How to Maintain Network Security When IT People Bail

8/24/2017

Staff transitions are part and parcel of running a small business. Though perhaps not as often as in larger companies, people come and go in all departments, temporarily disrupting the normal flow of things until replacements can be found. When an IT person leaves, however, the stakes are arguably much higher. One less watchman on the (fire)wall instantly exposes your network security and your business to a wide range of risks, threats and vulnerabilities, any one of which carries potentially catastrophic consequences. Imagine, even for one day, compromising your company’s ability to protect itself or comply with government regulations. Additionally, with access to confidential data and passwords, the former employee you entrusted, is now a potential threat to your business. IT staff turnover isn’t a topic small businesses like to think about. But it’s definitely one you can and should be prepared for.

Retention and Prevention

A logical first step is to evaluate your IT retention strategy. What steps are you taking to inspire loyalty among IT staff? Have you created an environment in which they feel valued, empowered and respected (and not just taken for granted)? Do you compensate them fairly? Provide training and professional growth opportunities? Today’s workforce is multi-generational and Millennial workers are a different breed entirely. The latest Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS) found that Millennials are more likely to change employers than other generations. They are also more willing to leave and become independent “consultants,” rather than assume managerial roles within an organization. Hand-in-glove with retention is acting swiftly when technical vacancies do arise. Make no mistake, the IT skills shortage is real, especially in cybersecurity. So HR managers and company execs must put their heads together and devise a plan for rapidly replacing lost talent. For many companies, such prudent precautions include lining up an IT Managed Services Provider (IT MSP) well in advance of any staffing problems.

Smart, Savvy and Ready to Step In

IT Managed Service Providers (MSP) are security-savvy professionals who can step in quickly to bridge sudden security gaps and safeguard your operations. They can, for example:

IT MSPs can serve in a temporary or more permanent role. Because of their diverse experience and security skillset, many companies find that retaining an MSP part-time is often more convenient, effective and economical than giving a new-hire a generous (read: costly) compensation and benefits package. Use this popular checklist to determine if an IT MSP has the cybersecurity “soft skills” necessary to properly support you.