Over the last decade, the ways and means of attacking data have become more sophisticated and continue to evolve at an alarming rate, writes Dries Morris, a director at Securicom. Staying ahead of these advancements is imperative in order to efficiently ward off attacks and, unless there is a dedicated team focused on managing IT security in-house, companies are simply not equipped to protect themselves.

Unfortunately, small businesses are the most vulnerable. Most small business-owners know that they need to secure their networks and company data. But, IT security is not their forte and they cannot afford to retain the necessary skills and resources to manage their IT security in-house.
So, they invest in a firewall and an anti-virus solution and, as far as they are concerned, they are doing the best they can.
Others just turn a deaf ear on the whole subject because all the talk about internet and e-mail threats, mixed in with some confusing technology jargon is just too overwhelming.
This is a reckless approach and, not surprisingly, most companies only realise just how vulnerable they are until their IT security has been compromised and their intellectual property comes under threat.
The point is that IT security must be taken seriously by small and large businesses alike because data can be as important to an organisation with just ten users as it is to one with10 000 users.
So what’s the alternative?
Companies that consider their data as critical, but cannot afford to manage their IT security internally, can outsource the function.
In fact, the trend toward outsourcing IT security is on the rise, not only amongst small businesses.
There are advantages to adopting a managed services model.
For instance, outsourcing IT security to specialist consultants means that a company will have access to a whole team of engineers who not only have the necessary skill-set to do the job well, but who also understand the importance of understanding the methods and motivation behind attacks.
Security is a mindset. You have to eat, drink and sleep security in order to fully understand it and recognise the vulnerabilities. By outsourcing IT security, companies can tap into the skills of a dedicated team of professionals who are passionate about security and are focused purely on that.
An outsourced service also gives companies peace of mind, with around the clock monitoring, qualified management and support, as well as tried and tested technologies.
Contrary to what some may think, outsourcing IT security is also a significantly more cost-effective option for companies that cannot afford to sustain the necessary resources in-house. And it is certainly less expensive than trying to undo the damage after an attack.
Admittedly, some company executives are reluctant to entrust their IT security to a third party. IT managers are even more averse to the idea because they are protecting their own positions but what they often don’t realise is that taking the responsibility of security off their hands affords them more time to focus on their core function.
At the end of the day, whether companies choose to adopt a managed services model or employ a dedicated resource, IT security is not something that should be ignored.