Advanced Cybersecurity: Why a Firewall Won’t be Enough in 2020

Advanced cybersecurity is fast becoming a necessity for small and midsize businesses.

Cyberattacks are becoming a common news occurrence with buzz about the compromise and theft of personal data, passwords, and private corporate data along with the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars.

86% of U.S. businesses have increased their spending to find tech solutions that will provide the kind of protection they need to thwart this ever-increasing threat.

Unfortunately, rather than lessening their impact, cybercriminals are evolving more sophisticated attacks designed to circumvent common basic IT security tools, such as firewalls.

And their targets are, more often than ever, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

In 2020, SMBs need a lot more than a basic security application.

Small Businesses in the Crosshairs

For cybercriminals, SMBs represent the quintessential low-hanging fruit—an easy, vulnerable, and plentiful target when you consider that nearly 99.7% of all businesses in the U.S. are classified as SMBs.

That’s why savvy cybercriminals focus nearly half of their attacks (47%) on these companies.

The other reason these organizations are choice targets is the lax advanced cybersecurity (or any security for that matter) often present among SMBs.

Many are unprepared for an attack, with no disaster recovery plan in place and few strong security measures to prevent access.

Additionally, they rely on outdated software implemented by an overburdened in-house IT team—or worse yet, they have no in-house team at all to install and monitor appropriate protective measures.

Why a Firewall Is No Longer Effective for Modern Businesses

Regardless of your organization’s size, relying on a firewall for protection from cyberattacks is not enough to protect modern businesses from increasingly sophisticated cyberthreats.

Part of the reason stems from the burgeoning Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Internet of Things (IoT) culture that exists in the current business environment.

Nearly any smart device from phones and laptops to printers, tablets, and televisions can be connected to a business network, creating an access point for criminals and an additional vulnerability.

While an environment featuring BYOD and IoT technology can increase productivity and positively impact workflow and revenue, it also decreases local control, provides additional vulnerability to malware and viruses, requires securing and management of multiple operating systems, and increases the chance of physical theft.

No matter how you look at it, the additional complexity of these time- and money-saving technologies also requires increasingly complex security measures to ensure proper data protection.

Cybersecurity Tools You Need for an Effective Defense

Fortunately, experienced Managed Security Services Partners (MSSPs) have developed advanced cybersecurity measures to take your company’s security to the next level. These include, but are not limited to:

1. Next-Gen Antivirus (NGAV)

Developing technologies and threats require next-gen solutions that can monitor and respond to evolving cyberattack tactics.

These new software products provide solid endpoint security using machine learning to drive predictive analytics that identify malicious behavior and respond to emerging threats.

NGAV is usually cloud-based, so it can be deployed quickly while removing the burden of ongoing maintenance and the management of infrastructure that usually strains in-house IT departments.

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2. Threat Hunting

Many companies employ information security professionals called cyber threat hunters and utilize next-gen software to proactively detect and neutralize the kind of advanced cybersecurity threats that typically evade modern automated security systems.

On average, it takes 197 days to identify a breach within an organization. That’s well over six months to even be aware you’ve been compromised.

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By assuming your system is already compromised, threat hunters can also launch investigations based on tactical threat intelligence to uncover hidden attacks or malicious activities.

This helps companies rout out malicious actors that have stealthily accessed their network while evading typical security measures.

3. Advanced Endpoint Security

Now that BYOD and IoT are complicating secure networks with added endpoints and vulnerabilities, increased endpoint security is a must-have for optimal protection.

Typically, advanced cybersecurity for endpoints includes the use of AI algorithms to protect against a wide array of vectors in real-time.

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4. Education

It may seem simple, but providing appropriate security awareness training to all employees is essential to giving your company an advanced cybersecurity defense from phishing attacks, malware, and other common threats to security.

In the recent past, security breaches have overwhelmingly been caused, either accidentally or intentionally, by people.

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Employees should have a clear understanding of security procedures and vulnerabilities and be trained regularly on how to avoid them.

64% of businesses experienced a phishing attack in the last year

Fortunately, all these tools can be managed for you by a competent, certified MSSP, removing the pressure on in-house IT staff, and increasing threat preparedness overall.

At Impact, for example, we use KnowBe4 security awareness training to keep all our clients up to speed on the latest best practices regarding security.

Tips for Finding the Right Cybersecurity Partner

All MSSPs are not created equal.

To make the right choice of security partner for your advanced cybersecurity needs, you should look for a service that is certified in deploying and managing both your current and proposed security technologies.

A high-quality provider will be willing to provide an audit of your current environment and propose solutions that are customized for your unique level of risks and area of business rather than recommending the most popular options.

This type of personalized service is more often found among MSSPs that are independent.

Be sure that if you are partnering; your provider is using best-in-class solutions and not bound to offer you a package from just one partner.

For example, take a look at Impact’s cybersecurity offering: we have a hand-picked partner we feel is best for each individual job:

  • KnowBe4: Security awareness training management
  • Cisco Meraki: Network and mobile device management
  • Proofpoint: Advanced spam filtering services
  • SentinelOne: Next generation antivirus security system
  • CloudFlare: Web application firewall
  • CodeGuard: Website backup and restore service
  • DigiCert: Secure digital certificates
  • Duo: Two-factor authentication tool
  • JumpCloud: Active directory-as-a-service and identity management provider
  • Passportal: Password management portal

Takeaways

  • Cyberattacks are becoming a daily news occurrence with buzz about the compromise and theft of personal data, passwords, and private corporate data along with hundreds of millions of dollars. Attacks on small businesses make up nearly half of all cyberattacks.
  • The growing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Internet of Things (IoT) culture is creating an access point for criminals and an additional vulnerability. The additional complexity of these time- and money-saving technologies requires increasingly complex security measures beyond simple firewalls.
  • MSSPs can offer specialized tools such as next-gen anti-virus software, threat hunting, advanced endpoint security, and customized education to help protect your business’ data.
  • An independent MSSP that is certified in the complex technologies required offers your best option for optimal protection.

Imapct Networking’s Managed Security program provides vital cybersecurity protection for clients, keeping their minds at ease in the knowledge that their IT infrastructure is being monitored and maintained by our security experts.

We’ve vetted 100s of vendors to ensure that our program utilizes best-in-class solutions for our clients. In today’s landscape, a comprehensive cybersecurity program has never been more important. Learn more about Impact’s offering here.