The media is always quick to highlight devastating data breaches when they hit big companies, but smaller organizations aren’t spared and are often considered the best targets. Sadly, small businesses often don’t have adequate security controls in place to protect themselves, leaving them more vulnerable than consumers.
Small businesses store much larger amounts of sensitive data than consumers, which means they occupy a sweet spot between being easy to hack but still worth the effort. Moreover, with the threat landscape evolving and transforming alongside technology itself, Connecticut businesses are struggling to avoid becoming victims of fraud.
Cybersecurity starts and ends with your employees
There’s a lot more to protecting sensitive information that organizations routinely handle than simply encrypting data, keeping systems up to date, running the latest antivirus software, and sending all internet traffic through a firewall. While these are all critical components of any cybersecurity strategy, they’re only as effective at protecting your business as your employees are at using them. In fact, insider threats are behind three-quarters of all successful data breaches. From human error to deliberately malicious actions, employees are often the weakest link.
Your IT department or technology provider might be responsible for protecting your infrastructure, as well as mitigating the risks and effects of attempted breaches, but you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of regular staff training. On top of that is the fact that the law requires training at any organization that handles sensitive data, such as patient health information (PHI) or payment details.
What makes security awareness training so important is the fact that many cyberattacks don’t rely on technology at all and instead turn to social-engineering tactics to exploit human ignorance. You can filter out spam emails that often contain malware, but cybercriminals also use clever social engineering tactics like phishing, business email compromise (BEC), and spoofing attacks to trick you into clicking on malicious links.
For example, BEC scams trick unsuspecting employees by impersonating a CEO or any executive authorized to make wire transfers. BEC attackers carefully research, monitor, and define their potential victims and their organizations. These scams don't require malicious links or attachments, just a convincing message. Fortunately, training and awareness can help small businesses spot this kind of scam.
Putting security measures in place
Though the importance of regular cybersecurity training cannot be overstated, there are various must-have technological, administrative, and physical security measures that every organization should have in place. Without proper security, you leave your systems vulnerable and risk operational downtime. As such, a multi-layered security approach must be implemented to round out your strategy.
Cyberattacks that don’t rely entirely on exploiting human error may instead find a way into your network by exploiting vulnerabilities in outdated systems. For example, last year’s WannaCry ransomware attacked outdated systems that were still running Windows XP, while businesses that had updated their software were safe. In addition to regular updates, you also need high-tech solutions such as hardware firewalls and intrusion prevention systems to keep malicious actors out of your network.
Penetration testing is one of the best ways to determine which security solutions are best for your business. Penetration testing effectively ‘attacks’ your network using the same methods that malicious actors would. This will provide you with full insight into your network, allowing you to detect, identify, and deploy fixes accordingly.
There is a good chance you’ll discover a vulnerability that you hadn’t even considered. This process will also offer solutions for patching vulnerabilities while also providing a complete business impact and risk analysis, and those are the foundation stones of any sustainable corporate cybersecurity strategy.
Charles IT helps businesses in Connecticut design, install, and manage layered security solutions that are based on the needs of their business and industry. Drop us a line today to find out more.