Why are American businesses more vulnerable than ever?
Sure, the web is useful, informative and fun. But our growing dependence on the internet for doing business and generally conducting our lives has made us even more vulnerable to economic and social cataclysm.
Meanwhile, many companies are still essentially winging it when it comes to their IT security. The feeling is often, “well, nothing has happened yet, so we’re probably okay.” Unfortunately, the most significant word there is “yet.” Business owners who have seen their firms crippled by, say, malware attacks, hadn’t thought they had a problem either.
The good news is, there IS protection for business IT networks.
In fact, there are five different solutions for guarding your firm against the latest Cybersecurity risks in 2022. To feel – and actually be – safe, all five need to be put in place. And the sooner the better.
Although there are certain measures that companies can take in-house for protecting their networks, they’re no match for the robust protections that are installed and continually monitored by IT professionals. Naturally, there are costs for those safeguards, but they’re dwarfed by the potential costs of a full-on cyberattack that winds its way into every aspect of your business.
Who is most vulnerable to those cybersecurity threats?
While previous online attacks were mostly aimed at large corporations and government agencies, the list of at-risk organizations has grown. Now, any businesses with five or more employees who physically work together are potential targets.
That includes professional offices like medical practices and law firms. Also, service businesses that deal with the public, as well as trucking and construction companies. The list goes on.
What exactly has changed in the cybercrime world?
The increased volume of online criminal activity seems mostly due not to new types of threats, but to evolving, easy-to-use tools for deploying them on a mass scale.
Just as military radar might pick up a flock of geese as well as enemy aircraft, the automated shotgun-like attacks launched by bad actors don’t discriminate. They’re equally relentless against all potential targets.
Solution 1: Firewalls
Protecting your company’s IT network starts with a defense that’s always been an effective one. A properly-configured firewall guards the single point of attack where your internal network meets the external internet.
With a DDOS attack, or Distributed Denial of Service, the bad folks program their machines to constantly ping your system until its own constant responses eventually overwhelm and disable your network. And business comes to a halt.
A firewall, as a one-time cost and installation, will recognize those pings and deflect them. A firewall can also defend against attempts to hack into your system with repeated password attempts. Internet providers may have their own defenses in place, but lack the algorithm to effectively detect and prevent these types of cybersecurity risks.
Solution 2: Immutable Backups
Email phishing is still one of the main threats to IT security, especially since scammers are doing a better job of making malicious emails look like real ones from a friend, colleague, or company you do business with. It’s also a long-time favorite technique of Russian cybercriminals.
Once a distracted company employee clicks on an email link or attachment, an avenue is opened for the bad guys to gain network access. There, all the company’s files become encrypted and unusable, until a ransom is paid. Read more about Ransomware here.
Immutable Backups use special software to continually archive company files and data in a fixed form that can’t be hacked. By using a limited-access Network Attached Storage server at your facility, you can quickly recover your company information. Properly configured cloud backups can also work, but it may take days to download all the enterprise’s files and get back to work.
Solution 3: End-Point Monitoring
With this relatively new strategy, a digital ‘agent’ is placed each PC at the company. This diagnostic program monitors the health and welfare of every machine. It detects and reports repeated external intrusions, as well attempts to gain access or encrypt files.
End-point monitoring software stays in touch 24/7 with an offsite server, where IT experts can connect with each piece of company hardware in real time to see what’s going on.
If there’s no other way to stop an imminent or in-progress intrusion, technicians can remotely shut down the targeted PC. With no power, there’s no cyberwarfare battleground.
Solution 4: Email Anti-Virus Scanning
Consumer-grade email anti-virus software can catch messages with malicious scripting – but only after it’s already landed in your Inbox.
A better way of protecting your company IT network is to intercept those nasty emails before they get to your office. Professional-level email scanning can detect a bad link, a bad attachment, or a spoofed ‘From’ address when it’s on its way to you.
To make sure it’s not a ‘false positive’, a suspect email can be routed to a safe ‘sandbox’ environment, where someone can do a manual check of its validity.
Solution 5: Policy Writing
This one is a relatively recent development for warding off cybersecurity risks. Firms hire IT security experts to prepare internal company policies governing employee behavior and technology use. To be enforceable, all workers need to sign off on the policy.
For example, say a worker connects their personal cellphone or other device to the company Wi-Fi. If that phone happens to have been compromised, now the business’ entire network is put at risk. Through the phone, hackers can get behind the company firewall for their evil exploration and encryption of the firm’s files. IT policies also typically forbid downloading personal email – including Gmail – on company machines.
Ready to get started?
To show our support, we’re offering an IT Security Package that includes End-Point Monitoring, Anti-Virus Email Scanning, and an Immutable Back Up, all for one pretty reasonable price. Of course, we do Firewalls and Policy Writing too.
We hate it that cyberspace isn’t a safe place. It’s not fair that you’re at risk by just trying to run your business. But if you need someone to help defend your turf, we’re ready to mount up and prepare the counterattack.
Not sure how exposed your company is potential security threats? See what the Experts say.