Cybersecurity Survival Guide
Cybercrime is on the rise. Even without diving into research and statistics, we know this to be true. Barely a day goes by without some cybersecurity incident affecting business or government stealing the headlines – so when we do take a look at the figures, we should be neither shocked nor surprised to observe the graph lines climbing.
Over 70% of security breaches target small to medium sized businesses, yet many business owners believe they are not vulnerable to cyberattacks because of their small size and limited assets. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Consequences of Data Theft
Cybercrime is relentless, undiminished, and unlikely to stop. Why? Because cybercrime is a low-risk crime with potentially high-profit pay-offs.
Cybercrime remains far too easy since many technology users fail to take the most basic protective measures, and many technology products lack adequate defenses.
Personal information is a common target of criminals. Even the smallest businesses are likely to handle some personal customer or vendor data worth stealing.
Account information, including credit card data, bank account numbers, online banking passwords, email accounts, and user credentials, is also a popular target of cyber criminals.
Train and Educate Your Staff About Cybercrime Threat
What does it really mean to be prepared when it comes to protecting your business against cybercrime? First, it means training and educating your staff on cybersecurity. Untrained and uneducated staff represent the weakest points in any cyber-defense system – even one that is otherwise well tooled-up and strong. Organizations need to realize that they are just one weak password or one careless click on a phishing email away from a serious data breach – and all employees need to be hyper-aware of this, too.
Expect Attacks, and Prepare
If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail, and all CIOs and CEOs at all organizations should know that their business is a target, and will be targeted by cybercriminals sooner or later.
Organizations need to be making regular and thorough analyses of the cybercrime threat landscape by analyzing the threats that are particular to their business, and building an armory of the most appropriate cybersecurity tools ahead of time – instead of waiting until the horse has bolted before they lock the stable door.
Get the Basics Right and Regularly Update Your Systems
Implementation of basic security measures – such as regular updating and patching – remains critical in protecting businesses against the most common threats of cybercrime.
The risks are too great to take your eye off the ball for an instant – and the costs of a breach too severe to be stingy with budgets. Old and outdated systems are chock-a-block with security vulnerabilities, which can and will be exploited to carry out cybercrime attacks. Time must be invested to have them routinely updated – and money invested in robust defensive technologies such as strong firewalls and the latest security software.
Encrypt and Backup Your Data
Data needs to be hidden, out of sight, and out of access. There needs to be layers between your systems. The more walls, checkpoints and locked doors you can put your data behind, the safer it is.
An effective data protection strategy will only be effective if that data can still be rendered useless should a cybercriminal manage to wriggle through your defenses. Organizations can achieve this by encrypting all sensitive data, including customer and employee information, and all other business data. And again, whatever software is used to perform the encryption must be activated and regularly updated on all company devices and systems.
After encryption comes backup. Cloud solutions are available for this, like Backup as a Service (BaaS), which organizations should be investing in as well.
Prioritize Security by Design
Security can no longer be an afterthought. Patching security holes and addressing vulnerabilities only after they’ve been exploited will never be as effective as designing systems to be as secure as humanly possible from the very start.
When you consider the costs of a breach – loss of productivity, revenue, and reputation; costs of fines, lawsuits, and recalls – security by design investment costs pale to near insignificance in comparison.
Knowing what your most valuable IT elements are, who is using them, what the access is, and then using the best possible security possible around them is an important step.
Protecting your business against cybercrime never ends. It is an ongoing commitment an organization must make at all levels and at all times. Employees must be adequately trained, security investments must be made, and all data must be locked away, backed up and encrypted. Above all, a true culture of security must be fostered – protecting against cybercrime doesn’t just mean avoiding the perils of cyberattacks, but ensuring the resilience of the entire business.
Need help with your cybersecurity strategy? Contact Plow Networks.
About Plow Networks
Headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, Plow Networks is a Total Service Provider (TSP) with several distinct business practices that, when consumed together, offer our clients a unique, best-in-class experience. We give organizations peace of mind, valuable time back and the economies of scale that come with having one technology partner that is focused on exceeding their expectations with every engagement.