Healthy Paranoia: Having the Correct Cybersecurity Posture
With businesses embracing a cloud working strategy post-COVID-19, an array of emerging cybersecurity threats have the entire world on high alert. Some of the ever more sophisticated cyberattacks targeting businesses and organizations across all industries include malware, phishing, cryptocurrency attacks, SQL injection, and more. As the industry continues to suffer from these attacks, the severe shortage of cybersecurity professionals is raising the stakes higher than ever.
With thousands of assets in your company being susceptible to multiple attacks, the need to adopt a healthy paranoia and prioritize enterprise security posture has never been so urgent. This blog focuses on the steps to enhance your security posture to preempt attacks and protect your IT environment.
Cybersecurity Statistics Businesses Can’t Ignore
A critical step when prioritizing how to manage your risks is to gather information about the current threat environment. The following are some of the critical cybersecurity statistics to keep in mind:
- Cybercrime is up 600% due to the COVID19
- Studies reveal that 43% of attacks target small businesses
- A recent study reveals 10% of breached small businesses closed down in 2019
- The global average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million
- Remote work has increased the average cost of data breaches by $137,000
- In 2020, the average time to identify a breach was 207 days
- Nearly 95% of cyber breaches are due to human error
- About 94% of malware are delivered by mail
Cybersecurity Risk Factors
The cyberattacks that impacted organizations in the past year reveal common vulnerabilities and exploits that malicious actors leverage to gain access to systems. The following are some of the cybersecurity risk factors to watch out for:
Lack of Adequate Cybersecurity Measures
Internal vulnerabilities account for over 78% of all attacks. Notably, cybercriminals need little vulnerability to hack into organizations and their systems. Simple mistakes such as outdated patch levels and weak passwords make your systems easy targets for attackers. Additionally, relying on a single security layer such as an antivirus program and failure to encrypt data is one way to invite hackers.
Lack of Fundamental Cybersecurity Policy
Security standards are crucial to the adequate protection of your company’s IT infrastructure and other assets. Unfortunately, several entities fail to prioritize effective cybersecurity policies, leading to high-profile security breaches. A robust cybersecurity policy provides standards of behaviors for activities like restrictions on the use of social media and encryption of email attachments.
Lack of Employee Training
Employee training and awareness are critical to your safety. Studies reveal that 95% of cyberattacks can be attributed to human error. Unfortunately, most companies fail to offer adequate security training for both new and current employees on the new generation of threats and ways to protect themselves.
Lack of Incident Report Plan
Recent statistics reveal only 37% of organizations have a cyber-incident response plan. Being prepared for a security attack needs a well-thought-out plan that covers the specific actions to prevent attacks and relevant strategies for minimizing damage should an attack take place.
How to Improve Your Organization’s Security Posture
The following are the key steps to improve your cybersecurity practices and achieve a new level of security readiness:
Automate Cyber Hygiene
Cyber hygiene is increasingly gaining popularity as one of the best practices to enhance the overall cybersecurity health of your environment. Automating best practices is effective in achieving positive outcomes. Some of the basics to automate and eliminate the guesswork out of your security efforts include:
- Using solid passwords: A critical aspect of solid passwords is length. Ideally, the longer the password, the better the protection. Consider also mixing letters (upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols. Avoid using personal information and common dictionary words.
- Multifactor authentication: Multifactor authentication requires a user to provide at least two pieces of evidence to prove their identity before being allowed access to devices and systems. If one of the factors has been compromised by a hacker, the chances of another factor being compromised remain low. Multifactor authentication can be passwords, PINS, KBAs, SMS, fingerprints, voice, face.
- Automated phishing detection: Automated phishing functionality is designed to mark suspicious emails and take action automatically
- Automated software updates: With this functionality, crystal software updating and patching become routine, meaning it won’t require user initiation.
Audit and Categorize Risks
Ideally, each device, system, app, or software within your organization presents a unique risk. For example, your employees could use an endpoint in an unauthorized manner, and your software could contain several unpatched vulnerabilities. Maintaining a regular security inventory of all your systems can help you respond appropriately to several security incidences. Some of the tips to help you audit and inventory your assets include:
- Audit your devices, systems, and software, document their risk levels, and maintain security incident response plans,
- Validate current security controls, and determine whether additional controls are necessary
- Continuously monitor for change
As mentioned earlier, the most vulnerable point in any network is the human employees. Ongoing education about online safety is the only effective way to secure your networks. Strive to create a security culture for staff to understand the threats, spot danger signs, and know-how to report what looks suspicious.
Establish a Robust Cyber Security Policy
Security policies protect your organization’s IT infrastructure by clearly outlining the actions to be taken to safeguard critical information/intellectual property. Some of the fundamentals of a robust cyber security policy include:
Scheduled patching: Update your software regularly to support newer versions and maintain a tight schedule to implement the latest patches.
- Establish perimeter wall: Perimeter firewalls monitor access to a network and protect against unauthorized access.
- Boost email security: Implement robust email filtering systems to eliminate malicious attachments from reaching employee inboxes. You should also sensitize your employees to be aware of suspicious emails and other social engineering methods used by attackers.
- Undertake regular backups: The impact of a successful attack depends on whether you have backed up your data. Having an up-to-date backup mitigates risks and lowers damage. Run regular backups and ensure they are stored securely and isolated from your network. Leverage the 3-2-1 backup rule to ensure you have at least three copies of your data.
- Restrict admin access: Limit access to your most critical systems, data, and a host of other trusted entities. You should also limit what access users have within the systems they are using.
Get Help to Enhance Your Cybersecurity Posture
It might feel overwhelming to take in every threat in today’s ever-evolving cyber risk landscape. However, managed IT service providers like Mathe Inc can help you mitigate against sophisticated threats without requiring additional resources. We have the tools, technologies, and expertise to provide your organization with stable and reliable cloud infrastructure, network services, and cybersecurity solutions to protect your organization from a range of ever-evolving threats. Contact us today to learn more.
With over 35 years in the business of supporting and implementing technology for the SME market, and 6 years previously in Corporate IT and Voice. I have seen a great deal of change. The only common thread is I have always focused on the Business Wise application of Technology. We always try to look 5 years ahead of the current technology to make sure our clients are on the right track to meet current and future needs.