Taking steps to limit cyber-attack risk.
IT security is an important issue for companies, both big and small. Cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent, in addition to the ever-present risk of data loss or corruption.
This blog post will outline the basics of IT security management so that you can implement best practices in your own company to protect your data. We'll discuss the basics of IT security management, covering a variety of topics. This will help you better understand what security management entails and why you should care about it as an IT professional or business owner.
Let's start with some basics.
Why are hackers targeting your business?
So, why would hackers target your business? In short, because you have valuable information that they want to leverage. In most cases, hackers want access to sensitive data such as customer lists or credit card numbers for nefarious reasons like identity theft and fraud.
Once limited to large corporations, ransomware is increasingly becoming a threat to both small to mid-size businesses. Cyberterrorists target businesses with weaknesses in their network security and lock down their networks. They agree to return control of your network once you have paid them a significant ransom.
In both cases, the end game is money, either by selling or using the information they steal or by collecting ransom money.
Is it even possible to protect your business from cyber-attacks?
You may not be able to prevent every conceivable cyber threat, but you can significantly reduce your exposure with the right tools in place.
So, how can you protect your business from cyber-attacks? The first step is to understand the threats that exist and ensure they are mitigated. It's clear hackers will target you at some point, so what can (and should) you do about it?
Below we will outline several steps you can take to protect your valuable data while working at the office, from home, or on the road.
What types of cyber threats are out there?
There are many types of cyber-threats lurking in the dark corners of the internet. Some are almost laughably simple, while others are highly sophisticated code that can be difficult to catch until it slips quietly onto a hard drive or server. Even then, some malware lies dormant until a specific date or some other trigger activates it. Sometimes referred to as "Time Bombs," this type of delayed execution malware eludes detection until activated. By then, it is too late.
The primary types of cyber-threats include:
- Emotet (advanced modular banking Trojan)
- Denial of Service (DoS)
- Man in the Middle (MITM)
- SQL Injection
- Password Attacks
- Blended Threats (a combination of two or more cyber-threats used together)
Minimizing the risk of cyber-attacks on your network.
The first step in preventing cyberattacks is knowing what kind of threats exist and what points in your network are susceptible to breaches. Once you've identified your risk factors, you can mitigate them with software or hardware solutions.
For most businesses lacking a highly skilled IT team, both identifying risk potential and preventing it is a daunting task. Cyber-criminals are always one step ahead of cyber-security expertise, making it difficult for smaller businesses to keep up to date on the latest risks. For most companies, partnering with a Managed Services Provider that specializes in security is often the most cost-effective way to protect sensitive data.
The importance of having a reliable backup system in place.
The next step in securing your data is to establish and maintain a reliable backup system. For example, with cloud infrastructure, you can use both on-premise and off-site backups for greater security against data loss due to theft, natural disasters like fires, or floods.
Off-site data backup redundancy can also help protect against cyber-attacks and hacking by making extra copies of your backups off-site on a cloud server, ensuring that if your primary backup system is hacked or compromised in any way, you still have a copy of all critical data.
Keep your data safe and secure when working remotely or traveling.
The next step is to keep your data safe and secure when you or your employees work remotely or travel. It's essential that you take the necessary steps to protect your devices and the company network infrastructure that they access remotely.
Change your passwords before you travel.
This simple step will significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access to your devices or accounts. Just do it.
Avoid public wi-fi.
Avoid public wi-fi wherever possible, unless you are working within a trusted environment on a secured wi-fi network.
Disabling your device's automatic connection to wi-fi sources will prevent connecting to an unknown and particularly risky network. When in doubt, tethering to your phone for internet access is much safer than unverified public wi-fi.
Turn off Bluetooth
Don't forget about Bluetooth! Hackers can easily access your devices and get in and out with the data they want without you even knowing it. Buy a nice pair of hardwired headphones if you lie listening to music or podcasts when you travel.
Keep your devices locked.
If you haven't done so already, be sure to turn on authentication functions on your devices. All of your devices should lock by default, requiring password, thumbprint, or PIN authentication to access them.
Encrypt whenever possible
Even when traveling domestically, it might be wise to encrypt any device with sensitive information such as mobile phones and laptops.
Keep your friends close. Keep your data closer.
Ideally, you'll want to keep all sensitive data backed up on a secure remote drive that is not connected to the internet. In addition, using two-factor authentication whenever possible will help avoid using the same passwords across different accounts or devices.
Use current anti-virus protection.
By ensuring you have the latest anti-virus protection on your devices, you can eliminate the vast majority of security threats to your devices and data. We all know it, but we don't always do it.
Update your operating systems
Much of the malware that exists finds its way into your computer through holes in operating systems or software. While they can be irritating, performing OS and software updates whenever they become available is one of the best ways to protect yourself from cyber-attacks.
Separate your accounts
When using multiple devices, it is helpful to create separate accounts for different purposes. This ensures that sensitive data will not be shared by accident - for example, having one account with a personal email and another used solely for work-related emails.
Be careful with Social Media.
We all know we're not supposed to post about our fantastic travel destinations while our home sits empty. But some social media platforms automatically publish your location information, even if you're not posting about your travels. Turning off your location-sharing functionality will eliminate that risk.
We hope you've found the information in this blog post helpful in introducing you to some of the basics of IT security management.
If you'd like more information on how Matrix-NDI can help you protect your data, give us a call or send us an email! We'd love to show you how a managed security solution can benefit your organization. We think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how affordable peace of mind can be.
Give us a call today at 763.475.5500 or email us at ContactUs@Matrix-NDI.com to learn more about how affordable and easy securing your business data can be. We've got a full suite of solutions that will keep your business secure from the inside out!