Since advanced IT tools are becoming more affordable by the day, cybercriminals are becoming more proficient at infiltrating networks. For instance, brute force attacks — attempts at guessing billions of username and password combinations — are now much easier to perform because hackers have access to greater processing power.
Cybercrime takes many forms. Saboteurs can damage the integrity of company data, make firms unable to conduct business by overloading their networks, or hijack systems and make companies act in a reputation-damaging way. Corporate spies can steal intellectual property, scam artists can divert company funds and payroll to offshore accounts, and thieves can steal the financial information of employees and customers. And over the years, the “dark web” emerged and now fosters a cybercriminal economy where malicious tools and techniques are bought and sold. Cybercrime is becoming such big business that it is fast becoming the number one threat that organizations around the globe face.
According to a recent Cybercrime Report by Cybersecurity Ventures and Herjavec Group, the damage caused by cybercrime may reach up to $6 trillion every year by 2021. To survive an ever-treacherous IT landscape, firms must take preventive measures. Here are our top six tips for keeping cyberattackers at bay:
☐ Partner up with a cybersecurity expert
Protecting your company from external threats is a full-time job that only qualified personnel can do. If the mission of your business is far removed from IT, then implementing cybersecurity measures on your own will easily become an exercise in futility.
There are always continuous updates to install, new threats to be aware of, new data regulations to comply with, and new methodologies to adopt. All of these will greatly detract from what you do best: your actual business. Look for a cybersecurity partner with expertise in your industry as well as years of experience under their belt. Look for one that handles dozens of clients at any one time — that type of MSP encounters and effectively responds to the broadest range of cybersecurity threats, a feat you’d be hard pressed to accomplish on your own. Cybercriminals like to target low-hanging fruit, and a reliable partner will keep you as far away from them as possible.
☐ Implement multifactor authentication for log-ins
Data breaches are often the fault of your own employees. They can lose the laptops or smartphones they use for work, forget to limit access rights to sensitive files, or intentionally destroy data or disseminate it to unauthorized parties.
Requiring internal and external users to authenticate their identities beyond the usual username and password method (e.g., one-time passcodes delivered via apps or SMS, fingerprint scans, and retina scans) can help you regulate access to your data and thereby control what happens to it.
☐ Provide continual cybersecurity training to employees
Everyone from the rank and file to the C-suite would do well to learn how to recognize and take proper action against phishing emails, malware infections, and other cyberthreats. Even IT staff with administrator rights can be scammed and give way to privileged credential abuse. In fact, according to a survey that looked into companies that were recently breached, 74% of IT managers said that they suffered breaches involving these types of rights abuse.
Additionally, train staff how to handle company files. By reinforcing the importance of password best practices and handling files securely, they become imprinted on everyone’s mind and internal data leaks are more likely to be avoided.
☐ Devise an emergency response strategy in case you are attacked
You must work with your cybersecurity partner to come up with a comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery plan that will give you the means to navigate a crippling cyberattack. Include dry runs in your training regimen to ensure that your staff knows exactly what to do in case of a cybersecurity incident.
☐ Make sure that your systems are always up to date
Outdated programs can have vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Patches and updates neutralize such vulnerabilities, so have your cybersecurity partner keep you on the safe side of things. If you’re not in the habit of checking hardware and software developer websites for any critical updates and installing them right away, your cybersecurity partner can take this worry off your mind.
☐ Apply anti-malware programs and other cybersecurity measures
While these may be the most dated methods in this checklist, it’s still better to have such forms of protection than not. Anti-malware and threat detection programs prevent a wide range of malicious software from gaining access to your systems.
Running a business will always have its challenges. When it comes to data security, turn to XBASE Technologies to help you meet that challenge head-on. Drop us a line to learn how our Exponentially Better™ cybersecurity services will give your business top-notch protection.
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