Let me share a true story from my organization that highlights the importance of baseline IT security. For privacy reasons, I've omitted the names of the organizations involved, except mine.

Recently, we gained a new client, a small accounting firm in the Waukesha suburbs. We were thrilled to welcome them on board and help them save $18,000 annually. Along with cost savings, we upgraded their endpoint detection and response to a more robust antivirus product and extended their IT support to 24/7 coverage, replacing their previous 8am to 6pm support.

As part of the transition, we agreed to return some hardware belonging to their former IT provider. This included two computer appliances: a backup device and a firewall. Typically, my tech team handles such tasks, but since I had another client near the old IT firm, I decided to do it myself.

I should have brought a small foldable cart but didn’t. Upon arriving at the old IT firm, I had to carry the hardware from a distant parking lot to their office—a much longer distance than I anticipated. By the time I reached their commercial business location, my arms were aching.

When I finally got there, the door was open, but no one was inside. I stepped back out to the entrance, put the hardware down, and knocked. Still, no one appeared. After waiting for about 10 minutes, I knew I couldn’t just leave the expensive hardware without getting a receipt. I didn’t want to carry it back to the car either.

Though I could have easily walked into the competitor’s office and looked around, I resisted the temptation. There was likely valuable information I could have accessed or hardware I could have tampered with, but I knew better.

Finally, after 12 minutes, an office employee arrived. She was aware of the hardware and the transaction was completed.

This incident highlighted a crucial point: their IT security was severely lacking. In stark contrast, you cannot enter our building without passing through two separate locks and at least two cameras recording your entry. Our doors remain locked even when our team is inside. Every outside door, and some inside doors, have electronic strike locks and video surveillance.

IT security begins with the physical security of your IT provider’s building. Many organizations overlook this basic security measure. At Central Office Systems, we take security seriously from the start. Ensure your IT provider does too.