Don’t get us wrong, disaster recovery is and will be an important part of security plans – but it’s absolutely a scenario best avoided, especially for smaller companies where a data attack is often a death knell. The average attack costs an organization around $4 million including litigation and damage to the brand. You can see why we prefer preventative measures instead! And we’re not alone – IT security is trending more and more toward reliable prevention and finding prevention best practices. We’ve got some ideas to help keep your business on the cutting edge.
Follow the Latest Security Threat News
This is a general piece of advice that we highly recommend for growing companies, especially small businesses where IT security tends to be flatter, and there may not be a CSO role to watch for significant trends. Keep an eye on the security industry or set up an alert for important news related to cyber attacks, vulnerabilities discovered, and news about the services and vendors you use. It’s important to keep on top of everything that’s happening in the data security world, especially if that includes information about new threats or new updates for vulnerabilities. You don’t have to be obsessive about this, but it’s a good idea to review headlines on a regular basis and add any important revelations to the schedule.
Find Ways to (Politely) Require Secure Behavior from Employees
Prevention is just about finding the right rules to apply to digital data – it’s also about making sure there are no employee-based vulnerabilities in your workforce. That means no unsecured devices, no bad passwords, no access to prohibited files, and no complex personal and business data on the same device. This is a strict order: Device and app management can help a little, but at the end of the day people are still people, and employees will still be lazy about passwords and avoid reporting stolen phones.
Fortunately, solutions are starting to find methods that work more effectively with employees. Biometrics, for example, tends to have a lot less room for employee error, while virtualization allows companies to keep data off employee devices and in centralized locations. However, consistent education and training remain an important part of employee security, so don’t hesitate to share what you’ve learned.
Implement a Patching Strategy that Works
There’s no good argument against patching vulnerabilities in your system. If a patch is released that’s designed to remove a threat, it needs to be downloaded to all applicable devices ASAP. One of the easiest ways to do this with the average computer is automatic updates: Switch them on, and that helps guarantee OS patches (individual software patches can be more complicated, however).
The downside to immediate patching, especially for businesses in more static industries, is that they may not be possible if they interfere with necessary software that isn’t compatible with the latest update. This is how you end up with companies that still use Windows XP. It’s a challenging and horrible situation, and hopefully, future systems will be agile enough to make sure it doesn’t happen. For now, ensure that incompatible software is absolutely required, preferably by law, if patching is causing you any problem.
Look for Services that Offer “Threat Intelligence.”
Threat Intelligence is the name companies like Microsoft are using to describe new features that rapidly analyze all data in their clouds to quickly identify malware and alert security administrators about any new threats. This is very valuable, particularly for small businesses that may not be able to afford all the in-house security that they want: Let your services do the work for you! Microsoft offers Threat Intelligence on Office 365, so make sure the appropriate users are receiving updates, and look for other threat intelligence options in your alternative services.
Keep an Eye on Additional AI Scans
Security AI mainly predicts data attacks by looking through massive amounts of data and “learning” which specific behaviors are associated with hacking or malware. When security AI identifies suspicious behavior, they alert a human, who goes in to take a look at the suspected process can continue. Many threat intelligence programs use this type of AI behavior, and it’s a standard feature in the security strategies of larger companies. It’s a good feature to watch for when identifying services with strong threat intelligence, and you can expect it to grow more frequent in the coming years.
Make Sure Your Cloud is Protected
What clouds hold your data? What types of security and encryption do they use? Who has access to them – and is that access limited to secure wireless/wired networks? Cloud solutions are extremely popular, but to prevent data attacks they need to be backed up by powerful security. It’s a good idea to sit down with your cloud data plan and go through all your cloud services to make sure they offer adequate protection and warnings.
Have a Plan for the Internet of Things
Even if you aren’t using the Internet of Things right now, the chances are good that smart devices will be a part of your company sometime in the future. They are growing increasingly common, from maintenance sensors on equipment to smart temperature control for offices. The problem is that the Internet of Things is also largely open to data attack, specifically DDoS attacks that can quickly shut smart devices down.
It’s currently tough to find security options designed specifically for the Internet of Things: That should improve, but for now it’s a good idea to use smart devices carefully. Avoid depending on smart devices for vital parts of your business operations, try to limit how data from the Internet of Things can be accessed, and understand the threats that may come.
Do you have more specific questions regarding attack prevention? Probably! But since we can’t talk forever, why not send Alliance Technology Partners a message to find out more about our services and discuss customized solutions for your Nationwide business. You can contact us at (888) 891-8885 or firstname.lastname@example.org.