Data breach attacks are only getting more sophisticated and gaining more traction. They're happening to individuals at home, employees within organizations who click on the wrong link, CEOs who are targeted in a Business Email Compromise, and the list goes on. What's even worse is that small- to medium-sized businesses are more of a target than the large corporations. According to Verizon's 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report, 61% of all data breach victims are businesses under 1,000 employees.
How are we providing attackers with access to our information systems?
Although sophisticated cyber attacks are growing and getting more tactical, their strategies have not changed that much over the years. Cyber criminals are driven by money and information, specifically personal identifiable information (PII) or personal health information (PHI) which enables them to succeed via identity theft.
The caveat? Most of the time, there are ways to prevent these attacks (which will be discussed later in this article). For now, let's discuss how we are providing access to our information systems through the following avenues:
- Organizations are utilizing old or out-of-date technologies (expiration dates don't just relate to food),
- Passwords are weak, predictable, and not updated/changed on a regular basis,
- Employees are not educated on what to look for in terms of questionable emails, advertisements, or websites,
- Organizations lack good and thorough security policies and procedures.
It's time to put some defense mechanisms in place.
As mentioned earlier, there are many methods with which to prevent cyber threats and attacks. Preventing a data breach within your organization comes with a layered approach to security. So, let's discuss that layered approach and defense-in-depth plan.
First things first, if you don't know what your organization currently has or needs in terms of security technology, the first step would be to conduct a security assessment. The assessment will evaluate your current state of affairs, identifying both weaknesses and strengths while taking an inventory of your infrastructure. Once the assessment occurs, it's now time to identify what is needed for security technologies which might include any of the following:
- Network performance monitoring, server and desktop patching, vulnerability scans, and email filtering,
- Cloud file backup and recovery should any data be lost,
- Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) which captures the tens of thousands of events on your network daily and sends alerts when these begin to look like malicious threats,
- Email encryption and spam filtering. Protect sensitive data in documents you are passing between you, your clients, and partners while also protecting your end users from phishing and spam emails.
It's now time to train your employees how to recognize suspicious or threatening emails, websites, and advertisements. Educating your end users on how to be leery of questionable activity is your best defense mechanism against cyber threats and attacks.
After all of the above is said and done, employ a professional to write comprehensive security policies and procedures which should include the following:
- Information Security Policy
- Technology Acceptable User Agreement
- Business Continuity Plan
Success is dependent upon action.
At the end of the day, protecting your organization against external threats is what keeps sophisticated cyber attackers at bay. Ignoring the inevitable threats or thinking it won't happen to your organization is a recipe to leaving your network open to vulnerabilities.
To begin the process of creating a layered approach to network security, sign up to receive a network security assessment by clicking on the button below.