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Advantages of Managed Security Services
If youíre concerned about network security but canít afford a full time security staff, consider managed security services

By: John Shepler

Network security worries have gotten way beyond concern over bemused hackers nosing around to see how far they can penetrate to achieve bragging rights among their peers. Cybercrime is now major crime. The goal is no longer the thrill of outwitting the local IT staff. It’s all about the money. If there is something worth stealing, there’s a motive for cyber criminals to target your network.

Your Real Choice is Make or Buy
You really don’t have a choice when it comes to protecting your network, servers and other resources. The only choice you have is whether to do it yourself or outsource it. Outsourced security is often referred to as managedsecurity services or SaaS, Security as a Service.

MegaPath's Comprehensive Suite
MegaPath, a major competitive carrier, offers a suite of managed security services that includes a managed firewall, intrusion prevention, anti-malware/anti-virus, web filtering, anti-spam, application control, data leak prevention, managed logging, vulnerability scanning, security information management, file integrity monitoring.

The Importance of Electronic Payments Security
One area where the need for network security is particularly important is for electronic payments. There are millions, perhaps billions of dollars flying through networks as data packets at any given time. The payment card industry that includes all businesses involved in issuing and accepting electronic payments has strict standards in place for credit and debit cards, prepaid cards and other electronic payments. These are referred to as the PCI DSS for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.

How "Best" Are Your Practices?
How confident are you that your retail or other business not only meets the letter of the law regarding PCI DSS but complies with industry best practices? It’s not just the large companies that are being targeted by organized crime. There is easier prey among smaller and mid-size organizations that lack the resources to adequately protect their own and cardholder data.

Most Companies Are Understaffed
Don’t feel alone if you are concerned about being stretched thin and perhaps vulnerable when it comes to security resources. In a white paper called “The Compliance Trap”, MegaPath references comments by the Yankee Group that many companies with fewer than 50 employees often don’t even have a dedicated IT person. Companies with 100 employees typically have 2 IT staffers, and companies with 500 to 999 employees have five or fewer people with no security specialists on staff.

Why Not Consider Managed Security?
Certainly, you can take this as a cautionary tale and move to hire a security staff and the requisite hardware and software to fortify your network. Most companies with little or no security staff don’t have the budgets to embark on a major security upgrade in thischallenging economic environment. But that needn’t stop you from improving the situation by getting your security as a service. Hiring an expert company that has already developed the necessary protocols and has trained staff available 24/7/365 can get you up to speed quickly and likely at a cost far below what you would have to spend yourself.

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