IT security is even more important in a recession

In these times of unemployment, budgets being slashed, companies closing or downsizing and workers being asked to do the work of multiple employees can we afford to spend money on security? Unfortunately, the answer is yes, more than ever.

A percentage of those laid off are very skilled technicians whose experience will lend itself very nicely to the job of hacking into a network or Web site. Those left behind will be asked to do the work of multiple people, and will want to get the task done, (be it building a server, installing a routerswitchfirewall), and move on to the next task.

Security will be far from their mind, as any attention to security is not something that can be presented to management as measurable results.

Someone once told me that if you watch a boxing match and don’t remember seeing the referee, then he’s done his job. With security if you don’t see hacks, intrusions or a lot of activity, then security is doing its job.

The dangers include viruses, malware, reconnaissance attacks, operating systems, firewalls and routers left at default settings, installs that have services not needed, unnecessary ports left open, default passwords, folders left on desktops, passwords shared for convenience, phishing attacks, social engineering, lack of disaster recovery or poor backup policies — the list goes on.

Severe repercussions

Unfortunately, to spend time on something that does not provide quantifiable, measurable results in these times can be a hard sell to the company’s bottom line, however to neglect this aspect of day-to-day process could have severe repercussions.

I am currently working at a large corporation, which was hacked into at a cost of perhaps millions of dollars of sales and loss of consumer confidence — a terrible price.

Security after the fact is far more costly then a progressive, planned approach.

If you have data to be protected, do not let it be your last item on the to-do list. Keep your servers updated on service packs, your anti-virus updated, your employees knowledgeable and security-conscious. They have as much at stake as the owners, as a security breach could close a company, thus ending their jobs.

Your routers, firewalls databases and servers defend the data that, if breached, could not only be a huge impact on the company’s bottom line, could bring large fines and jail time in some instances.

Michael R. McLean, owner of McLean Security, can be reached at or 603-703-3765.