Is it defense or offense that wins the game? While debate continues around whether defense or offense is key to a victory in sports, there is certainly no doubt about the importance of a solid defensive strategy when it comes to fending off cyberattacks in business.
Similar to a game of football, creating a defensive strategy for your team is crucial to winning against the opponent, a.k.a. the data hackers.
Experienced hackers and sophisticated phishing schemes have affected all organizations, regardless of size. Consider this alarming statistic: 64 percent of companies have experienced web-based attacks and 43 percent of cyberattacks target small businesses. Small businesses are easy targets due to their minimal security and moderate amount of data, and because the chances of an attack are high, setting up a strong defense is critical to avoiding big issues in the future.
All businesses are at risk when unprepared for a cyberattack. Best company practices are to be proactive instead of reactive. Hackers can steal employee email, client data, financial records and all the information that’s on your server, including Microsoft Word documents and Excel spreadsheets.
Reputation damage and permanent financial damages are just two of the repercussions businesses face when unprepared for a cyberattack. Loss of business, or worse yet, going out of business is an extreme fallout that far too many organizations have experienced. Winning in business is very difficult if you are hacked.
In recognition of October being cybersecurity awareness month, and since it is football season, we have created five defensive strategies for your business to consider for preventing cyberattacks.
Train your team
Your employees must be an essential part of your defensive strategy. It is important to educate them on security standards and prevention so they know how to identify and handle threatening situations. Teach your employees basic cybersecurity practices so they know when they’re presented with a threat or are vulnerable to intrusion.
Establish your line of scrimmage
Define your line before you play. An information security policy outlines the actions and behaviors expected to avoid risks to the company, its clients, vendors and other stakeholders. Effective policies should include sections on acceptable use, access control, change control, disaster recovery, physical security and many more.
Implement double coverage
Double up on your defense. Two-factor authentication verifies user identities with a required temporary passkey or verification code sent to the user’s mobile device. This will help keep your data safe because even if credentials were hacked, hackers can’t access your data without the required passkey.
Protect your quarterback
Layers of defense are imperative to protect the core of your IT network. Don’t let your opponent find unnecessary opportunities. Seal the corners and rush directly toward the data hackers by securing the network with a business-class firewall featuring unified threat protection. By installing firewall protection, you can prevent unauthorized internet users from accessing private networks connected to the internet.
Set up a defensive scheme
With users accessing the internet from multiple devices in and out of the office, it is crucial to protect and manage those devices. Setting up cloud security defenses to block known malicious destinations and implementing mobile device management to protect corporate data are two highly recommended solutions.
Establishing your business’ defensive strategy is crucial, and choosing the right IT partner can make the process much more seamless.
IT service providers can sometimes fail to address security because they become complacent. What it took to secure your business one year ago may look considerably different from what it takes today. It is important your IT service provider is well-versed in the latest security developments to maintain ongoing security and to keep your team educated. You may be approaching the fourth quarter, but it’s not too late to secure the win!
Julie Lough is president of Micro Visions Inc., a Grand Rapids-based technology consulting, security and IT managed services provider.