Cybercrime continues to plague organizations resulting in compromised information, damaged reputations and expensive reparations. As cyberattacks grow in complexity, they are capable of attacking various forms of infrastructure using a wide range of tactics. In short, our dependence on technology makes cybersecurity a concern for all of us. Most of us, for personal or professional reasons, do rely on tech, we’re vulnerable to these attacks.
As a business, how do you shield your enterprise from malware, ransomware, viruses, hacking, social engineering, and the numerous other threat types stalking the web? Well, while it’s not entirely possible to avoid intrusion attempts, there are fortunately different methods to ward away would-be dangers.
Proven Cybersecurity Tactics
Even though cybercrime and malware are evolving in complexity, there are lots of ways to mitigate the damage they cause, or outright prevent attacks. The best part is a lot of methods used to stay safe from third-party attacks are easy to do and cost-effective.
Two Factor Authentication
One of the easiest and most robust ways to immediately improve cyber-defense, two-factor authentication (or 2FA) means a user must provide a name and login, with an additional code via a device only they have. At the most basic level, it means both their login and the personal device would need to be compromised. It’s an essential first line of defense.
If your business makes use of a public network, encryption is critical. And, really, it’s recommended even if you don’t have a public network. Encryption shields information sent via your intranet and keeps it from potential digital theft. It’s also essential that your company only access online material with similar encryption features, especially if important data is sent off-site.
Keep Software Updated
Sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s a fact worth repeating. Any software utilized by your company should have the latest version. Old apps are susceptible to zero-day exploits and attacks, which can steal information, penetrate networks, and cause severe damage. While anti-virus software routinely updates on its own, other programs may not have this function. Routinely check all major software and perform vulnerability patch management tasks on a regular basis.
Identify Phishing Attempts
Social engineering is a concept that’s been around for years, and another way malicious third parties attempt to bypass security. To identify phishing attempts and social engineering, it’s important to educate your staff on suspicious messages. They often use legitimate-looking messages from “friends” or “accounts,” trying to trick the user into giving away login info.
Set Staff Guidelines
And speaking of staff competency, everyone should be in the know with good cybersecurity practices. While not everyone needs to have the expertise of an IT expert, having familiarity with common cybersecurity trends, threats, and good practices will keep an organization much safer.
Invest in BDR
Unfortunately, breaches happen. It’s a possibility leadership teams and cybersecurity and IT professionals must prepare for, and one way is through BDR, or backup disaster recovery. Whether via third-party service or your own means, having a failsafe is crucial to protect valuable data. Whether that’s raw data recovery, virtualization to maintain services offsite, or having a strategy in case of attack, BDR is a useful protection strategy.
Diversify Network Infrastructure
One reason that hackers are successful is that they gain valuable info from simple intrusions. In other words, once they penetrate one part of a network, they’ve gained access to all of it. It’s important your organization’s network is diverse, meaning general staff can’t access things a manager could. In the same sense, keeping sections of a business separated by VPN is essential. If one area is affected, then it’s contained, versus affecting the entire intranet.
Create a Risk Profile
Part of developing a good protection strategy is understanding what data is most susceptible to attack. In other words, you need to look at your infrastructure and say, “all right, if there’s an attack, what data is vulnerable, and what are hackers looking to take/damage?” When you establish this, you can better invest resources in the proper areas, assuring efficient distribution of security policies.
It’s also worth looking at past attacks (if relevant) to see what methods were used. Did third-parties try a DDoS? Malware? Did they succeed with scam emails? Also, compare success/failure models. What needs fine tuning and what’s doing well? The better you understand your information, the better your protection strategy will be.
Identify Staff Risk
Internal threats are just as much a problem as outside ones. Make sure you perform extensive background checks on staff to establish risk. While it’s hasty to assume a worker is looking to harm your company, human error plays a role in upsetting a good security policy.
Just as well, a staff member leaving the company with extensive access to internal logins and similar data can also become a potential threat factor.
Beware of Hardware Theft
Lastly, if your company makes use of mobile devices – such as a laptop or through a BYOD policy – have a way to remotely protect data. In the best-case scenario, you should track devices. In the worst case, limit login capabilities if a device is stolen. While cyber-crime primarily deals with the digital, lost devices are still a real possibility. A third-party can gain access to a trove of information based off one stolen device, so prepare for the scenario accordingly.
Keeping your company safe from various cyber-threats is a daunting task, one which requires diligence and efficient IT cybersecurity strategies. However, with a little common sense and good practices like the reasons we’ve listed, you can circumvent many common malware related problems. Even better, these solutions are cost-effective and don’t usually require heavy capital investment beyond a BDR policy.
If you’d like to learn more, you can check out additional articles that cover good cybersecurity practices at CyberDefenses.