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Best Ways to Mitigate Cyber Security Threats

Cyber security criminal using a laptop

Is the increasing number of cyber security breaches worrying you and making you lose your good night’s sleep? You’re not alone.  The fact is that cyber security breaches are on the rise and as organisations upgrade their cyber security measure, the hackers are using more sophisticated tools and strategies as well including AI. This means that in addition to implementing strict cyber security policies, you need to also take proactive measures to mitigate risks. In this article, we’re sharing the best ways how you can protect yourself and your business.

Top 11 ways to minimise cyber threats

1.   Encrypt your data and create backups. By encrypting your sensitive data you mitigate the risk of hackers accessing your valuable information because only those with permission can read it. Always back up your data so your operations aren’t affected in case of an attack or data breach. The 3-2-1 rule is ideal for ensuring you don’t lose your valuable data. What is the 3-2-1 rule? Ensure you have 3 copies of your data. Store two of them in different media and one in an offsite location that is safe.

2 .  Conduct regular staff training. According to statistics over 3,4 million phishing emails are sent globally. The links included in these emails grant access to hackers to user data that includes also login credentials. Training your staff to recognise this type of email is essential for your cyber security. Professional hackers are able to impersonate a leader of an organisation in order to gain access to sensitive information like personal details. Training your staff to check the email addresses as well as links before opening is vital for your company’s security.

3.  Keep your systems and software updated. Regular updates on your systems and software play important role in your cyber security. Updates not only add new features but also fix bugs that can pose a threat to your cyber security. Hackers exploit the vulnerabilities in software and systems by writing malicious code that affects your whole system. Using patch management system to manage all updates automatically and uphold information security helps you keep your operations running safely and effectively.

4.  Use strong passwords. Did you know that over 80% of data breaches are the result of weak passwords? Hackers need a small gap to gain access to your systems. More complex passwords combined with multifactor authentication strategies are needed to protect you from cyber-attacks. Passwords shouldn’t be shared among employees to minimize the risk of having multiple desktops hacked instead of one.  Keeping your passwords stored in an encrypted format is important.

5.  Assess and monitor your vendors. You should always onboard vendors using the correct strategies and monitor them throughout your relationship. Remember to also ascertain that your vendor will not impact your compliance with regulations, agreements and local legislation. You also need to ensure that your vendor doesn’t disrupt your operation. Finally, ensure that your vendor will not impact your ability to meet your organizational objectives.

6. Reduce your attack surface. First of all, you need to be aware of the fact that there are 3 main types of attack surfaces. The first one is the physical attack surface which includes organisational assets that a hacker can gain access to if he has physical access to your premises. The second one is the digital attack surface. These are assets that are accessible through the internet and live outside the firewall.  Your corporate servers, operating systems, forgotten website and roque assets like apps that impersonate your company.  The third attack surface is the social engineering attack surface. This surface exploits human psychology and manipulates your staff into divulging sensitive information. To mitigate your risks, you need to conduct an attack surface analysis to determine your threat landscape.

7. Pay close attention to physical security. It’s not enough that you make risk assessments and security policies for digital assets. Imagine if someone broke into your premises and stole your data. Perform thorough risk assessments.

8.  Put a Killswitch in place. Most cyber criminals don’t bother to cover their tracks, so have your IT department analyse all your security logs frequently and audit cyber security framework audits to ensure everything is always running smoothly. But, what does Killswitch have to do with your security? A killswitch is a form of protection where your IT security team shuts down all systems immediately when a threat is noticed until the issue is resolved.  This is to prevent large-scale attacks from succeeding.

Did you know that around 94% of organizations suffered from a cyber security breach that came from the inside instead of outside? Be sure to screen your new staff and existing staff to ensure that they don’t pose a threat to your company. However, most malicious firewall and malware attacks are the results of human error. Emphasise the importance of safeguarding sensitive information and taking appropriate measures to keep data safe at all times. Negligence is the most common form of cyber security threat for any organization.

9.  Install firewalls. Having a firewall is vital for your cyber security. However, it’s not enough that you have a basic one installed. When choosing a firewall, ensure that you have full security control and visibility of your application and networks. It should also have protection and prevention capabilities as well as a streamlined security infrastructure to be effective.

10. Create a secure cybersecurity policy for your company. Your cybersecurity policy should include disaster recovery, access control and management, security testing, an incident response plan and a clause related to data mishandling and the legal steps that are to be followed if there is mishandling of data or other form of negligence.

11. Update the board at least quarterly on cyber security policy and changes. Your board of directors need to be updated regularly on the cyber security policy and any changes. Cooperation and sharing important information are vital in keeping your company safe.

Contact our IT security team

If you don’t have an in-house IT consultant or department, it is advisable to outsource this to a provider who can offer you all the services and support you need to stay safe. Data breaches and other cyber attacks can cause you not only financial loss but also harm your reputation in the long run.

Tom Finnis

Tom Finnis is responsible for the delivery of IT support services and projects to help4IT's clients, as well as the development of the company's cloud infrastructure and related products. Tom has overseen the growth of the Help4IT technical department from 3 to 12 full-time staff, with additional contract workers, creating the systems and procedures to enable the efficient provision of the company's high level of support. More recently he has led the design and deployment of help4IT's multi-site cloud infrastructure.

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