Craig puts into perspective cybersecurity spending and how much you should be looking to spend based on certain criteria.

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Automated Machine-Generated Transcript:

Craig Peterson: [00:00:00] This talk of MSP outsourced IT providers.  Brings up a really great question. How much should you be spending on security in a business or at home?

Hey, you’re listening to Craig Peterson here on WGAN 98.5 FM and AM 560. You can also hear me every Wednesday morning with Mr. Matt Gagnon and, he and I always talk about the latest in the news. Sometimes he surprises me as well with questions out of left-field. it’s fun chatting with him, bright guy, and he knows enough about technology, but he hasn’t stumped me yet.

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Now IT is a problem for most businesses, but I’ve got to point out something that many people haven’t really thought through that is in fact, every business nowadays, is it computer business bar none. Because every business nowadays has computers at its core.  I look at it and say, I doubt very many businesses, frankly, almost if any, are spending enough money on IT.

If they’re paying enough attention to it. We still walk into businesses that don’t have the proper licenses for the software they’re using. They don’t have the proper licenses for some of the cloud services they’re using. They’re not complying with regulations. They get a letter from one of their customers saying, we need to make sure you complying with this, that, and the other thing and they pull out the pencil and pencil whip the form. They just check yes, yes, yes, yes, and they may or may not even know what that form is talking about. Let alone, if they really are compliant. So it’s a big deal. It’s very concerning.

Now in this world where more and more people are working from home, some of these figures have changed. So I think it’s important to talk about it.

Now on the very low end, if you are a home user, I strongly advise you to use prosumer technology, make sure your firewall and your router automatically updates, make sure that it automatically uses something like Umbrella for DNS that blocks DNS requests that might be going to bad sites that are out there, so that it’s all taken care of for you automatically.

Make sure you’re using Wi-Fi that has multiple networks. So that network has split up so that the devices aren’t talking into each other. We’ve got, clients that are really all over the Northeast United States, that are using prosumer gear in very small businesses, and in many cases, that’s okay.

It really depends and when we’d have to talk to really get into it, but basically, if you have a credit card machine on your network, it needs to be separated from the computers, the rest of the machines on your network. You need to segment. Even in my home network, I have my network segmented because again, Many of us are working from home. I work from home, so I have separate networks.

One is for guests that come over, it’s completely separate. It has no access to anything else in my home network. I have a network for my business at the house. In fact, I have three, I think it is networks for the business at the house. I’ve got that all segmented. Again, if you are just a regular consumer, you’re a retiree or you are working and doing some work from home. These pieces of prosumer hardware are what are going to get your network split up in such a way that the bad guys cannot move laterally and get into computers that they shouldn’t be getting into.

So think about it for instance. If you have one of these Google or Amazon devices. If you have one of these Nest thermostats or Ring doorbells. None of those should be on the same network as your computers in your house. None of them. They’re all considered what we call the internet of things. And as such, they probably are not getting updates. They are probably not being monitored from a security standpoint. The way they really should be monitored and that’s going to cause nothing but problems for you. Frankly.

We’ve seen that before in small businesses where they’ve got everything on one network. They’ve got security cameras and there are these cheap ones that came in from China. As an example of some of those are like Hikvision, which cannot be used now in DOD contracted facilities. Those types of devices that never get updates. Some of them have built-in back doors and now they’re on your network. They break into your cash registers, your point of sale equipment, et cetera, or in your home, they get onto your computer.

Now, how many of you guys have your account information on your computer? I know my dad. Keeps it still to this day on a spreadsheet, all of his bank accounts, all of his passwords, his usernames. If he has something on his network that gets compromised, he can lose all of that and they can break-in. In fact, that’s already happened to him and we had to come in after the fact and do a little bit of cleanup and investigative work. So dad got it for free, but he also got nailed, which is really bad.

How much should you be spending? If again, the very low end, super small business with no regulation or a home user, you should be expecting to spend five to $600 on prosumer hardware. And then companies like mine. We have a thousand dollar package where we make sure it’s the right stuff. We pre-configure it, we test it, we ship it out and we support you. Okay. So let’s say a grand on the high side.

Now, if you start moving up and you have some regulations, so let’s say you’re a small doctor’s office. So you have some HIPAA requirements or you’re a business that has employees. So you have HIPAA requirements, but you don’t have the real tough ones that come with the department of defense contractors. Then you should be spending. Oh, I’m just going to give the, basically a cash price here. You should be spending about $3,000 on your hardware.

This is just your network stuff. Your firewall that can examine stuff tear apart packets and reassemble them,  look at everything in context and just do it all. One of these next-gen firewalls has intrusion detection, intrusion prevention built right in there. Really nice.

 Then if you are a larger business that has real requirements, such as DOD requirement you’re in the 50 to $150,000 range. On top of that, you’re gonna have to spend monthly money as well. To have someone watch it and monitor it.

Now, the Gartner Group has reported that the average spending on cybersecurity was it’s about five to 8% of the overall technology budgets in most businesses. But in reality that it should be closer to 20% to 25% of the IT budget.

Now, this is for bigger businesses that were the IT budget includes programmers and everything else. So how much is enough? there’s no real magic dollar amount, but the number is definitely not zero. I think I gave you a few little ideas here of what you can look at.

You’ve got to be careful. You’ve got to pay attention. The big number is until you reach 500 employees, most businesses cannot afford to have internally the type of cybersecurity teams that they need. Yes, teams. So under 500 employees, it’s cheaper to find a managed security services provider.

Depending, again, if you’re on the DOD side, all in you should be spending about $320 per month per employee, and that’ll get you all the cybersecurity you should need. You’re not going to need employees worried about cybersecurity and trying to keep up on it. There are some real rough numbers out there. $50 a month, all the way up through 350 at the high end. There are your numbers.

All right. You listening to Craig Peterson here on WGAN stick around because we’ll be right back talking about EMPs.

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