Sad fact: if you have a business website, you’re a potential target for a cyber security attack.
Last year, the online research from companies such as Gartner and others clearly demonstrate the rapid growth in malware attacks, phishing attacks, ransomware and others. In fact one of the few cyber security items to be in decline was the humble virus!
These cyber attacks can take many forms. From the “classic” Nigerian Prince scam emails, to dodgy links cloaked as official links to organizations such as the post office, IRS, Apple or Microsoft (for example) to infected files on popular filesharing sites. It has never been harder to protect yourself and your company from such attacks, and there’s never been a more important time than right now to take necessary preventive steps.
So how are you meant to defend yourself and y0ur company from attacks like that?
Firstly, you want to make sure all your servers, workstations and laptops are running the latest versions of their operating systems. This includes any patches or security updates which are available.
Secondly, you’ll want to ensure you’ve got any instances of Microsoft Office updated with the latest security patches. Obviously this has become much easier with Office 365 which auto-updates, but if you’re still on Office 2013 or earlier, this point still carries.
You’ll also want to ensure you’re using a solid internet security suite on your machines. There are plenty of options to choose from, ultimately it will come down to your personal preference, budget and specific needs. The main thing is to make sure that your signature files are always updated to ensure you’re always protected from the latest cyber attacks.
Beyond the desktop & server, you’ll want to invest in a proven firewall technology. A good firewall will prevent around 90% of outside cyber attacks when it’s configured properly with the most appropriate rules in place. You may choose to have an onsite, infrastructure-based firewall, a virtual firewall, or even a managed firewall service. There are many reasons for choosing each option, which will depend on similar factors as the internet security suite.
Last of all, but possibly most important of all – you need to educate your staff. Help them understand the risks of opening spam email, clicking on any suspicious links or opening unexpected attachments in emails. This is one element of insider threat, which is the biggest problem most businesses face when it comes to cyber security – because it’s the weakest link in the chain!
Where software and hardware can follow strict guidelines and instructions, humans can be manipulated and tricked into inadvertently disclosing confidential information about themselves, your company or your clients.
Cyber security needs to be everybody’s problem in your business. Help your staff to identify the threats early so they can avoid being victims of ransomware or other cyber threats.
It’s certainly not an easy task, but with these tips at least you’ll be better prepared for protecting your business from the risk of cyber attacks.
You can always call on the services of a specialised IT security firm if this seems too much for you to take on, of course!