Every company’s digital assets need to be protected from malware, ransomware, spam, viruses, and more. Because threats to a small business’ network are so rampant, why not simply add as many layers of protection as possible? That way, you know your data is safe and your network is secure.

Unfortunately, you can’t simply throw everything but the kitchen sink into your small business’ security strategy. Three key factors that affect how your network infrastructure security is designed, built, and maintained include cost, productivity, and data sensitivity. To build an ideal data security solution for your company, you’ll need to weigh each factor and strike a balance between the three.

Cost

When you add security layers, you add cost. Each piece of hardware or software that makes up a data security solution costs money, as do services such as ongoing security monitoring and automatic security updates. So, it certainly doesn’t make sense to fork over thousands of dollars on security measures you don’t really need. How much security you DO need will be dictated by the other two factors, but, in general, a small business should invest in a managed antivirus service and managed anti-spam service, a firewall, a solid backup solution, and data protection.

Because creating a broad, solid “wall” of security will not only cost far too much but also negatively impact productivity, you’ll want to instead focus on layering security components to create a concentrated “net” that protects your most sensitive data. The layers of protection afforded by this net can thwart malware and virus attacks, fend off hackers, and hide confidential data without financially overburdening your small business.

Productivity

Just like cost, the level of productivity your employees will enjoy is also directly related to the number of security measures you employ. The more security features you utilize, the harder it will be for your employees to be productive. Consider this: if you add password protection to every file and folder housed on your network, it’s great for security, but bad for productivity, because your employees will need to enter in a unique password each time they move from file to file. You can think of a security policy in terms of a playground see-saw, with user productivity on one side and cyber security on the other.  The prudent company will find the balance between the two, and factoring in cost as part of the equation.

This makes it critical that you carefully identify your most sensitive data, determine the level of security needed to safeguard it, and use no more layers than needed to ensure you’re adequately protected. Do you really need each employee to encrypt every email they send? What measures can you take to secure sensitive data that might be less costly and easier to manage on a day-to-day basis? These are all considerations you’ll want to think about as you design a cyber security plan for your small business.

Data Sensitivity

Factors such as the industry you work in, the size of your business and clientele, and how (and whether) you collect and store confidential data will all impact your company’s data security solution strategy. First, you’ll want to identify what data must remain confidential. You’ll want to take steps to protect your company’s own sensitive data, such as accounting information, pricing information, and strategic business plans. All files and data pertaining to clients should be similarly safeguarded.

If you work in the medical, financial, or legal services industries, several layers of additional data protection are likely federally or locally mandated. The more valuable the data to a hacker, the more critical it is that it be adequately protected. Again, though, it’s wise to concentrate security where it’s truly needed and continue to employ ways to keep your workforce as productive as possible.

Mixing Up the Ideal Data Security Solution

As you can see, there’s a lot of interplay between these three factors. Add security, you increase cost, and decrease productivity (which ultimately costs you more money). But if you decrease security dramatically, you can increase the money you keep in your pocket, and probably increase productivity, too. The risk, though, is huge. A security breach could cost tens of thousands to fix. Meanwhile, your company’s productivity levels will plummet, and, what’s worse, you may lose customers and even your reputation. So, building a data security solution that strikes a balance between these factors becomes one of the most important ongoing tasks for your company.

Regular network infrastructure security audits are an excellent tool for ensuring you’re still dialing in the ideal mix, giving appropriate weight to cost, productivity, and data sensitivity factors. Want to find how your network infrastructure security solution is measuring up? Contact Real IT Care today for a network security audit!