Why Should Online Businesses Use Managed IT Services?
Given how easy it can be to create and publish an online business, many owners tend to underestimate their vulnerabilities in the event of a cyber attack. Frequently, many online business owners think their midsize digital shop is too small for cyber criminals to consider. Yet, threat actors view online businesses as weaker targets. In fact, cyber threats are real and a persistent threat online businesses must manage. The good news is you don’t have to face it alone when you utilize managed IT services. Why does this matter? We will explain below.
Protect your online business credibility
There are many repercussions that result from a cyber attack including damage incurred on an online company’s credibility and brand image. Over half of online businesses have experienced a cyber breach within the past year. When any of those attacks are successful, the business suffers from customer and reputation loss.
While consumers have grown comfortable shopping online, they are also increasingly concerned about cyber security. If they find a site has been attacked, they will often take their business elsewhere and never return. However, if you partner with a managed IT services vendor, you can ensure that your site is always up and running and protected from possible cyber threats.
Stay aware of cyber security threats
Invariably, you are probably already aware of the cyber attack threat. Now, it’s time to concentrate your efforts on security. One of the best tactics for prevention is with education and knowledge. It’s vital to understand common types of attacks and how they work.
In many cases, working with a managed IT provider can ensure you have a team on hand dedicated to protecting your site from a breach. There are also persistent threats like phishing, that are more easily prevented if you understand their intent and also train your staff on how to spot a phishing attempt before it’s too late.
Preserve your capital investments against cyber attacks
It can take a lot of time, money, and energy to run a successful online business. From purchasing products to marketing, there are many critical activities involved. Yet, the effects of a successful cyber attack are limited to affecting customer behavior. You may also incur unexpected expenses associated with downtime where you can no longer accept purchase as usual.
The cost of a cyber attack varies on the type and how bad it is. For example, a ransomware attack may leave your online business on the hook for however much the cyber criminals try to extort.
Prevent legal ramifications
There are an increasing number of regulations around data protection. If your online business falls victim to a cyber threat, you may also incur multiple liabilities. For example, your customers may sue your business for damages. Your staff may also sue for damages. And regulators may enforce hefty fines. It’s a lot more cost-effective to focus on preventative measures such as using managed IT services rather than dealing with the costly repercussions after the attack. If a data breach is successful, it can wreak havoc on any future business.
The most common cyber threats for online businesses
A type of malware, ransomware prevents access to your devices, network, or data. It also displays a message that extorts payment before you can access your systems. The most common way threat actors inject ransomware is through phishing campaigns, fake websites, and pop-ups. Thus, education around phishing is vital. The FBI suggests companies do not pay the ransom, but many organizations feel they don’t have enough time to wait it out and risk losing access to their systems or any further downtime.
Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack
A DDoS attack works by overwhelming your servers with traffic so that they stop working. You’ll find requests from thousands of IP addresses that have been programmed to send continuous requests to your online business. The result is it overloads your servers and may even take them offline. Thus, your customers will not have the ability to complete their purchases.
The man-in-the-middle attack listens in on your online business communications by hacking into an unsecured Wi-Fi network. It can even pretend to be a customer. If your connection between your online business and your customers isn’t encrypted, the cyber criminal may have access to the customer’s credit card numbers, username, and password.
Phishing is a common tactic where threat actors pose as a trustworthy entity with the goal of convincing their targets to open malicious attachments or click on malware-infested links. If your team members or customers fall victim to phishing, cyber criminals could access passwords, financial data, and more.
Malware can insert itself into your online business to steal essential data and customer records. Further, it can redirect your online business to untrustworthy sites or create pop-up ads with more malware.
Why should online businesses use managed IT services?
If you own an online business, it’s critical to take preventative measures to ensure your sites are protected against threats, that you are compliant with regulations, and that you can safeguard your proprietary data. You can do this by working with a managed IT services partner who will assess your current state to devise customized procedures and policies including a relevant incident response plan.
What are managed IT services?
Managed IT services include proactive 24/7 support for your systems often cloud-based so you have secure access to your applications at any time and from anywhere. Some examples include:
- Cloud-based collaboration tools
- Network monitoring
- Cyber security services
- Server maintenance
- Video conferencing
- Employee education
With managed IT services, you have access to certified experts, continuous IT services and support, and without the costs incurred by hiring and retaining a full-time in-house IT staff.
Why are managed IT services so beneficial for online businesses?
Well, there are many reasons. First, a managed IT provider can help to streamline your online processes and workflows. They also offer management, storage, cyber security, ongoing monitoring, and more. If any issues arise, they offer immediate support and resolution.
Second, they can centralize access to your systems and applications to bolster server and application stability and security. Your apps and data are typically managed remotely so they are safe even if a natural disaster occurs. In addition, a managed IT provider will provide business continuity services if any disruptions are on the horizon.
Third, you can achieve peace of mind about your online business should any problems occur when you aren’t on the clock. What if a server goes down and your IT team is also off the clock? Well, your managed IT services provider will always be on the job. In fact, there may not even be a failure since they are already monitoring your systems proactively to prevent any such occurrence from ever taking place.
Fourth, if you don’t have enough in-house IT staff, you can count on the expertise provided by your managed IT provider team. They come with specialized, diverse, and unique skill sets. They are also on top of the latest technologies and are always learning new skills to ensure your online business remains competitive. Therefore, you don’t have to spend additional funds training your in-house team. Your managed IT services provider can handle daily online operations so your in-house team can focus on core competencies and strategic work.
Fifth, there is also the issue of managing compliance. In the digital age, consumer data privacy is highly regulated. Online business owners must take the necessary steps to grow your customer base while keeping their data private. In this example, managed IT services can ensure your infrastructure is IT compliant from the start and will adhere to national and global regulations.
Concerning pricing models, managed IT services typically offer a predictable monthly billing structure where you only pay for the services you use. This pricing model is effective because you always know what to expect, there are no surprises, which helps with cash flow stability.
And a managed IT provider centralizes management of your IT services so that all your employees and customers can experience a consistent level of services from any location with speed and cyber security protocols in place.
There is also the advantage of scalability and working with a vendor who uses technologies that can easily scale up or down with your business needs. You can even scale during your busiest shopping season and then scale down during slower seasons.
Also, a competitive edge in any industry requires in-depth focus on future-proofing with technology. Your managed IT service partner is always on the cutting-edge of technology. You can benefit from their investments and expertise without incurring training or upgrade costs from an on-premises perspective.
Therefore, you will always have as much coverage as you need to keep your online business running efficiently while protected from potential data breaches, regulatory fines, or liability.
A managed IT provider can also reduce the burden on your in-house IT team so they don’t have to spend as much of their day working on time-consuming tasks. It’s a win-win that improves productivity throughout your business.
To sum it up
If you own an online business and you’re interested in cost savings, IT consistency, cutting-edge technology, increased productivity, compliance, cyber security, and round-the-clock support, contact SSI to learn more about managed IT services today.