4 Common Cybersecurity Practices That Put You At Risk
Much of the ongoing conversation around cybersecurity is about what business owners are failing to do.
You’re not backing up your data. You’re not protecting every one of your endpoints. You’re not investing in the right types of solutions.
But what about the cybersecurity practices and paradigms you are following — are you sure they’re really keeping you safe?
The Changing Nature Of Cybercrime
In the early days of IT, only the IT personnel had to be concerned about things like uptime, data continuity, and cybersecurity. However, as the ever-evolving nature of the modern workplace has brought about many changes to the business world, it’s changed the importance of cybersecurity.
The fact is that cybercrime and cybersecurity continue to evolve. You cannot afford to remain static in your approach to protecting your data. What may have been an accepted practice two, five, or ten years ago has likely been adapted or phased out altogether since then.
4 Cybersecurity Practices To Eliminate From Your Strategy
Assuming Cybersecurity Is Only About Your Technology
A majority of cybersecurity technologies offered today include the best in vital software, from firewalls to anti-malware to data encryption and more. However, as important as this technology is, on its own, it simply isn't enough.
The key to truly comprehensive cybersecurity is simple, yet often overlooked: the user.
The best cybersecurity technology and practices in the world can be undone by one staff member who doesn’t understand how to use them, or how to protect the data they work with.
Your staff can have a significant effect on your cybersecurity – either they know enough to keep your assets secure, or they don't, and therefore, present a serious threat to your security.
At the end of the day, there is no perfect technological solution that will save you from cybercrime’s social engineering techniques. It all comes down to you (and the other users at your business), and how capable you are at spotting a scam when it comes into your inbox.
That’s why your staff needs to understand:
- How to identify and address suspicious emails, phishing attempts, social engineering tactics, and more.
- How to use business technology without exposing data and other assets to external threats by accident.
- How to respond when you suspect that an attack is occurring or has occurred.
Failing To Test Your Cybersecurity On A Regular Basis
Making assumptions about your cybersecurity is a dangerous game. You need to be constantly assessing and confirming your ability to protect your data.
However, an internal review can be affected by bias and lack of resources, which is why third-party cybersecurity testing is extremely important. By having an experienced IT security company examine your cybersecurity from top to bottom, you can verify the effectiveness of your cyber defenses.
Unfortunately, not all third-party assessments are created equal. Some offer nothing more than a technician checking off items on a list:
- Do you have a firewall in place?
- Do you have an antivirus solution in place?
- Is there a data backup in place?
While these are certainly all important aspects of a viable cybersecurity posture, checking them off a list is not enough on its own — you need a comprehensive and robust analysis of your IT systems, and the way you and your staff act when using IT tools and working online.
Proper testing and assessment include the following:
- Penetration Testing: Also known as pen testing, this is an attempted breach against your business systems to disclose application, web server, or network vulnerabilities. Penetration testing keeps you ahead of the attackers by letting you in on exploitable weaknesses and gives you a chance to correct these before you lose valuable data and vast amounts of money. As a form of ethical hacking, penetration testing employs techniques similar to the ones used by criminal hackers.
- Vulnerability Management: You need to both audit and remediate vulnerabilities on an ongoing basis. Cybersecurity is not a one-time matter — you need to be continually looking for potential weaknesses and address them whenever discovered.
- Assuming Response Is Just About Recovery: In the event of a data breach, your priority should be the continuity of your business and the recovery of your systems. You need to isolate infected systems, assess the extent of the damage, and call up data backups. However, your response doesn’t end once you’re back at work. You also need to examine the available evidence to determine how the hack occurred in the first place. If you know how the breach occurred, then you can ensure it doesn’t happen again.
- Reactive Cybersecurity Management: Proper cybersecurity is a matter of proactive efforts and careful prevention of identified issues. You need to be actively defending your organization and have a plan in place to ensure you can act quickly in the event of a breach.
If you think you may have been the victim of ransomware, phishing, or another type of cybercrime, your first step is to get in touch with your IT support immediately. If you haven't already, don't hesitate to hire professional cybersecurity experts. Hardening your systems against attacks and thereby making yourself a harder target for cybercriminals is absolutely critical.
Beyond that, make sure to follow these three steps:
- Isolate The Damage: Your first move when an attack occurs is to isolate the computer from the network to prevent further access. Remove the network cable from the tower or laptop and turn off your networking functions (the Wi-Fi settings). Do this manually even if you have security software that claims to shut down the connection for you.
- Power Down: You also need to shut down your computer to prevent damage to your hard drive. Ideally, your anti-virus and anti-spyware will prevent the attacker from getting that far, but you still need to remove it from the computer to protect it fully.
- Control Access: Resetting your passwords is also critical. You should be sure to create entirely new passwords and avoid re-using them at any point. Don’t forget to check any accounts linked to your computer, including social media profiles, email accounts, online banking, and any other potential targets.
The bottom line is that if you’re assuming you won’t get hit by cybercriminals, the consequences will be that much worse when it eventually happens. Plan ahead now to minimize the damage.
Need Expert Assistance?
This may seem like a lot to handle on your own, and you’re right — it is. But you don’t have to take care of it by yourself.
Hammer IT Consulting will update your cybersecurity strategies, identify and remediate your vulnerabilities, and continually mitigate the danger posed by new threats. We will help you develop a detailed cybersecurity plan that takes modern threats into account and protects your firm against them.