryption Management

Data encryption is the process of converting your data into unreadable gibberish for anyone who doesn’t have the decryption key (i.e. you, your employee and clients – if relevant). It’s like speaking in code – only the people who know the code can understand what you’re saying.

Even if a hacker manages to get their hands on your encrypted data, they’ll find it useless without the key. This measure ensures that even if your data is compromised, it remains secure. A good managed IT services partner will work closely with you to identify the most sensitive files in your organisation and ensure their safety in advance of any potential mishaps.

Regular Software Updates

Regular software updates might seem like a nuisance – those “remind me later” buttons are tempting. But these updates often include critical security patches. Skipping them is like leaving your windows open in a storm.

To negate the risk of something being missed, professional IT service partners will manage all software updates for you. This removes the burden from you or your team, whilst ensuring your systems are always current. So, no more pesky reminders interrupting your work!

Secure Wi-Fi Networks

An unsecured Wi-Fi network is an open invitation for cybercriminals. Are you confident you’re doing everything possible to lock your network down? Make sure your network is strong password-protected and hidden from public view. 

A good IT services partner will help setup secure pass-phrases for all critical logins that are so difficult to hack, criminals will likely just move on rather than bother to try and crack you. And should you or an employee forget a password, your IT partner will have everything backed up and stored in a secure vault for recovery when needed.

Employee Training and Awareness

Digital Whitney Houston

“How Will I Know – If I’ve Got A Virus?”

An extra level of service – provided by all good IT services partners – is cybersecurity awareness training.

Even the best tech can’t protect against human error – so employee training is recommended. Your team needs to know how to spot phishing attempts and understand the basics of cybersecurity as and when issues arise. Remember our marketing agency client from earlier? Even though they were initially fooled, their employee knew something was phishy – and reacted in good time. This is because of the training everyone had in advance.

Regular Security Audits and Assessments

Another level of crucial value added by managed IT services partners is regular security audits.

These will likely be booked in throughout the year at regular intervals. Think of them as health check-ups for your IT systems. They help identify any potential growing vulnerabilities and ensure everything is functioning as it should be. Because, as we all know, things rarely stay the same, and your growing or evolving data needs are no difficult. A regular audit goes some way to fixing any holes along the way.

Incident Response Planning

Hope is not a strategy. And certainly not when it comes to cybersecurity.

Even though your IT services partner is there to mitigate risk – we must prepare you for every eventuality.

An incident response plan outlines the steps to take in the event of a cyberattack. Your IT services partner can help you develop this plan, ensuring you and your team know exactly what to do if the unthinkable happens.

A Final Failsafe … Backups

Lastly, as part of your ongoing cybersecurity contingency planning, your MSP will employ a regular and timely backup strategy.

Backing up your data – and storing it securely off site – is your last line of defense. If all else fails, having a recent backup can be a lifesaver. It’s like having a spare tire in your car – you hope you never need it, but you’re glad it’s there if you do.

A good IT services partner will ensure you always have a plan B, C and D in place for system recovery – and smooth process for getting you back online after the fact.


Effective cybersecurity might seem like an overwhelming challenge, but with the right IT services partner, it can be as stress-free as you want it to be.

Muddling through yourselves – if you can afford not to – really isn’t worth it. The risks posed are too serious to ignore.

So if you’re finally thinking about getting your act together – talk to at least 3 potential MSP partners today. Get a feel for their experience, expertise and existing client base. Do they already work with businesses like you? Can they provide relevant references? Do you like them as people?

Choose your Digital Kev like your business life depends on it. Because it actually does.

Don’t dilly dally.

Take action now, before it’s too late.