Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2019 Series – Part 3

Protecting Your Digital Presence  

Welcome to the final part of our Cybersecurity Awareness Month series. This week’s theme is about protecting your presence online.  

We’ll be taking a dive into taking the necessary precautions to shield themselves online from bots, scams, trolls, and thieves. 

Considering the amount of cyberattacks that now target SMBs, the protections that many businesses use to ensure their security are woefully inadequate. 

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.  

For SMBs, this is an unacceptable period of time, given the sky-high costs of network downtime.  

Coupled with a level of preparedness which is well below standard for ensuring business continuity; environments that are unprotected are simply disasters waiting to happen. 

If you haven’t yet seen parts 1 and 2, be sure to check them out before continuing!  

Stay Up-to-date  

Small and midsize businesses have an unfortunate tendency to neglect their security infrastructure.  

It’s far too common for executives and decision makers to think that they’re too small to be targeted, or their data isn’t worth anything to potential cybercriminals.  

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Attacks hit SMBs more than ever—of those that are victims, 60% go out of business within six months. 

Organizations often fall victim because of failing to take basic measures like ensuring that devices in networks are running with the latest software and patches. 

If You Connect, You Must Protect 

  • Use antivirus on all devices: The number of endpoints that exist within any given network is far higher now than in previous years. Whether it’s at home or at the office, there are laptops, mobile devices, printers, PCs, and even refrigerators. IoT tech has proliferated the number of devices that need security. Make sure that any device that accesses data in your network—no matter how small—is protected with antivirus. 
  • Back up: Data is the most important aspect of cybersecurity. Criminals want it and businesses must protect it. Protecting your data means having a plan for recovery. Be sure that you regularly back up your data to ensure its integrity in the event of a breach. 
  • Enable automatic updates: Keeping on top of your network is vital to being sure that you’re staying up to date. Whether it’s cybersecurity software or operating systems, having the latest version might be more important than you think. Updates fix loopholes and exploits that hackers use to gain access to servers—enable automatic updates to give your network its best defense. 

Avoiding Scams & Theft  

Modern technology occupies every facet of our lives—from just our phones we can bank, shop, control our TV, get paid. Tech devices contain a wealth of sensitive information valuable to cybercriminals.  

This kind of personal data is extremely useful to hackers, and one of the primary reasons they target SMBs.  

Last year, it was reported that the number of exposed consumer records containing sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) increased by 126%. 

The need to protect personal data; yours or a customer’s data, is one of the top challenges in modern business. 

Cybercriminals use a variety of sophisticated tactics to take advantage of exploits and steal data.  

This data can be then be used for identity theft or imposter scams, for example, or sold on the black market. 

Safeguarding Data 

  • Step up your login: Enabling multi-factor/two-factor authentication dramatically shortens your odds of becoming the victim of a hack. Virtually all account hacks are blocked by using a multi-factor system—usually in the form of a fingerprint, password or verification text combination. 
  • Practice WiFi safety: Your network is the most secure environment for handling your data. Some businesses are reluctant to allow working from home for fear of employee security breaches while out-of-office. If you’re operating outside of your secure network, be sure to surf the web safely and take all necessary precautions—particularly when using a public network. 
  • Establish password protocol: Whether for a business or personally, it’s always good to have a protocol in place for passwords. Ensure they’re hard to guess and change them on a pre-defined schedule.

Protect Your Digital Environment 

This is the primary goal of any business or individual conscious of their cybersecurity—protecting the environment in which all devices operate. 

The amount of devices that we rely on to run our homes and businesses necessitates a strong level of security. 

For individuals, this means properly securing your network and the personal devices that operate within it.  

For businesses, the proposition requires a lot more work. The increasing threats of cybersecurity, coupled with the unreadiness of SMBs, is a recipe for disaster. 

Though small and midsize businesses are attempting to close the cybersecurity gap to larger organizations, there is still a shocking amount of companies that lack the basic infrastructure to protect their work environments. 

Just 38% of SMBs have an active cybersecurity strategy in place. For those that don’t, they’re easy pickings for experienced cybercriminals.  

It’s because of this that businesses are seeking the expertise of managed security service providers to help them secure their organizations. 

Build a Barrier Between You and Them  

  • Get an assessment: This is, of course, more pertinent to businesses, but nonetheless crucial. There are many organizations that operate under the assumption that they won’t be targeted, and therefore don’t have to think too much about security. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Have a professional audit and vulnerability assessment can be a sobering but necessary step in ensuring protection. Your network will be scanned for weak points and actionable recommendations can be made to mitigate potential danger. 
  • Safeguard your perimeter: Your perimeter is the only thing that stands between your inward-facing network (intranet) and public-facing network (internet). Utilize unified threat management to give you a simple but comprehensive package for security across your entire digital environment. 
  • Monitoring: For SMBs, monitoring your network is a crucial aspect of a strong cybersecurity strategy. This way, threats can be headed off before they develop into something more serious. For those who partner with MSSPs, these threats will often be dealt with before the client was ever aware of any danger. 

 

Impact 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.