What Is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is one of the single most important topics businesses face in 2019 and beyond. However, since cybersecurity is a multi-faceted, constantly evolving threat, it’s difficult for many companies to fully understand what cybersecurity is and why you must care about it.
Simply put, cybersecurity is the strategic protection of your company from cyber threats. These threats come in many shapes and sizes, including phishing, malware, and social engineering. Protecting yourself on so many fronts at once is a huge task, and it requires careful coordination on several fronts:
- People – all your employees must understand exactly what threats are out there and how to properly respond. Your IT Department must be able to provide protection and act quickly in the case of an emergency.
- Processes – it’s critical to have strategies in place for preventing cyber threats to reach your organization in the first place and how to respond in real-time. A perfect example is the use of a technology use clause in employment contracts that holds employees responsible for using their work computers safely.
- Equipment – without the right technology protecting your company, you’ll have very little chance against sophisticated attackers. This includes software, hardware, and endpoint devices.
Now that we have a solid framework for basic cybersecurity, it’s time to take a look at some cyber threats businesses face. Below, we’ll talk about these cyber threats and how to best protect yourself.
1. Social Engineering and Phishing
Social engineering attacks are when an individual attempts to persuade another person to provide sensitive information. Phishing is perhaps the most common social engineering threat. Phishing attempts tend to come in two forms. First, they will provide a form that looks like a login screen to get users to simply enter their login information directly. The second form is by use of malware. By tricking users to click and link that installs malware, they will be able to track any passwords you enter. Even worse, they will be able to use your account to try and infect other devices in the organization.
Protection from social engineering threats is twofold. First, employees must be trained to identify phishing attempts and ignore them. Unknown links and forms must never be filled out or clicked. People must slow down and carefully inspect any email they read, even if it appears to be a legitimate source. Second, your organization must have strong anti-malware on any devices and strong email filters that can identify and neutralize threats in real-time.
2. Advanced Persistent Threats
If your company stores valuable data then you could be a target for advanced persistent threats, which is when an unauthorized individual gains access to your database and camps there, gathering data over the long-term. The damage caused by somebody stealing your organization’s data for months or even years could be irreparable, so prevention and early detection are the names of the game here. Signs of APT include unusual spikes of data, data being organized in places it otherwise should not be, or an increase in system activity during down periods.
3. Network Security
An organization must protect its network at all costs. If somebody is able to gain unauthorized access to your network, they can steal your data, they could alter or kill your mission-critical processes, they can do whatever they want.
Here are a number of tips for improving network security throughout your organization:
- Strengthen access control – passwords must be difficult for hackers to guess and should be changed frequently so if somebody does gain access to a password they cannot use it for very long. Permissions should be granted sparingly, on a for-need basis only.
- Update software immediately – constantly updating your operating systems and various software versions is a time-consuming hassle, but those security updates are the difference between keeping your network protected and leaving it vulnerable.
- Use a VPN – a virtual private network encrypts all data flowing out of your device. This protects your data whether users are connecting on a public wireless connection at a coffee shop or working from home. You should require VPN use whenever somebody accesses important company data or systems.
The only way to truly make sure your company is truly secure is by staying constantly vigilant. Having the right Toronto IT Support team on your side is a great way to get a helping hand against the numerous cybersecurity threats out there. To see how Checksum Systems can help keep your business safe, give us a call at 416-572-2064 or click here.