Cyber Security Threats

Cybersecurity threats have gained attention with the increasing use of digital files and data by companies across the globe. The number of data breaches in the United States reached a huge 1,473 in 2019. 164.68 million sensitive records were also exposed the same year. Further, the first half of this year witnessed 540 reported data breaches.

The threats faced by organizations include malware, ransomware, viruses, hacking, and social engineering. With ever-growing threats to businesses, having a robust security solution is essential.

Strategies to Protect a Business against Cyber-Attacks

Here is a list of nine cybersecurity services that can help businesses become more cyber aware and mitigate security threats.

1. Cybersecurity Assessment

Businesses can build adequate defense only when they know where their security parameters stand. Regular cybersecurity assessment is a critical element of any robust security program. It highlights the strengths that businesses can amplify, along with the weaknesses they can improve on.

A cybersecurity assessment gives businesses a clear idea of the loopholes in their security measures and the steps they can take to secure their business environment. It helps organizations prioritize their resources, and avoid losing time and money on wasted efforts. Once businesses get a hold over the prevailing security gaps, they can take their cybersecurity assessment to the next level through a risk management approach.

2. Employee Training

Cyber-attackers are always looking for ways to infiltrate the target business's network. An organization's least informed employee can be the weakest link in cybersecurity and might fall for phishing or social engineering tactics. It is, therefore, important for businesses to provide extensive cybersecurity training to their employees.

Organizations should make sure that their teams know how cyber-attackers can trick them into clicking malicious links and downloading attachments. Employees should also be trained to identify suspicious emails and phone calls.

All in all, organizations should have strong internal policies aligned with cybersecurity best practices that each employee should be familiarized with. Further, businesses should encourage all team members to watch out for each other while becoming an extension of their security team.

3. Software Update

Businesses should make sure that they use the latest versions of the software. Outdated programs are susceptible to zero-day exploits and attacks and can lead to data theft, network penetration, and severe damage.

Business software should be upgraded as soon as updates are released. These updates detect any new viruses and abnormalities within the system. Implementing vulnerability management processes that check for missing patches and exposed vulnerabilities should also be prioritized.

4. Round-the-Clock Threat Monitoring

Cyber-attacks can happen at any time. Businesses should implement 24X7 monitoring capabilities to constantly stay vigilant and mitigate cybersecurity threats before they can cause damage.

Organizations can leverage Security Event and Incident Monitoring (SEIM) software to receive alerts on suspicious user activity or data anomalies that may indicate that an attack is underway. Further, businesses can use additional backing from Reston IT support security analysts, who are trained in proactively interpreting and acting on the alerts.

5. Incident Response Plan

Businesses should always be prepared to respond to a security breach or cyber-attack. An incident response plan helps organizations defend themselves from the effects of a data breach.

A cybersecurity incident response plan is a set of instructions designed to help businesses prepare for, detect, respond to, and recover from network security incidents. These plans are technology-centric and address issues like malware detection, data theft, and service outages. In short, an incident response plan minimizes damage, protects a business's data, and helps organizations recover from the incident instantly.

6. Least Privilege Access Management

Implementing the principles of least privilege enables businesses to give users, programs, and processes only the bare minimum privileges necessary to perform their functions. For instance, a user account created for extracting records from a database doesn’t need admin rights. Similarly, a programmer whose main function is updating lines of code doesn’t require access to the company’s financial records.

In other words, organizations should define access privileges by job function, level, and role. They should make sure that only administrators have access to the full functionality of a tool, system, and network. The rest of the employees should have access only to the functions, data, and areas pertaining to their job. This way, even if cyber-attackers gain access through an employee's credentials, the damage they cause will be limited to the rights defined solely for that person.

7. Anti-Virus Protection and Firewall

The most prevalent solution to fighting malicious attacks is by using anti-virus programs and firewalls.

Antivirus software blocks malware and other malicious viruses from entering a business's device and compromising their data.

The firewall helps organizations screen out hackers, viruses, and other malicious activity that occurs over the Internet while determining what traffic should be allowed to enter a business's device.

8. Multi-Factor Authentication

To make access more secure, organizations can look beyond passwords and add additional layers of security through multi-factor authentication. This process prompts a person to enter an additional authentication factor such as a one-time password (OTP) or biometric expressions such as fingerprint, iris scan, and face recognition.

By using multiple credentials instead of just one, the authentication process will remain secure even if the original password is compromised.

9. Protection of Sensitive Personal Identifiable Information (PII)

PII is any information that can be misused by a cybercriminal to identify or locate an individual. It includes information such as name, address, phone numbers, date of birth, Social Security Number, IP address, financial data, location details, and more. Identity thieves can steal and sell the exposed PII on the dark web. They can also use it for opening credit cards in an individual’s name and making fraudulent purchases.

Identity theft can be prevented by adopting the following measures:

  • Users should be cautious about revealing personal and business information online. They should also consider reviewing their privacy settings across all their social media accounts.
  • The use of different passwords for different accounts is advised. Users should also make it a point to not write their passwords anywhere or reveal them to anyone. Instead, they can use a password manager to save and store their complex passwords.
  • Organizations should include a firewall in their systems to prevent unauthorized access to critical business data.
    Staff should be vigilant to identify phishing and spoofing emails. These emails might contain malware that can steal the user’s personal information.
  • It is best to use digital wallets, which make online monetary transactions secure by tokenizing and encrypting them.

Wrap Up

From using multi-factor authentication to installing anti-virus and firewall, keeping a business safe from cyber threats requires effective IT security strategies. The cybersecurity tips mentioned above can help organizations mitigate cyber-attacks seamlessly. Implementing them will ensure that businesses thwart potential cyber threats and minimize the effects of any harm caused.