Why Is Network Security Important?
When managed service providers (MSPs) begin working with a new client, sometimes they’ll get a question whose answer seems obvious: Why is network security important? Though the answer for IT professionals is all too clear, it’s important to explain the topic to decision-makers, laying out both the costs and benefits of network security.
Often, network security isn’t at the forefront of key stakeholders' minds. But a short primer can help them realize the tremendous risks that accompany network security, as well as the tremendous benefits they stand to gain from investing in a layered security solution.
Breaching the Network
A data breach can mean many things to MSPs. But, most broadly, it involves an activity that puts at risk an individual’s name along with sensitive information, such as financial records or healthcare records.
Breaches happen for a number of reasons. The obvious — and often high-profile — culprit is a malicious attack. These attacks can come from viruses, spyware, zero-hour attacks and network infiltrations that lead to the theft of data. Breaches aren’t the only threat from outsiders. Outside attacks can threaten the usability and reliability of a network and cause disruptions to business.
In addition to outsider attacks, data breaches can begin with negligent employees. In fact, in a recent report by the Ponemon Institute, organizations noted that employee and user negligence was the top cause of data breaches.
Take a recent breach from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, for instance. The FDIC, which insures bank deposits, recently reported five “major incidents” of data breaches in which employees were to blame. In each instance, an employee inadvertently downloaded system data — including taxpayers’ personally identifiable information — before leaving the agency. The breaches were large enough to generate national headlines, not to mention a smattering of bad publicity.
These kinds of breaches happen across the globe. And with some 2,200 data breaches across the globe in 2015, they have proven that they can touch any player in any industry, no matter their size. No one organization is immune.
Still, a client may question the importance of network security. What are the costs of weak security?
An Enormous Price Tag
The cost of data breaches is staggering: $4 million per breach, on average.
What accounts for that whopping price tag? You can begin with lost business. Businesses, government agencies and others often must disclose if personally identifiable information has been the subject of a data breach. In almost every U.S. state, a breach of your data, by law, must be made public.
And that can do huge damage to a business, as customers lose their trust in the organization. This trust is especially important in the healthcare and financial sectors. On average, these two industries face a higher loss of business after data breaches, given the sensitivity of their data.
Data breaches can also come with legal fines. In healthcare and finance, as in other regulated industries, government fines can pile up – on top of lost business and customers.
When it comes to costs, there’s always more. Organizations may need to hire experts to investigate the cause of a data breach. Then there’s the work ahead perform network repairs. And among the highest-profile breaches, organizations have worked to repair consumer trust by offering (and paying for) credit-monitoring services, among other costly responses.
The Largest Price Tags
While data breaches now cost $4 million on average, that figure can be far higher in some industries. Retail giant Target reported that its 2014 breach cost the company $148 million. Sony, too, faced astonishing costs from an attack on its PlayStation Network. The 2011 hack ultimately cost the company more than $250 million, executives estimated.
And though breaches affect every industry, some organizations are disproportionately affected. The credit bureau Experian estimates that healthcare will remain a highly targeted sector, for instance. That’s because healthcare data commands a higher price on the black market.
In fact, the Ponemon Institute estimates that the healthcare industry faces a cost of $355 per lost or stolen record. In comparison, other industries face an average cost $158 per record.
The figures above build a compelling case for investing in network security. But there’s also an argument to made for the bright side of security.
Saving Time and Increasing Productivity
Network security offers a huge boost to employee productivity. By protecting critical applications from disruption, network security ensures that employees can stay on task without facing server outages, email downtime or data loss.
Likewise, strong email security saves employees from dealing with spam. And for those employees who aren’t tech savvy, email security offers an important layer of protection, so they won’t have to wonder whether an email is a spoof or laden with viruses. That’s time saved. And it’s time that can be spent on more important tasks.
Network security has grown paramount, too, with the explosion of employees working remotely. A Gallup poll in 2015 found that, on average, U.S. workers telecommute about two days each month. About 37 percent of U.S. workers reported that they had telecommuted at least once for work, unlike in 1995, when that figure was only 9 percent.
As an MSP, odds are, you're working remotely, too. Layered security ensures that organizations can offer seamless remote access — without disruptions that can kill productivity.
Of course, the benefits of security extend beyond the workplace. Strong network security can also boost the public’s trust in an organization and lead to new business.
As mentioned, an organization that has been hacked, and whose data has been breached, may lose its customers’ trust. That can be a business killer. But when an organization demonstrates robust security, the public is often more willing to offer its trust, knowing that that personal information will not be breached.
The same goes for business partners and other collaborators. As an MSP, you might offer services to a business with a complex supply chain. Within that chain, business partners must trust that their sales forecasts and confidential information will not leak out.
A breach of data can cause a breach of trust — and an end to a lucrative partnership. But robust network security offers peace of mind, which in turn can offer a valuable ROI.
The Demands on MSPs
Managed service providers face a daunting series of demands. They must guarantee network stability and security. They must also make sure that networks are agile enough to be managed remotely, while rich enough in features to please an organization.
Legal requirements make this tougher. IT professionals must work with clients to comply with regulatory requirements for data, across a variety of industries. Add to this employees’ non-compliance with security policies, as well as the management of countless third-party products and vendors.
Oh, and then there’s the issue of making money. MSPs must remain efficient in order to be profitable.
It’s a tough act to balance. And it’s one with which SolarWinds MSP (formerly LOGICnow) helps IT professionals on a daily basis.
A Comprehensive Layered Security Platform
SolarWinds MSP is the industry for MSP network security solutions. The reason is simple: we offer a comprehensive platform with proactive, detective and reactive network security, all of which operate with unmatched ease and efficiency.
Our layered security begins with prevention. SolarWinds MSP allows you to proactively:
- Offer web protection, preventing users from visiting harmful sites.
- Manage patches for more than 40 Microsoft applications and more than 80 families of third-party applications. This allows you to close known security exploits.
- Stop incoming email threats, including ransomware, malware, spam, and phishing.
The best security begins with prevention. Yet threats can still emerge.
The next step in our layered security involves threat detection. We have your back. Our detection security:
- Provides industry-leading antivirus coverage and malware protection.
- Checks for failed logins, preventing brute-force attacks among hackers.
- Discovers active devices, allowing you to catch rogue devices before they become an issue.
Proactive and detective security do much of the heavy lifting. But savvy IT professionals know that a layered security strategy involves an agile, swift reaction to successful threats.
Responding to Attacks
IT professionals must be well prepared for successful threats to their networks. This, too, explains why SolarWinds MSP is a favorite for MSPs.
With our platform, you can ensure that your clients rebound quickly from an attack. We offer:
- Speedy recoveries — Our MSP Backup & Recovery restores systems within minutes of a disaster.
- More backups — Our local speed vault allows you to back up at LAN speeds. This allows for more regular backups – and less data loss – while still offering the assurance of cloud-based backups.
- Business continuity — After an attack on your servers, you can recover with virtual servers, allowing you to restore continuous service.
- Offline recoveries — Is the Internet connection down? Not a problem. With SolarWinds MSP, you can run a restore with a local backup.
Why Choose Intelligence?
Countless organizations have made the discovery all too late: their network was ripe for an outsider’s exploitation.
With SolarWinds MSP, you don’t have to wait until after the fact.
With MSP Risk Intelligence, you can find your network’s vulnerabilities today. MSP Risk Intelligence works by taking a comprehensive scan of your network. From this scan, you can uncover imminent threats, including:
- Personally identifiable information that’s vulnerable on the network, including Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and credit card numbers.
- Deeply embedded security vulnerabilities, from email risks to web downloads.
- Inappropriate access permissions, which could cause an inadvertent data breach.
Rooting out the threats is one piece of the puzzle. But with MAX Risk Intelligence, you can put a dollar figure on the cost of these potential threats. And that’s a business opportunity. Few things spur executives like seeing a concrete, looming threat to their organization’s finances.
Learn from Others
Beyond deep scans of your own networks, SolarWinds MSP allows you to learn lessons from a mammoth pool of peers. We’re talking 175,000 additional networks. In each of these networks, IT professionals are grappling with their own security — say, whether a software patch has unleashed a security vulnerability.
With our LOGICcards, you can choose intelligence, and benefit from our machine-learning platform, which pools the emerging knowledge of IT professionals. They’re security insights unlike any you’ve seen before.
Undeniable Costs and Benefits
You’ll probably be asked again, “Why is network security important?” It’s an understandable question.
But it’s a question you can now answer with concrete numbers, specific to the organization you’re serving.
So give SolarWinds MSP a try, and see how you can uncover your network’s threats — and quickly add the layers of security that are crucial to your network.
About SolarWinds MSP
SolarWinds MSP delivers the only 100% SaaS, fully cloud-based IT service management (ITSM) platform, backed by collective intelligence and the highest levels of layered security. SolarWinds MSP MAX products including Risk Intelligence, Remote Management, Backup & Disaster Recovery, Mail and Service Desk – comprise the market’s most widely trusted integrated solution.
Deployed on millions of endpoints across hundreds of thousands of networks, the platform has the industry vision to define and deliver the future of the market. SolarWinds MSP provides the most comprehensive IT security available as well as LOGICcards, the first ever IT notification feature powered by prescriptive analytics and machine learning.
SolarWinds MSP's passion is helping IT professionals secure and manage their systems and data through actionable insights, rewriting the rules of IT.
For more information, visit www.solarwindsmsp.com.
IBM Security: http://www-03.ibm.com/security/data-breach/
Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/05/09/fdic-reports-five-major-incidents-of-cybersecurity-breaches-since-fall/