All businesses, big or small, are under a threat of a cyber-attack. Businesses in the SME segment are often unprepared for a cyber-attack, which makes them highly vulnerable to such attacks. Cyber-attacks are usually meant to access, alter or kill confidential information and data, interrupt regular business processes, and sometimes steal money, objects or identities from individuals or organisations more generally. In order to defend themselves from such threats, businesses need cyber security in place to ensure your business is protected from cyber-attacks at all times. Here are a few tips on how to protect your business from a cyber-attack at any given time:
- Security Assessment: If you’re serious about cyber security, particularly if you don’t know when your last security assessment took place, this should be your very first priority. A risk analysis from a credible, long-standing managed security service provider will be able to identify the most common threats facing companies in your sector and provide a general action plan to address vulnerabilities.
- Keep All Of Your Software Updated: Any and all of the software utilised by your company and your employees should be updated to the latest version. Old applications may have loopholes that can be exploited by hackers to enter your company networks and steal sensitive data, launch a cyber-attack, and cause a massive amount of damage to your business and its reputation.
- Cybersecurity hardware: A VPN-capable firewall will allow you to encrypt all communications whether you are in the office or in a coffee shop. It will prevent Remote Desktop Protocol brute-force attacks (which we find is the most common attack source for ransomware), it will log and prevent any intrusion attempts, and it can serve as a filter so employee cannot access potentially harmful websites while logged in as well.
- Data encryption: It remains one of the most efficient forms of safety against data breaches. An effective cybersecurity strategy gives a lot of value to data backup and data encryption. This way if your company’s sensitive data falls in the wrong hands, there would be nothing to lose. Make sure you first encrypt and then backup sensitive data, including private customer information, employee information and other types of sensitive business data.
- Staff training: Make sure your team knows how cybercriminals can trick them, how to identify a suspicious email or phone call, especially those that seem to be legitimately from friends or another department. Advise them on how to protect the organisation from these attempts.
- Offer Web Gateway Security: When the vast majority of your company’s work is done online, you need secure web gateway solutions to protect your network’s devices from intrusion and implement company policy on which sites to access. Gateways should include URL filtering, application control for social media management, and methods for rapid detection of potentially malicious code. The best packages also include native data leak prevention.
- Malware scanners: Another low-cost security measure, malware scanners allow you to detect malware threats proactively. There are numerous malware scanners in the marketplace ranging in price and functionality. As with any security measure, ensuring your malware scanner’s system and definitions are up-to-date is crucial– otherwise, the scanner may not detect vulnerabilities properly.
- Incident response plan: A good incident response plan will spell out the right escalation path, so the most equipped team members are notified immediately if there is a problem. It will ensure that everyone understands the steps that need to be taken, who is responsible for which part of the response and even how to communicate to organisation leadership, external stakeholders and the public when necessary.