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With the ongoing trend towards remote work and the mounting threat of cyber attacks, IT security is no longer a “nice to have”. It’s a necessity. In fact, if you can’t demonstrate that you’re upholding a certain level of security, you could be held personally liable, depending on your role.

While the benefits of uplifting security speak for themselves, budget can be a limiting factor. As a result, most IT leaders are looking for opportunities to increase their security posture without requiring additional funds.

Working with budget restrictions doesn’t mean that you can’t make progress toward your ideal security posture. In this case, the key to uplifting security across your organisation is to do things incrementally. Focus on the small changes you can implement today that have an outsized impact—for example, enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) and consolidating vendors to reduce costs are easy wins.

You may also be able to streamline certain processes within your organisation, optimising the cost of your overall IT operation and freeing up some budget to pursue more ambitious security projects.

Where to start with an IT security uplift

We’ve worked with businesses of all sizes—from mid-market businesses to Australian government agencies—to uplift their security through best-in-class cybersecurity solutions. Each organisation’s security needs are different, and the solutions we propose depend on a thorough analysis of their current security posture and goals.

That said, the following are our general recommendations of actions you may be able to undertake internally on your own to get your security uplift started:

Begin with a proper review

A security assessment can give you a better understanding of your current security posture, as well as the location and accessibility of your assets.

Take incremental action:

A security uplift doesn’t need to be completed all in one shot. Focus on making the small changes today that’ll benefit you over time, even if you can’t implement every single security measure you’d like. Security is never a one-and-done deal anyway; it’s important to regularly assess your posture to evaluate what’s working and what’s not.

Enable MFA

Believe it or not, we still find customers who don’t have MFA enabled across all their accounts. What many fail to realize is that this low-lift action can generate massive returns for your organisation.

According to a recent Forrester study commissioned by Salesforce, “Customers that implemented MFA reduced their risk of a breach by 50%, improved IT operations and employee productivity, and avoided $42 per user per year in licensing costs with MFA.” Furthermore, the study found that just three years after investing in MFA, companies saw an ROI of 164% on the action.

Advance your efforts to make foundational security improvements

Activities such as turning on multi-factor authentication and end-point protection may be accomplished fairly easily on your own, with no additional budget. However, substantial improvements to your foundational security may require a greater investment. The following are actions you can undertake to help free up the necessary budget, either on your own or with the support of a qualified partner.

Free up budget by reducing program complexity

Streamlining your security operations saves money and time that can then be put towards uplifting your security. Eliminating pointless, repetitive tasks frees up personnel that can be redirected towards other higher-priority activities, including those that have a revenue-generating impact on your organisation.

Consider consolidating your vendors

Consolidating your vendors—for example, within the Microsoft stack—helps organisations save money in a number of ways. First, it eliminates unnecessary third-party tool costs, as many of the same features are available within customers’ existing Microsoft licensing.

However, this approach also reduces both the time and costs associated with training programs, as fewer individual programs need to be managed. Companies with a more streamlined vendor strategy are also able to tap into broader, more cost-effective talent pools, compared to having to hire workers with specialisations in an assortment of different products and programs.

Finally, keep in mind that consolidating vendors may help you to meet tier-based pricing program requirements, making you eligible for reduced pricing options. Depending on your annual volume, rising to a higher tier with a single vendor can produce substantial savings.

Leverage automation to free up time and resources to invest in new cybersecurity solutions

Reducing or removing manual, repetitive tasks from workflows through the use of automation technologies is a great way to free up budget to invest in the tech required to keep your organisation secure. Re-training your existing IT teams may be a more cost-effective solution for managing this technology and monitoring the security of your organisation, compared to sourcing new talent.

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Working with an external partner to uplift security

At Canon Business Services (CBS), every action we take is deliberately prioritised to bring our customers closer to their end goals and what they envision as their ideal security posture.

As an example, we recently worked with a company that was struggling to manage their Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platform. Because they didn’t have the proper skill set to manage SIEM, they weren’t able to analyse alerts when they received them or understand what was really going on—let alone which follow-up actions to take.

To help resolve these challenges, we implemented 24/7 management of their SIEM, reducing false positive alerts and only alerting them when truly necessary. This freed their team up to focus on higher priority tasks, such as upscaling their overall security efforts.

In this scenario, the customer didn’t need more budget—they needed time and team resources, and we delivered that to them. As a top Microsoft Solutions Partner, with 3 Azure Advanced Security Specialistations, we can enable services like these for our customers, including Microsoft Sentinel’s Security Operations Centre (SOC) capabilities, which help us to actively monitor and detect anomalies more effectively.

While we never recommend fully outsourcing security, working with a third-party partner whose staff specializes in implementing security solutions can save you time and money in the long run, allowing you to focus on the greater needs of your business.

Ready to uplift the security of your organisation? Speak with an expert at Canon Business Services (CBS) today.

Canon Business Services ANZ (CBS) is proud to be among the few Australian MSSPs in the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association (MISA), which means we can better defend you against a world of increasing cyber threats. Choose the team with 3 Azure advanced security specialisations (Identity & Access Management, Cloud Security and Threat Protection) to safeguard your organisation today.

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