Minimize Cyber Security Threats with these simple steps

It only takes one cyber-attack to devastate an operational system. Most companies take steps to prevent a security leak. However, new cyber security threats and vulnerabilities appear daily. As technology dependency increases, so do the vulnerabilities of anything connected to the internet.

Cyber breaches typically are detected after the attack. So, early detection is key to reduce the impacts.

Cyber breach risks include: Loss of information that can be critical to running your business; Negative impact on customer confidence; regulatory fines (if applicable); and decreased or stopped productivity.

To begin these steps are recommended:

  1. Strong Access Control Procedures. This restricts unauthorized access to company resources by end users and devices. It gives you greater control over your network, data, website, and any sensitive information (which can help you stay compliant with industry standards and regulations).
  2. The principle of least privilege. That means an individual should only have the minimum access to privileges necessary to perform their job. An example of this is removing local administrative rights from end user accounts and denying write access to network resources unless it is required to perform the end user’s job. Know and control who has access to your information. Secure all laptops when they aren’t in use by setting a password protected screen saver to activate after a period of inactivity. Also, do not allow physical access to computers or buildings by unauthorized personnel. It only takes a few seconds to install malware on an unlocked computer.
  3. Require employees to use strong, unique passwords for each account. If the same password and email combination are used for multiple accounts and one of the services is breached, the attacker now has a great starting point for guessing your password on the other account.   Require the use of multi-factor authentication when possible and consider locking user accounts after a set number of failed login attempts to prevent brute force attacks from gaining access.
  4. Employee Awareness: training and testing. Training and testing of employees raises awareness of potential attack vectors and helps employees recognize and avoid becoming victims of an attack. Create Cybersecurity policies and procedures. These policies and procedures include your expectations from your employees for protecting company information.
  5. Strong email SPAM filer. This will prevent many attacks from reaching an employee through email, one of the main attack vectors.
  6. Use strong anti-malware and Endpoint Detection and Response. These tools work together to detect and eliminate malware and other suspicious activity occurring on your network and endpoints.
  7. Update software and hardware with the most current patches. New threats arrive every day. Staying current on updates and patches will help protect against newly discovered attack vectors.
  8. Back-up your data. Back-ups may be your last line of defense in the event of an attack.
    Apply the 3-2-1 rule:
    • 3 copies of your data should exist
    • 2 different types of media should be used in the backups
    • 1 copy of the data should be off site
  9. Review your cyber policies once a year and make any necessary changes.
  10. Penetration testing. Consider having a professional security service perform penetration tests against your IT infrastructure. Penetration tests may reveal previously unknown vulnerabilities in your organization. You will want to find the weakness before the bad guys do.

Companies might also want to consider protecting their business with cyber insurance. Preparing for an attack is the best defense. Cyber insurance helps businesses recover financial losses and pay for recovery steps, such as credit monitoring and notification of affected parties, attorneys’ fees and even the investigation of the breach. Be sure to review, in detail, to understand the types of attacks that are included in the policy.

By raising awareness within your company and being proactive, businesses can better position their companies to face a data breach or cyber-attack.