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Continuous Monitoring Is A Must Have Cybersecurity Tool

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Imagine if you will that you live in a busy city where crime happens every day. You are packing for a much needed vacation. As you head out, you feel confident your locks are secure. But you also don’t check them daily. Are they locked and safe? Are they easy to jimmy open? Can the lock be easily bypassed by going through a window? There are many risks. But you have insurance, so it’s ok, and most of your valuables are not in your house, right?

Only, insurance can never get back what is lost. Nor rebuild the feeling of safety and trust. Also, if insurance finds you didn’t do the basics (like turn the alarm on), they may not pay to cover your losses at all. Then what?

The above scenario is much like the risk of neglecting continuous cybersecurity monitoring for your business, but the stakes are much higher in business because your valuable data is right there, for the taking (and leaking on the dark web, and causing you a recovery nightmare).

Cyber threats are constantly evolving. Traditional security is not intelligent enough.

Continuous monitoring acts as your intelligent, vigilant digital guard. It’s constantly checking for weaknesses. It sounds the alarm before attackers exploit them.

Why Continuous Monitoring Matters

There are several reasons you need to monitor your devices, network and email and cloud app logins. Here at TUCU Managed IT Services in Toronto, we aim to help our clients understand that continuous monitoring is not just a “nice to have.” It’s a must have. Here’s why continuous monitoring is a cybersecurity must for businesses of all sizes.

Breaches Are Silent and Fast

Cyberattacks can happen in seconds. They are automated and they target and exploit vulnerabilities before you even know they exist. Continuous monitoring provides real-time insights. It allows you (or us as your local IT management company, working on your behalf) to identify and respond to threats fast, minimizing potential damage.

Automated Threats Need Automated, Programmatic Defenses

Hackers are constantly developing sophisticated techniques and automated tools to target any vulnerable device, anywhere in the world. Some can bypass network firewalls and antivirus. Continuous monitoring delves deeper and works 24/7. It analyses network traffic, user behaviour, and system logs. It uncovers hidden threats lurking within your network.

Compliance Requirements May Mandate It

Many industry regulations and data privacy laws require organizations to have continuous monitoring. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines and reputational damage. The fact that sensitive industries mandate it, speaks to its effectiveness, and superior performance over traditional perimeter defences and antivirus alone.

Reduced Damages & Costs

Zero Trust Networking, a modern IT security framework, has 3 core tenets, and one is to assume a breach will happen, and minimize the potential fallout. Continuous monitoring helps prevent costly breaches and downtime that can cripple a business for days or weeks. It also reduces the workload for security teams. It automates routine tasks, allowing them to focus on strategic initiatives.

For the small business we serve here at TUCU, they often have anywhere from 3- 60 staff members, and no in house IT staff at all. As their Managed IT Services Provider in Durham Region, Toronto, Vaughan or across Ontario, we assume the role of both day-to-day security defence, including managing their continuous monitoring tools and resolving alerts that pop up, as well as annual strategic planning.

Some clients also opt to add help desk support to their service plans with us to not only improve security but also productivity for all staff. With access to help desk services, teams can have any technical issues resolved quickly, instead of slowing them down.

What Does Continuous Monitoring Look Like?

Continuous monitoring isn’t a single tool. It’s a holistic approach that combines different elements. These include:

  • Log Management: Security logs are collected and analyzed for suspicious activity. Logs come from firewalls, devices, and applications such as antivirus, EDR, Identity Management tools and more.
  • Vulnerability Scanning: Regular scans identify weaknesses in your systems and applications. This allows you to patch them before attackers exploit them.
  • Suspicious Activity Monitoring: Monitoring user behavior can identify suspicious activity. For example, unauthorized access attempts or data exfiltration from strange logins can be blocked before they gain access.
  • Server + Network Traffic Analysis: Monitoring network traffic can reveal several risks:
  • Malware
  • Suspicious communication patterns
  • Attempts to breach your network defenses.
  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM): SIEM systems collect security data. They tap into various sources. They provide a centralized view of your security posture and identify potential threats.

More Benefits Than Threat Detection Alone

Continuous monitoring offers more than just threat detection and blocking. Consider these advantages.

Higher Threat Detection Accuracy

Continuous monitoring reduces false positives. It does this by analysing vast amounts of data. This allows your Managed Security Services team to focus on genuine threats.

Fast Incident Response

Continuous monitoring provides real-time alerts. This enables a quick response to security incidents, minimizing potential damage. It could be the difference of a threat being actioned on within 15 minutes, versus it rummaging through your systems silently for days, weeks or months, causing costly loss and damage.

Stronger Security Posture

Continuous monitoring aids in identifying vulnerabilities. It helps you rank patching and remediation efforts. This proactively strengthens your security posture.

Compliance Reporting

Continuous monitoring systems can generate reports. This helps you prove compliance with your regulating bodies or insurance company as required. It also saves you time and resources during IT Risk and Compliance audits.

Getting Started with Continuous Monitoring

Implementing continuous monitoring doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can begin with a few simple steps.

Assess Your Needs

Identify your organization’s specific security needs and compliance requirements. Have a cybersecurity assessment done. This is the best way to identify vulnerabilities you should address.

Choose The Right Tools

Select monitoring tools that align with your needs and budget. Consider managed security service providers (MSSPs) like TUCU for a comprehensive solution. We can help you ensure a holistic cybersecurity strategy. Plus, we can tailor solutions for your budget and your most pressing needs.

Many of our clients get started with the basics, then, at their first annual IT review, begin to adopt additional security controls, so that by 18 months in to managed IT services, they have a best in class, strong security posture.

Other clients opt to start with full alignment to best practices from the start.

No matter what you choose, we will take care of everything for you, end to end, so that you can focus on your business with peace of mind and confidence in your cyber security. 

Develop A Monitoring Plan

If you are tackling it alone or in house, define what your monitoring plan will look like. This helps ensure that things don’t get missed. Here are some things to include in your plan:

  • How you will track data
  • How you will handle alerts
  • Who handles responding to incidents

Invest In Staff and Training

Train your security team on how to use the monitoring tools as well as how to effectively respond to security alerts. Include training on reporting from monitoring systems. Ensure your team knows how to understand the insights they offer.

Start Today

In today’s threat landscape, continuous monitoring is not a luxury. It’s a security necessity.

Don’t wait for a security breach to be your wake-up call. Take control of your cybersecurity posture today. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially in the digital world.

Monitoring is one part of a holistic approach to cybersecurity. We’ll be happy to help you protect your business. We can customize a plan that works for your needs and budget.

Contact us today to discuss your needs.

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