Most businesses today have some sort of IT personnel in place for cyber security – typically this is an outsourced company, dedicated in-house IT personnel, or resource/individual they trust. Companies without someone watching over their network are being exposed this year due to the rising number of advanced threats. With the rise in software based cybercrime, there is a need for businesses to have a plan in place for any type of threat that could infect a network.

For companies, it’s as simple as this: How secure is the business against new emerging threats?

While resources may be in place, new attacks such as ransomware, could encrypt critical data and leave the business helpless until they pay a fee to get their information back. Also, there is no guarantee that the criminal will give the stolen data back to the user even after the fee is paid. There has been an explosive increase this year in the amount of ransomware attacks – most notably, the WannaCry attack that infected over 200,000 computers in May 2017. These attacks are focused attacks with the simple goal of exploiting different operating system vulnerabilities via software.

The cost to a business which is not properly prepared could be huge. Even in areas like healthcare, hackers are targeting connected smart devices and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) as points of entry into systems to obtain patient data. As more business data is moved online and more devices become part of a business’ network, the amount of protection and proactive planning is needed. Hackers will find ways to advance their efforts and exploit any vulnerabilities in a network.

Impending attacks such as “Exploding Can” and DocuSign phishing schemes are targeting unprepared users who are running on older operating systems and lacking the preparation needed to protect their information. As new threats are emerging, routine maintenance such as network health checks, consistent patching updates, and active system monitoring are imperative to keeping the business from being exposed to potential downtime.

Ensuring you have a business continuity plan in place to protect your data is important to maintaining profitability. Many companies in 2017 are using a proactive approach by considering a Managed Services Provider (MSP) to monitor, update and protect their IT resources. Managed Services includes an all-inclusive option of IT support as well as a fixed cost option for companies to budget around. While it may be cheaper to have a resource after problems occur, the cost to the business could be exponentially higher if a cyberattack causes downtime.

The guidance and expertise of an MSP means that your business technologies will work to keep your company running smoothly. While cyberattacks can be threatening to a business, adequate protection and preparation can minimize or eliminate the damages of an attack.