“We handle sensitive client information daily. We are confident in doing so because we are proactive about protecting our clients’ privacy and security. That builds credibility and trust.”
Chief Operating Officer, National Christian Foundation Tampa Bay
Cybersecurity concerns for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) continue to increase.
In 2020, cybercrime rose and ransomware payments were up 33%, with SMBs being the largest subset targeted by ransomware. For the National Christian Foundation Tampa Bay (NCFTB), cybersecurity is a must. Many foundation donors are high-net-worth individuals, and NCFTB’s ability to secure and protect the privacy of confidential information is paramount.
When a cyberattack occurs, for some organizations, their systems can be offline for several days, and a ransom may be required to recover information, files and data. Awareness of trends and cybercrime events led NCFTB to implement cybersecurity tools and best practices. Waldauer has observed what a cyberattack can involve. She realized it could result in NCFTB being temporarily offline and shut down, losing productivity and the possibility of needing to purchase new computers and hardware.
If proactive measures were not taken, the impact on NCFTB’s mission and reputation could be severe. “Some gifts we receive involve business owners selling their businesses. They cannot wait for us to recover and get back up and running if they are in the middle of a closing,” said Waldauer.
Focus on Your Business, Not Your IT
The approach for SMBs to cybersecurity often involves the intersection of awareness, priority, education, cost and trust. NCFTB developed the awareness and made cybersecurity a priority. Next, it educated itself to determine “How can we responsibly protect the business and our customers?” Big Sur helped answer this question and proposed a best-of-breed cybersecurity solution tailored to meet NCFTB’s specific needs. It is enterprise-level quality and cost-effective. The solution enabled NCFTB to perform its due diligence and protect its organization, data and clients.
NCFTB describes it as peace of mind, and it began with the first step of a security analysis. The analysis identifies, measures and diagnoses current hardware, software and system issues, vulnerabilities and threats. For example, malware can easily go undetected and be running silently behind the scenes without causing operational interruptions or obvious signs. After vulnerability assessments and penetration testing, a customized plan was developed for NCFTB, from its firewall and security monitoring to end-user training.
“You have your business, mission, daily operation and clients to focus on. Cybersecurity is an area of specialty, so it made sense to have a specialist provide these solutions. It affords us protection and allows us to focus on our business — not our IT and security,” said Waldauer.
With data breach reports a daily occurrence, NCFTB acknowledged the urgency to prioritize cybersecurity. If tackling cybersecurity alone, the learning curve for NCFTB would be daunting and not feasible. For example, if a SMB hires an in-house cybersecurity engineer, the average annual cost is $138,962. Big Sur’s solution and strategy are cost-efficient, and for organizations like NCFTB, it allows them to be proactive in both cybersecurity offense and defense tactics against risks and threats.
Hand-in-Hand Benefits — Cybersecurity and IT Help Desk Support
In addition to a cybersecurity solution, NCFTB engages Big Sur for its IT help desk services. “Big Sur does the antivirus maintenance and cybersecurity monitoring of our system, and they are also our IT support team,” said Waldauer.
“If anyone is stuck with a problem, we call Big Sur, and they troubleshoot and solve the problem for us.”
NCFTB has found that this saves hours of its team’s time. Also, by providing IT help desk support, Big Sur can integrate security into troubleshooting problems. For example, when the help desk assisted NCFTB with a situation, the problem was discovered to be outdated hardware equipment provided by a vendor. By being outdated, it was not compatible and would not function properly. Additionally, it also posed a potential security risk.
Cost-Benefit Analysis: Proactive Cybersecurity Equals Savings
The numbers added up — being proactive and on the offense versus defense with cybersecurity would save its reputation with clients, time and money, NCFTB realized.
NCFTB, a nonprofit foundation, did not have a big budget for cybersecurity, but they did not have the budget to mitigate a cyberattack. Overall, businesses and nonprofits have been focused on surviving and adapting to the challenges of the pandemic. As 2021 is underway, and they look toward 2022, cybersecurity has become a top and rapidly growing priority. The damage of a ransomware attack, for example, can carry an average hard cost price tag of $111,605. The soft costs of notifying your clients of a breach and potentially losing their trust are priceless.
Cybersecurity is a priority when you consider IT providers. An IT vendor is not enough. You require a partner who delivers consistent and structured communication and a well-defined security plan and delivery method. Most importantly, you need an IT partner who makes it easy for you to understand the process, their performance and the deliverables.
Your questions should always be encouraged and any challenges welcomed. Transparency is trust.
MAKING IT EASY
Looking for the best IT services partner to help you protect and grow your business? Discover the difference — Big Sur. Set up a free consultation now!