Many organizations simply don’t realize the cyber risk that is out there for their businesses. In some cases, they think they are too small to be at risk, in others, they simply do not understand what methods are available to cyber criminals to attack your business.
You understand that cyber criminals are interested in pure profit, just like any other business. An IT Pro Portal article claims that the 2020 global spend on cyber crime was just over 1 trillion dollars. They quote a report from Atlas VPN, which states that the majority ($945 billion) was lost due to cybersecurity incidents, while the remaining $145 billion was spent on putting protections in place. Cyber criminals benefit either by stealing from you directly, by holding your information for ransom, or selling the information they stole from you. Knowing this, here are 5 tips you can use to protect your business from cyber attacks.
- Recognize the risks to your business
Knowing that there are criminals out there that want your data is the first step to reducing your risk of attack. Anyone with IT systems can have those systems disabled by a cyber criminal. Certainly, any systems that store financial information are a great attack vector, but people working from home are also vulnerable to attack. Once you understand what puts your business at risk and how, then you can begin the protection process.
- Secure your systems
Now that you know where and how your business is at risk, it is time to protect it. At a minimum, having a firewall and an endpoint protection system is a must! Depending on your resources, you can always add more security, such as multifactor authentication, VPNs or zero trust architecture.
- Recognize the role of staff in online security
Whether you know it or not, your staff have a key role in your business’s cyber security. They can be either the greatest strength or weakness when it comes to protecting your business. Many a breach has occurred by a staff member unknowingly releasing malware onto the system by either clicking on a link they shouldn’t have in a phishing email, or by plugging in a USB stick they found into a business PC. Regular cyber awareness training for your staff can help lessen this risk, in addition to setting up workplace cyber security policy guidelines for staff to follow, i.e.: no removable devices allowed.
- Back up your data
One of the biggest cyber risk to business these days is the threat of ransomware. Ransomware is an attack where cyber criminals infiltrate your network (either by sending a virus or by getting in via an open RDP session or hacked password) and encrypt all the data so it becomes unusable. The cyber criminals are banking on the fact that you will be so desperate to get access to that data back that you will pay them for the decryption key. This is where having secure, offline and offsite back-ups come into play. By having your data backed-up in this way, it means if some cyber criminal comes along and says they have encrypted your data, you can simply ignore their request and restore your systems from the back-up. Of course, should you suffer a ransomware attack, make sure you do a thorough investigation to not only learn how they got in, but to make sure that all trace of the malware has been removed and the cyber criminal can no longer access your network.
- Hire expertise if you don’t have it
If you are an SMB, hiring one or two cyber security professionals might be cost prohibitive. While cyber security may not be your business’s area of expertise, you will find other businesses out there that can provide cyber security services out there to suit your needs and budgets. Whether you just need some consulting on a project, or if you require 24×7 support, there are Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP) out there who can help. Uzado Inc. is an MSSP that provides 24×7 managed cyber security and professional services to help businesses reduce their risk and ensure they comply with their client, supplier and government contractual mandates.