It’s cyber security awareness month, which means it’s the perfect time to evaluate your cyber-attack prevention resources and methods. As with any tragic event or set of circumstances, most people never think it will happen to them. While it may not happen to you tomorrow or next week, you want to have preventative measures in place just in case. Your business should anticipate an attack no matter your size or your industry. It has become best practice and a means for businesses to flourish by having cyber security resources and methods in motion from the beginning (or as soon as possible).
Why is Cyber Security Important?
Cyber security continues to the “buzz of the IT world” impacting businesses in record numbers. Email the number one method for breaches. The top methods of attacks so far for 2021 are the following:
- Malware Attacks.
- Phishing Attacks.
- Distributed Denial of Service Attacks.
- Man-in-the-Middle Attacks.
- Credential Stuffing Attacks.
- Password Spraying Attacks.
- Mobile Device Attacks.
Cyber security is simply developing a proactive and complex strategy that will go beyond a basic response plan when an attack occurs. Here are just a few beginning steps to consider when discussing the options and needs for your company with a professional team of experts:
- Conduct an internal security audit by identifying sensitive data, potential threats, and vulnerabilities
- Compliance with federal regulations by auditing your system to fill security holes
- Easy way to notify you regarding a security issue
- Knowing where sensitive data lives and those that have access to it by mapping permissions to identify any over-exposed sensitive information
- Policy in place to routinely review access to sensitive information
The cyber security list can and should continue from there. There are many routes to take based on the infrastructure your company has, so talk to a professional to find the right tools for you.
How Cyber Attacks generally work?
Cyber-attacks can happen through different channels like your website and to various degrees. If you are unfamiliar with how cyber-attacks work, one critical piece to know is that it often occurs on a company’s IT system. This means that whoever is behind the attack is targeting sensitive business information, personal employee information, and financial information of your business. For example, most encounters can utilize social security numbers from your personal employee database for further damage.
There are varying types of cyber-attacks. A common attack occurs by utilizing malware, which compromises your business’s servers. This can lead to potential ransom payouts to hackers. Over 80% of hacking-related breaches are typically leveraged by either stolen and/or weak passwords. Over 60% of malware was installed through malicious email attachments. An average of 75% of breaches are perpetrated by outsiders. Over 70% of breaches are financially motivated, and that number continues to rise. In order to protect yourself, your employees, your customers, and your business; you will need to look into the necessary options for your company to become cyber secure.
Are You and Your Employees Prepared in the Event of an Attack?
The likely answer is no for most companies. There are cyber-attack prevention resources and methods that you will want to have in place. This is the first place to start when looking into cyber security for your company. Not only is it best to invest in resources that secure your intellectual property and sensitive information, but you will also want to invest in training for your employees. Most business owners only consider the first of these two steps in preventative measures. However, it can turn into a catastrophic mistake if you do not properly train your employees in the cyber security methods you want them to practice.
For example, one element that is typically looked over in the workplace is strong passwords. Each employee should know and practice methods such as required mixing of upper and lowercase letters, utilizing numbers, and containing multiple symbols. This is a simple factor, but it can trickle down into other concerning practices such as reusing passwords, not changing passwords every 60-90 days, utilizing a secure password manager, and the list goes on.
3 Crucial Pieces for your Company’s to have Top-Notch Cyber Security!
While you can put plenty of preventative resources and methods in place, if there is a will of a hacker there can be a way. What do you do in that case? You will need to have a disaster recovery plan, the capability of backups, and proper training for your staff regarding the common ways and routes of cyber-attacks.
The Importance of your Disaster Recovery Plan
It’s a common misconception, a Disaster Recovery Plan is not the same as your Business Continuity Plan. Business Continuity Plan lays out all the assets and processes that need to be protected to maintain business operations during an outage of any kind. The Disaster Recovery Plan is the sequential step-by-step actions that need to take place when a disaster is declared. This can be very involved process where standard operating procedures are replaced with those designed around retargeting assets and programs in another secondary backups as outlined in the plan. Example might be where an exchange server for email requires IT staff to reroute users to access a cloud portal to send and receive email during the outage, or another might be users can access company data by redirecting them a cloud backup solution for applications and access to company data temporarily.
Should an event happen, the First step is to identify the issue and lock it down so it cannot propagate further thorough out your environment, securing the affected IT environment for forensic integrity for investigation by insurance company. The second step, with proper resources, simultaneously redirect resources to keep your company operating during the event. And of course, once completed you must restore and recover to the original operating state. Your disaster recovery plan is the reference guide for implementing the plan to bring the company back to full operating capacity. Your plan should consist of an experienced IT team that focuses on best practices and lessons learned from industry disaster recovery experiences providing rapid, accurate data recovery, and continued business operations.
Here are a few elements you will want to discuss with your IT team regarding your business continuity and disaster recovery plans:
- Establishing a clear owner in the development of the business continuity plan, disaster recovery plan and cyber security requirements (monitoring, identification, mediation, and recovery).
- Identifying representatives to report to the owner regarding their department’s needs
- Documenting the risks your company may face including a multitude of events (i.e., natural disasters, vendors shutting down, cyber-attacks, disgruntled employee deleting data, etc.)
- Specify which data, tools and technologies are most critical for protection and recovery
- Maintaining an inventory of physical assets
Backups are Truly a Necessity
The last few steps in your disaster recovery plans are crucial. One of the best things you can do for your company is to insist on recoverable data backups of your important information. Not all backup solutions allow you to recover the data accurately, easily, and quickly. Your plan must include an understanding of the RPO (recovery point objective) and RTO (recovery time objective) requirements stated in your Business Continuity Plan. You will need to determine where data can be stored and how critical information is going to be backed up, including workstations, laptops and other devices (cell phones, iPads, etc.). Your data backup should run automatically and silently without requiring action by users, which would impede on their productivity overall. If your company was attacked, you would be able to still function quickly.
Communication with your Team is Key
The last steps of your disaster recovery plan consist of two elements: communication and your employees. You will need to create a communication plan in case a disaster strikes. Lay out your protocol of contacting your employees, vendors, business partners, consumers/customers, etc. While you may not need to notify everyone depending on the level of attack, you still should have a system ready to make use of.
Your employees need to have the proper knowledge regarding cyber-attacks. Like cashiers knowing how to spot a counterfeit dollar bill, your employees must know how to spot common tools used for cyber-attacks. Make sure your staff is not clicking on anything they shouldn’t be on their work computers. Based on your cyber security resources, methods, and disaster recovery plan, this will take some training and practice for your employees. You will need to discuss in detail how the company will respond to various given scenarios. You could even conduct “cyber-attack drills” if need be. Whatever it takes for your staff to feel confident and knowledgeable in case a disaster arises in the future. Be preventative, prepared, and ready to recover with your company.
If you want more information regarding business continuity planning, cyber security resources and disaster recovery plans that will benefit you and your organization, contact us today. Regardless of your business size, you need to have these plans established and reviewed annually. RJ2 Technologies can provide that to you.