Technology & Social Media

Don’t put security on the chopping block

Security Saturdays at CPA Success are usually spent reviewing online tools that can help increase our productivity. Keep in mind that we do not endorse any of these services. We simply offer them up for your consideration. Do your own homework and find the service that best meets your needs.

Budgets are tight these days, and in their bid to save money, companies are serving notice that everything is on the table. There are no sacred cows in a recession.

But Adam Mahle of the Ohio Society of CPAs says there should be. In this TechieBytes post, he says there is one item in the budget that should be strictly hands-off when it comes to budget cuts. Adam?

Everyone is aware that budgets everywhere are shrinking. One area that should always remain a priority is information security. Unfortunately, with the downturn in the market, more and more IT departments are working with ever dwindling budgets -- budgets that often leave those implementing technology to have to make hard choices. The practicalities of continuing to keep the infrastructure running have taken priority over keeping the network safe.

Data intrusion is a constant threat in our modern world. Don’t think someone is trying to access your data? Well, you would be very terribly mistaken. People exist who try to gain any access to any data that they can get. Your data is at risk. This has been proven time and time again.

Companies and individuals need to take a long, hard look at the cuts they are looking to make. Regular reviews of your infrastructure need to be undertaken. If you are in charge of IT, finances or just run your own business, you need to be aware of what measures are being taken to protect your data -– and that those measures are adequate.

Tight budgets may, in fact, be here for the foreseeable future, but you don’t want to put off the security changes that your network needs because you cannot afford it. Instead of giving up because of your budget, start looking at the alternatives. Just because you can’t afford the package that everyone else is using doesn’t mean there isn’t something just as good or far better than what you have, for much lower pricing -– or possibly even free.

Start looking at open-source alternatives. Open-source products are often free and comparable to commercial products. Tons of software pieces exist. For example, need a VPN to connect to your office securely when remote? Try OpenVPN. Need a replacement for your aging firewall that doesn’t support newer protocols or provide the security that you require? Try SmoothWall. Need to replace your anti-virus with a lower-cost solution? Check out Clam (free) or F-Prot ($50 per year for 10 computers).

The moral here: You don’t need to forgo the protection that you need simply because your budget has become too tight. If you spend some time to look for a solution, you might just find that the solution has been there for a while and at a much more reasonable cost than you had thought.

You need to protect your network, your computers and your data. Don’t make the mistake that so many others have made. Don’t put your security on the chopping block.


Bill Sheridan