3 Direct Ways To Improve Your Cybersecurity Right Now
Given how often big-name data breaches make headlines, you probably think cybersecurity is only a concern for big businesses. Whether it’s Colonial Pipeline or Kaseya, they all have in common that they operate on a larger scale than your organization.
However, you shouldn’t let your small size, or the fact that you’re not subject to a compliance system, give you a false sense of security. Cybercriminals target all shapes and sizes of businesses.
That’s why you need to think about your cybersecurity. Discover 3 ways to improve your defenses right now in our latest video:
Cybercrime Targeting Businesses In 2022
As countries worldwide went into lockdown and businesses were forced to let employees work from home like never before, cyber bad actors saw an opportunity.
Criminals and Nation-state actors like China and Russia exploited the users as they accessed data and systems remotely. Even some of the best-protected networks in the world were breached.
Companies like SolarWinds and Microsoft recently suffered crippling hacks that reverberated down their customers’ supply chain, including over 10,000 private companies and government agencies like the United States Department of Justice and even the Department of Defense.
In light of this massive breach, the Department of Homeland Security initiated an emergency review of the entirety of the cyber landscape in the U.S. and is expected to make significant recommendations within the next few months, including setting minimum levels of cyber protection that all organizations will have to implement.
Given how often big-name data breaches make headlines, you probably think cybersecurity is only a concern for big businesses. Whether it’s Colonial Pipeline or Kaseya, they all have in common that they operate on a scale much larger than your organization.
Are you letting your small size give you a false sense of security?
The Small Business Cybersecurity Dilemma
The situation is especially dire for small businesses. According to a study conducted jointly between Cisco and the National Center for the Middle Market, over 50% of small businesses have no cybersecurity strategy or plan. For those that do, most have not reviewed the plan in over a year.
Once created and adopted, a cybersecurity strategy and plan must be reviewed annually to ensure that current threats are included.
Cybersecurity is not a one-and-done solution; the threat landscape evolves rapidly, and frequent reviews ensure that the plan will help reduce an organization’s cyber risk profile.
The Cost Of Ignoring Cybersecurity
Consider the most recent stats:
- 60% of small businesses hit with a cyber attack will go out of business within six months.
- The average cost of a data breach across all business sizes is $200,000.
- Small businesses pay $42,000 in an average ransomware attack.
All of this shows why you need to invest more in your cybersecurity. Doing so will undoubtedly cost you less money in the long run.
Growing Cybersecurity Threats You Need To Defend Against
In 2022 and beyond, you’ll need to think more critically about how you approach and manage cybersecurity for your organization. Consider the threats the business world is facing:
Cybercriminals keep relying on the same scams because users keep falling for the exact same tactics without ever seeming to learn the skills needed to protect against them. It might come as a surprise, but the greatest cyber threat businesses face today isn’t hackers exploiting software vulnerabilities; it’s your staff.
By using sneaky and manipulative tactics to trick employees into sharing sensitive information like usernames and passwords, hackers gain access to valuable data, costing businesses a lot of money.
Any system connected to the Internet is at risk—business networks, remote users with VPNs, cloud applications, and everything in between. Cybercriminals will target these systems, looking for unpatched and out-of-date infrastructure and exposed Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) connections. Protecting against these types of threats means implementing a vulnerability management program.
Exploited System Administration Tools
As networks grow and systems become ever more connected, abuse of system administration controls has become more dangerous. These tools are already installed on systems, and once a cybercriminal has access to them, they can easily deploy viruses and malware.
Datto recently released its Global State of the Channel Ransomware Report, developed from statistics reported by over 1,400 survey respondents. Managed service providers, channel partners, and Datto clients help to paint a frightening picture of the rate at which ransomware is being used against unsuspecting businesses.
85% of MSPs report ransomware as the most common malware threat to SMBs, and an average of 1 in 5 businesses report being a victim of a ransomware attack.
3 Ways To Boost Your Cybersecurity
Implement Robust Backups
The best way to enhance your disaster recovery and data backup capabilities is to invest in a backup solution that fulfills the following requirements:
The backup solution should provide both local onsite backup for quick recovery in instances of data loss and an offsite cloud-based backup for when your business is hit with a critical disaster.
Furthermore, these offsite backups need to be protected by a digital air gap, ensuring they are not at risk of encryption in the event of a ransomware attack.
You can’t assume that your backups will just work when needed. Your IT team should regularly test your backups to verify their effectiveness if something goes wrong with your onsite data.
Don’t settle for clumsy, all-or-nothing backups. You should be able to choose a point in time to restore if the data has been deleted, corrupted, or there has been a malicious intrusion.
Protect Your Logins
Use Complex Passwords
Are you confident in your password security? Find out for sure by reviewing these common password mistakes:
Length and Complexity
Remember that the easier it is for you to remember a password, the easier it’ll be for a hacker to figure it out. That’s why short and simple passwords are so common: users worry about forgetting them, making them too easy to remember, which presents an easy target for hackers.
Numbers, Case, and Symbols
Another factor in the password’s complexity is whether or not it incorporates numbers, cases, and symbols. While it may be easier to remember a password that’s all lowercase letters, it’s important to mix in numbers, capitals, and symbols to increase the complexity.
Many users assume that information specific to them will be more secure—thinking, for example, your birthday is one of 365 possible options in a calendar year, not to mention your birth year itself. The same methodology applies to your pet’s name, your mother’s maiden name, etc.
However, given the ubiquity of social media, it’s not difficult for hackers to research a target through Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites to determine when they were born, information about their family, personal interests, etc.
Pattern and Sequences
Like the other common mistakes, many people use patterns as passwords to remember them better. Still, that makes the password easy to guess. “abc123”, or the first row of letters on the keyboard, “qwerty”, etc., are extremely easy for hackers to guess.
Use Strong Passwords
Commonly, passwords are required to include uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Consider using a passphrase instead of a password when you combine multiple words into one long string of characters. The extra length of a passphrase makes it harder to crack.
For a more secure passphrase, you’re encouraged to combine multiple unrelated words to create the phrase, for example, “goldielittlelamb3pigs.”
Implement Multi-Factor Authentication
MFA is a superior way to keep your data more secure—after all, it blocks 99.9% of identity-based attacks.
MFA requires the user to utilize two methods to confirm that they are the rightful account owner. There are three categories of information that can be used in this process:
- Something you have: Includes a mobile phone, app, or generated code
- Something you know: A family member’s name, city of birth, pin, or phrase
- Something you are: Includes fingerprints and facial recognition
An MFA solution offers a range of key benefits to modern businesses, which help to increase security without affecting the user experience:
Bring Your Own Device
In today’s modern business world, more and more employees prefer to do at least some of their work through their mobile devices, which can present a serious security risk. However, with an MFA solution, you can enroll new employee devices in minutes, given that there’s no need to install an endpoint agent.
An MFA solution won’t force you to apply the same security policies to every user in the company. Instead, you are given the capability to specify policies person by person or group by group.
Find Your Vulnerabilities
You can’t afford to assume that your cybersecurity measures and practices are keeping you safe. You need to know for sure.
The best way is to have your IT company perform a vulnerability scan. A vulnerability scan is a systemic analysis of your IT infrastructure’s performance and potential security vulnerabilities.
It examines all components of your network and how your staff uses them to determine your degree of security. By scanning for gaps and misconfigurations, your IT company can work with you to reduce the risk of cyber-attacks.
The Primary Threat: A Lack Of Cybersecurity Expertise
The fact is that, even if you deployed all the necessary cybersecurity technologies, invested in all the necessary tools and solutions, and did everything you could to protect your business, you’d still be missing one thing—cybersecurity expertise.
Does your staff have the skills and experience needed to keep you protected?
Cybersecurity expertise is in high demand these days. Cybercrime continues to grow, and as businesses become increasingly digital in their operations, cybersecurity becomes a much more critical priority. However, there’s only so much cybersecurity talent available to hire.
What can you do when you’re unsure if you have the skills or knowledge to do the job? Consult with cybersecurity professionals—BACS Consulting.
Need Expert Cybersecurity Guidance?
Don’t let basic cybersecurity put you at risk, and don’t assume you have to handle advanced cybersecurity all on your own—BACS Consulting can help you assess your cybersecurity and develop a plan to enhance it.
You can start improving your cybersecurity by getting in touch with our team.