You don’t have to increase spending to improve cybersecurity, but every business can be more strategic about what they spend where.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) need to improve cybersecurity. They aren’t as protected from cyber threats as they should be. Although larger corporations have more data for cyber criminals to take advantage of, SMEs are less likely to have up-to-date cybersecurity defenses, making them tempting – and easy – targets for hackers.
Because SMEs are easier targets, you may feel the need to invest heavily in the right infrastructure to protect your private information. Although improving cybersecurity is a must, a good strategy doesn’t have to drain your budget; managed services can be a predictable, plannable, and affordable cost. Your MSP can help improve cybersecurity and protect your business and support a stronger strategy that includes:
You’d be surprised how many systems are still running on outdated, unlicensed, or unpatched software. This leaves businesses completely open to attack, as critical upgrades to prevent data breaches must be installed to protect your organization. Hackers will take advantage of these vulnerabilities in your infrastructure.
Staff training and education.
Human error is the most challenging aspect of cybersecurity because it’s not as easily managed. The only way to mitigate the possibility of mistakes is to educate employees on an ongoing basis. Teach your staff about the latest phishing methods and implement basic policies and procedures to protect business data.
Strict permissions and policies.
Not everyone in your organization should have access to every system. Controlling access to your data to only those who must have such access can limit risk. As well, having strict policies about passwords, email security, and mobile device use can protect your organization.
Offsite backup and data recovery (BDR).
By storing a backup of your data at a secure offsite location, you will have access to the information your business needs to remain in operation, even if your facility is inaccessible or destroyed. Offsite backup and data recovery is critical to all businesses, no matter their size.
Every organization should be using multi-factor authentication because password protection simply isn’t enough to protect your business. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a crucial security layer requiring more than one authentication method to verify a user’s identity.
These basic cybersecurity practices will help you protect your infrastructure in a cost-effective way. SMEs must defend against cybersecurity threats, because they are at risk, more so than larger organizations. These simple steps are the best start to securing your private networks, leaving more money in the budget for the right resources. Don’t fall victim to cyber threats when you can be prepared and remain competitive in a time when IT is your strongest asset.
As a top-rated IT security firm in Canada, we are committed to helping Calgary- and Alberta-based businesses develop proactive, cost-effective IT strategies that minimize risk, maximize efficiency, and build trust with Canadian citizens. Contact us to learn more.
Hackers continuously develop diverse ways of penetrating your cybersecurity defences.
New threats are always around the corner, and it can be difficult for organizations to identify when, where, and how the next breach will occur.
And while there is no fool-proof method to protect your private information, you can be one step ahead of malicious attacks, if you think like a hacker.
By adopting the mindset of those determined to break through your digital walls, you can improve your cybersecurity infrastructure.
Hackers will conduct a thorough investigation of your systems, often dubbed “footprinting.”
Their goal is to find any weaknesses, whether they exist within your own systems or that of third-party vendors.
Footprinting is a careful analysis of your entire system, mapped to identify any potential points of entry.
This is also where insider resources are most commonly utilized, which is why it’s important for organizations to mitigate insider threats before logins and passwords can be used against them.
Run Penetration Tests
Many organizations have begun to employ ethical hackers to test their systems.
There is no better way to determine the strength of your cybersecurity systems than by means of an actual hacking attempt.
If someone can gain access to your network, you’ll be able to clearly see where the holes are and how the hack was accomplished.
Patches are crucial to a strong defence, as something as simple as a delayed update can open a window for malicious software.
Attempt to Gain Access
Gaining access to critical systems is only half the battle.
Once a hacker is inside your network, the next essential element of the attack is to remain unnoticed.
Hackers can exploit the information they have access to, which is why it is so important for organizations to have separate encryptions for different data segments.
Breaches are often a bigger problem than necessary because hackers have found a way to jump from network to network, gaining access to substantial amounts of information.
Some malicious software remains unnoticed for several months, allowing hackers to work quietly in the background.
Repeat the Plan
Once hackers have found a reliable way into your system, they can repeat the process as often as is necessary.
This is also what you must do to ensure that your private data is consistently protected.
Cybersecurity protocols must be run continuously to remain most effective, as hackers’ techniques are constantly evolving.
Certain technologies are quickly becoming obsolete, a reminder to organizations that their cybersecurity strategies must always be at peak performance.
Testing your system regularly is the only way to ensure that hackers cannot take advantage of your weaknesses.
By thinking like a hacker, you can establish a cybersecurity protocol that will keep your sensitive data protected. Otherwise, you leave yourself open to obvious vulnerabilities. Hackers are patient and dedicated. If you don’t notice your weaknesses, a hacker is almost guaranteed to find them. Therefore, you must identify the problem areas of your cybersecurity infrastructure before they are exploited.
The ITeam understands the cybersecurity issues facing Canada. We are committed to helping Calgary- and Alberta-based businesses develop proactive, cost-effective IT strategies that minimize risk and maximize efficiency. Contact us to learn more.
What Breaches Tell Us About Cybersecurity
Every breach offers both the organization experiencing the breach as well as everyone else a reminder of the importance of proactive security measures.
Any time a breach occurs, it reveals any weaknesses in security exploited by hackers.
The following lessons can help prevent further cybersecurity disasters.
Vigilance is necessary
Hackers become more technologically savvy each day, making vigilance essential.
Breaches in cybersecurity will occur, but as demonstrated by the many large corporations, including Equifax, that has been rocked by massive breaches, many of them are likely preventable.
Breaches in security are often exacerbated when organizations ignore basic security measures.
Only when businesses recognize that information is always at risk can they take a more proactive approach in employing measures that can mitigate the losses associated with, if not entirely prevent, data breaches.
A shared economy creates a higher risk
As the sharing economy continues to gain traction and disrupt, organizations must recognize that along with the benefits that may be realized, there is also a risk.
As the shared economy grows, it’s not only consumers who are at risk from data breaches but the companies they work for.
The reality is, breaches are costly and can result in more than simply financial loss.
Stakeholders and investors are wary of businesses that have experienced breaches, as well as are consumers.
A shared economy demands that there are strong cybersecurity protocols across channels.
Third-party vendors can be a risk
Target and Home Depot were both victims of the same malware, and investigations proved that their primary security systems were not the main point of failure.
Granting access to third-party vendors, like offsite HVAC vendors, can allow hackers to embed malware and exploit system vulnerabilities.
Breaches have taught organizations that their vendors must be carefully vetted and should not be given more access than necessary to complete their jobs.
Security connections, passwords, logs, and more must be consistently monitored to find evidence of and prevent breaches.
Everyone is responsible for cybersecurity
Cybersecurity professionals are gaining knowledge from every breach, to help them prevent loss of critical information in the future.
The most important lesson we can learn from data breaches is that everyone within an organization is responsible.
The organization must invest not only in proper security measures and infrastructure but also in policies and procedures that encourage safe practices.
Every person on the staff must be trained to be vigilant, to recognize phishing, to report irregularities.
Companies must develop an entire culture of cybersecurity awareness; otherwise, weaknesses in systems will continue.
The ITeam understands IT Service and all security issues facing Canada. We are committed to helping Calgary- and Alberta-based businesses develop proactive, cost-effective Managed IT strategies that minimize risk and maximize efficiency. Contact us to learn more.
The Canadian government has its doubts about the necessity of eradicating Kaspersky Lab products from U.S. vital programs.
The apprehensions over Russian interference in the U.S. election, proving to be more valid as the investigation continues, have prompted the Trudeau government to improve Canada’s own cybersecurity.
Protecting sensitive data from cyber threats is a constant battle for any organization.
Considering recent global concerns, now is the time to address your own preventative cybersecurity measures.
Understand Your Vulnerabilities
One of the most prominent issues that organizations face is the lack of resources designated to address cybersecurity, as well as a complete lack of understanding of the technological processes necessary to alleviate risk.
By better understanding the vulnerabilities that exist, whether they are specific to your industry or unique to your business, you can address the changes that need to be implemented to ramp up your cybersecurity strategy.
You can also reduce vulnerabilities by identifying personnel who are capable of navigating threats that do occur, as well as investing in an insurance policy in the event of a security breach.
Incorporate Industry Standards
Taking a wait-and-see approach, or simply doing the bare minimum, is not enough.
The Canadian government recognizes that to avoid a breach similar to what has occurred in the U.S., preventative measures must be put in place.
It is no longer enough to incorporate damage control into budget discussions.
Organizations must be one step ahead of potential cyber threats.
To do so, appropriate governance and compliance must be issued as an industry standard.
Risk management should be a pivotal component of a progressive cybersecurity strategy, and employee cybersecurity training must be a requirement.
Hackers are too advanced for organizations to take chances, and lack of awareness is no longer an excuse.
Develop a Response Plan
Does your cybersecurity strategy include a response plan?
Although the goal is to avoid a breach altogether, cyber attacks are inevitable, and it is critical that you have a plan in place to rectify and minimize ensuing damages.
A strong response plan involves a team of IT personnel dedicated to fixing the problem, monitoring for further intrusion, and containing the existing data breach.
Information gained can then be used to prevent future breaches and adjust your strategy to strengthen the weaknesses that were exposed.
The interference of Russian propaganda exposed a critical weakness in the U.S. electoral system.
An entire year later, officials are only truly beginning to understand the extent of the breach.
Malicious access to your systems can have devastating consequences, particularly if it goes undetected.
Hackers will not wait for the challenge of a strong cybersecurity policy to test their abilities.
They will exploit every weakness, reaping the benefits of a forgotten update or lax firewall.
Now is the time to improve cybersecurity for your organization.
As Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale stated, “In an interconnected world and an interconnected society and economy, you are only as strong as your weakest link.”
The ITeam understands the cybersecurity issues facing Alberta and Canada, and we are dedicated to helping Alberta businesses strengthen their cybersecurity. We are committed to helping Calgary- and Alberta-based businesses develop proactive, cost-effective IT strategies that minimize risk and maximize efficiency. Contact us to learn more.
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Calgary, AB T2R 1L3
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The ITeam $$ (403) 750-2540 Calgary, AB5
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