The best ways to protect your business from cyber threats in 2021
By Steve Hennessy, Head of Cyber at Babble Cloud
Cyber-attacks don’t just happen to large corporations. Any business can fall foul of cyber-crime, but the best way to protect your business against attack is to be prepared. Here’s the heads-up on some of the biggest cyber threats to look out for so far this year and how to prevent them.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to security
Think about house security. We all have locks on our doors, but how about gated entry, an alarm system, window bars or a video doorbell? We all use varying degrees of security to protect ourselves depending on our perceived level of risk. The same methodology should be used when considering cybersecurity. A business with thousands of employees accessing data via different devices will have completely different risks to those of one person using a private laptop to access basic documents.
When it comes to cybersecurity, there are several different combinations of technology and techniques you can use to protect your organisation’s data. The problem for most businesses is discovering where best to focus their spend. Working with specialist partners, such as Babble, simplifies the process, offering expert business insight into the cybersecurity solutions you ought to consider.
A cybersecurity specialist will help your business put up the best defence against attacks. This includes physical protection, technological implementation and improving business processes through user awareness training and education programmes.
Protect your business by protecting your users
Your end users will either be your business’ best line of defence or your biggest vulnerability. Most cyber threats stem from users: your employees and your customers. It’s important to make them aware of their own responsibilities.
Delivering cyber training is not a tick box exercise. Incorporating it into an induction programme or a lunch-and-learn session simply isn’t going to have a lasting impact and instead leaders must provide regular training to ensure employees know the role they play in protecting the business.
Trust your people, trust your tech
Most organisations try to nurture a company culture built on trust and respect. However, procedures should be in place to ensure sensitive data doesn’t get shared externally by those classed as ‘malicious insiders’.
Investing in strong cyber technology and having a clear understanding of where your data is kept and how it can be accessed, are some of the best ways to prevent malicious insiders being able to impact your business.
Don’t play a blame game
We’ve seen it too many times. A cyber-attack occurs; two parties are impacted and neither wants to take responsibility. Cyber-attacks are complex and in most cases there isn’t a clear point of fault. Yet scenarios like this damage relationships and can lead to business partnership breakdowns. The best way to avoid this is to ensure your own cyber strategy game is stronger than ever.
Invest in the right technology
Most businesses will invest in varying levels of cybersecurity technology. It’s integral to any business resilience plan. However, there are ways to go above and beyond to ensure your tech blocks potential cyber-attacks.
Multi-factor authentication, for example, is a great safety net for employees. It only allows access once the user presents two or more pieces of evidence to show they are who they say they are (such as a code sent to their mobile phone or a second email address). If an employee accidentally clicked on a harmful link and an attacker gained access to their log-in details, multi-factor authentication would prevent the attacker from being able to actually gain access to any data.
Technology is also available that will scan links automatically, blocking illegitimate users from gaining access to a harmful site. This extra layer of security will help catch sneaky attempts to hack into your system.
Understand where your data is being kept
You should know where your data is kept, how it’s being secured and who can access it. Every device within the organisation should be able to be identified, with data backed up off-site. Understanding this infrastructure will help you identify potential weak spots and put measures in place to prevent attack.
Cloud-based systems are much safer as your business’ data is kept securely. Cloud technology brings with it built-in robust security features, so you can rest assured your data is being looked after safely.
The aftermath of COVID-19
Security limitations have suddenly got wider as more and more employees work remotely. Instead of managing workers in a small range of satellite offices, businesses have employees working in hundreds of different settings.
Are employees using shared WiFi? Are they working from their own devices? Agile working revolves around enabling employees to work effectively from anywhere. This includes working safely from different locations, with no additional risk of a cyber-attack.
Your organisation has probably made tech decisions based on an office working structure, not anticipating a sudden and widespread shift towards home working. As businesses prepare their return-to-work plans, will your cybersecurity fit the bill? Organisations should review and renew their tech stack with urgency.
Ultimately, if your work environment looks the same as it did twelve months ago, something has gone wrong. Short-term solutions should be reviewed with a long-term goal in mind.
Cyber-crime is big business
Organisations are spending more than ever to protect themselves against cyber-attacks. But the costs of a breach are rising too and a significant data breach could cost your business money and damage your reputation.
Following a data breach, criminals will often attempt to sell personal information on the dark web. Some credit companies, such as Experian, now offer dark web monitoring, helping you to find out if personal information has been compromised. This enables you to take additional steps to prevent fraud, protect your finances and ensure your identity is kept safe.
Consider Cyber Essentials certification
Cyber Essentials is a Government backed scheme that offers advice on how to protect your business against common cyber-attacks. It will certify either by self-assessment or hands-on technical verification that your business has put necessary protections in place. Babble’s cyber experts can guide you through the process and help you get certified. This will enhance customer trust and potentially attract new business, as certification is proof that you’re taking data protection and cybersecurity seriously.
Partner with cyber experts to support your people
Make sure your team knows who to turn to for advice should they need it. From an in-house team of IT experts through to outsourced cybersecurity specialists, your team should have access to professionals who can help answer specific queries or help to identify cybersecurity-related issues.
Businesses must recognise the importance of executive management engagement in cyber-related policies. Boosting cyber resilience can often rely on securing buy-in from business leaders and releasing the budget to enhance cybersecurity. Leaders must step up now and realise cybersecurity is not optional: it’s essential.
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