A new survey conducted by the Nationwide Agent Authority reveals that most U.S. businesses are ill-prepared for cyber threats. In the survey, 37 percent of small business owners admitted that they were at risk of falling victim to cybercrime. A third said they were not confident that their business would recover if attacked. Only half of the small business owners believed they were well prepared to handle a cyberattack. Middle market businesses have a better grip on cybersecurity, but some still lack cybersecurity awareness and defense mechanisms.
Although there’re new cyber threats every day, proactive cybersecurity measures can help mitigate these risks. Implement these five defensive techniques with your in-house security team or your managed service provider to protect your business from imminent attacks.
1. Conduct risk assessments
Before taking any steps to prevent cyberattacks, you need to understand the threats that are out there and your organization’s vulnerabilities. Only then can you develop effective cybersecurity measures suitable for protecting your business, be it installing firewalls, anti-malware, or intruder detection systems.
Risk assessments need to be thorough and repeated at least once a year. You can carry out an internal risk assessment, but doing it with the help of an objective, unbiased managed service provider yields more accurate and actionable results.
2. Train employees in cybersecurity principles
In a recent survey involving IT leaders, nearly all the respondents expressed well-founded concerns over insider threats. Employees can accidentally or intentionally put your business at risk of cyberattack. Regardless of the cybersecurity measures you have in place, it’s crucial to ensure that your workforce is on board with security protocols. The only way to do that is by holding regular staff training sessions to establish cybersecurity awareness, responsibilities, and accountability throughout the organization.
3. Control IT privileges
Ensure that employees have access only to the IT resources and data they need to complete their tasks. Limit IT privileges across the board, especially for installing new software and accessing or manipulating sensitive data. Award high-level admin privileges to only a few select individuals. Doing so minimizes the room for error and promotes security accountability.
4. Encrypt and back up your data
Team up with a managed service provider to set up a reliable cloud-based backup infrastructure and data encryption system. Encrypted and safely backed-up data is immune to a host of eavesdropping and ransomware attacks.
5. Monitor critical systems
Threat monitoring is a crucial part of risk management. Keep a close eye on all critical IT systems and look out for any abnormalities that might indicate an imminent threat. Consider hiring a managed service provider to monitor your network traffic, telecom systems, server environment, and data processes around the clock. Unexpected spikes in network traffic, server requests, and processing output can serve as early warning signals of malicious activities.
Prevention is better than cure
It makes more sense to invest heavily in preventative solutions rather than scrambling to act when an attack has already happened. Once an attack reaches a certain critical point, any efforts to try and stop it become futile. And keep in mind that a majority of businesses never recover from successful cyberattacks.
Even if your business somehow survived a serious attack, it would probably be left with deep financial scars and a tarnished brand image. Without a proactive cybersecurity strategy, you’re basically rolling the dice on your business continuity, performance, and success.
There is so much more you can do to protect your business from cybercriminals. However, the trick is finding and implementing the right solutions that make up a strong cyber defense framework for your business. Rather than engaging in a trial-and-error process, hire a managed service provider to help you structure a holistic cybersecurity strategy that covers threat prevention, risk mitigation, and incident response. Now is not the time to take chances with your security posture.