With ever-growing cyberattacks, businesses need robust security solutions in their entire system and be one step ahead of the attackers. If they can prevent, detect or disrupt attacks as quickly as possible, this limits the negative impact and reputational damage. Here are some operational strategies to reduce the risks of cyberattacks.
Create secure cybersecurity policies
Your cybersecurity is greatly affected by the policies you have in place. How often do your IT teams conduct risk assessments? Do you get third-party security penetration/stress/siege tests to see if your software/company has any security vulnerabilities? Cyber security tests allow you to detect vulnerabilities before it is too late. Tests should include:
- Vulnerability scanning
- Penetration testing
- Security posture assessment
- Cybersecurity assessments
- Ethical hacking
If a breach occurs, having a disaster recovery plan gives IT teams and employees a course of action. This ensures you can return to normal as soon as possible and minimizes the damage caused by a cyber attack.
Use browser isolation products
Browser isolation is a security model that physically isolates the browsing activity of internet users from their local computers or network. Browsing sessions are abstracted from the hardware the browser runs on and the internet connection, so harmful activities only affect the isolated browsing environment.
Browser isolation products can help to protect against threats such as:
- Credential theft
- Unsafe plugins and technologies
Set access management policies
A physical access control system registers and regulates the entry of any person to a business at access points and keeps out unauthorized people. Online access management ensures the right users have access to the right resources at the right level of trust. You can set policies that authorize individuals to access only the information they need to do their jobs.
Most network devices, including wireless access points, have default administrator passwords to simplify setup. It is easy to obtain these passwords online, so they don’t offer much protection. You must change all default passwords. Only allowing authorized users access to your network helps to keep it secure.
Various encryption protocols are available for encrypting wireless data. This prevents attackers from gaining access to sensitive data. Some data encryption software even alerts you when people try to alter or tamper with information.
Ensure endpoint protection
The frequency of endpoint attacks has increased, and this should be one of the first places to focus on to secure networks. Many businesses experience attacks involving some type of malware or those involving compromised or stolen devices. When employees travel for business, they may unknowingly connect devices to a public USB port and open the door to a potential attacker.
Endpoint security secures entry points of end-user devices such as desktops, mobile devices and laptops from being exploited by cybercriminals.
Regularly back up data
If you have backups of your data, you have a way to recover from failures, corruption and threats like ransomware. An effective data backup strategy is to keep at least three copies of your data. Store two copies on different media, and store the third copy in an offsite location.
Ransomware is one of the biggest cyber threats of 2022, and even if you pay a ransom, there is no guarantee that attackers will give you the encryption keys. Restoring data from backups is more reliable.
The Lapsus$ ransomware attacks that came to light this year were led by teenagers. Many companies who were targeted managed to avoid leaks of sensitive data but the negative effect on their brand reputation has created a lasting impression on their customers.
Keep your software up to date
If you fail to install security patches and updates from vendors, cybercriminals can exploit the vulnerabilities. A smart patch management system can help with this. You can set up notifications for zero-day warnings etc. This ensures that your systems stay resilient.
Train your employees
It’s no use investing time and finances into cybersecurity infrastructure and tools but not training employees to protect themselves and the company from cybersecurity threats. Employees should be educated on the main forms of cybersecurity attacks and how to prevent them.
Learn to detect social engineering attacks
Every single employee should learn how to detect a potential social engineering attack. If even one employee clicks on a link, goes to a fake website and enters credentials, a large-scale data breach can occur. Many companies are using phishing campaign simulations to train employees to recognize suspicious emails and social engineering attacks.
Develop strong cybersecurity habits
Companies need to train employees on a regular basis to help them to develop strong cybersecurity habits, such as the use of strong passwords and multifactor authentication (MFA). Acquiring such habits will make them think twice before automatically clicking on a link.
Educate them about devices
Employees should be aware of best practices with regard to the devices they use. They should not leave devices unattended and refrain from using third-party applications that haven’t been authorized by IT departments. They should limit the use of personal devices for work purposes and not allow family members to use work devices for personal purposes.
Manage your vendors
Your vendors play a critical part in your cybersecurity. It is important to onboard them using the right strategies and monitor them throughout the relationship. Make sure they are legitimate vendors that allow you to check their proof incorporation, email address, tax number and bank account details.
If vendors are vulnerable, a cybercriminal can exploit a weakness and potentially gain access to your resources. A vendor risk management program can reduce the frequency of data breaches and cyber attacks involving third or fourth parties.
You can’t afford to leave cybersecurity to chance. The business impact can be enormous when it comes to reputational damage, operational damage and lost income. Technological solutions and employee training can make it much harder for cybercriminals to penetrate your systems.