Despite numerous technological advancements in security, cybercrimes have grown more vicious and complex. Gartner predicts a worldwide security spending of $96 billion among enterprises in 2018. Cybersecurity Ventures, meanwhile, forecasts that cumulative spending on security products and services will exceed $1 trillion from 2017 to 2021, and that by 2021, cybercrime will cost businesses around the world $6 trillion annually.
Protecting Your Organization from Cyber Threats
As the cyber attacks of previous years have shown, a breach can prove catastrophic even for big-name businesses like Yahoo, eBay, Sony, and Home Depot. Aside from costing businesses millions of dollars in fines and lost opportunities, cyber attacks can cause irreparable damage to your reputation.
It is imperative, therefore, that companies take a proactive rather than reactive stance against cyber threats. Here are a few ways to do just that:
Network Vulnerability Assessment
A network vulnerability assessment is the first step toward understanding how well your defense strategy can safeguard your network against possible threats. It involves reviewing and analyzing your IT infrastructure for any security vulnerabilities, with the end goal to come up and execute a vulnerability management plan that aligns with your business objectives.
Because the process requires organizations to create a detailed map of their entire network where every hardware, software, resource, and service is taken into account, one benefit of vulnerability assessments is full ecosystem visibility, which then allows you to identify weak points in the system and proactively seal any security holes before attackers discover them.
Another benefit is regulatory compliance support. A third is better evaluation of the performance of your IT partners to mitigate third-party security risks. (The Target breach that cost the company $18.5 million in settlement costs began with the theft of the credentials of a third-party HVAC vendor.)
Unified Endpoint Management
Due to the proliferation of endpoints along with corporate embracement of remote work, keeping the network protected fast became one of the most complicated and time-consuming task for IT teams.
Unified endpoint management (UEM) is a network security approach that allows the IT department to control and secure every device tapping the network from a unified console, may it be a desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablet, or IoT device. UEM eliminates the need for multiple security software systems to help administrators manage a widely distributed IT network, allowing for visibility and detection/prevention capabilities no single standalone software can match.
UEM systems safeguard your network via the following key features:
Centralized Security. The entire IT infrastructure is managed and controlled from a single platform.
Endpoint Visibility. UEM monitors every device in the network, constantly on the lookout for suspicious computing activity, ensuring no endpoint falls through the cracks.
Enterprise Mobility Management. A UEM system’s enterprise mobility management (EMM) functionality provides app and data security, access control, device encryption, data loss prevention, and various other platform-specific features.
End User Security Awareness
Attacks can be triggered by unsuspecting employees. Social engineering remains a dangerous cybersecurity threat – Trend Micro predicts that business email compromise (BEC) attacks will exceed $9 billion in 2018 due to their “simplicity and effectiveness.”
Data security should not solely be the responsibility of IT. Cultivate a culture of security in your organization by educating your employees on the principles of cybersecurity and establishing guidelines for internet and device usage, even penalties for misusage, as well as protocols for reporting lost devices.
Updated Security Software
The Equifax 2017 breach, which exposed the Social Security numbers, home addresses, and birthdates of an estimated 143 million Americans, originated from a known web application vulnerability. A patch was already available two months prior to the breach, but Equifax failed to update their software.
The incident underscores the importance of updating your devices’ operating systems, web browsers, and security applications as soon as updates are released. Don’t wait days, weeks, or even months--as most people are inclined to do--to install them. By then, it might already be too late.
Data Safeguards and Disposal Protocols
You don’t want sensitive data in the wrong hands. As such, be sure to keep physical records in a secure place that only authorized personnel can access. Conduct rigorous background checks on your employees to weed out anyone with a questionable reputation, and never provide data access to vendors, even employees, whose services you use on a temporary basis.
When your endpoints reach their end of life, in addition to compliant disposal, make sure to securely and comprehensively wipe all data. Simply deleting your files, even reformatting the hard drive, won’t completely wipe away the files.
How Dynamic Computer Corporation Can Help
Unfortunately for modern businesses, cybercrime pays. It’s a booming economy hitting approximately $1.5 trillion in revenues annually. And as hackers become smarter and use every technology strength and weakness imaginable to lure more businesses into their traps, a “prevent it before it happens” mentality is the only path forward.
Farida Ali is CEO and President of Dynamic Computer Corporation. She is an experienced executive with over 25 years of experience building and transforming Dynamic to be uniquely positioned as an expert technology solutions provider in highly regulated industries. Farida holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan, as well as a Juris Doctor degree and membership in the State Bar of Michigan. As a certified woman-owned business and a certified minority business enterprise, Dynamic has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, with Farida spearheading this initiative.