Is your business vulnerable to a cyberattack? 5 Red flags to look out for

Is your business vulnerable to a cyberattack? 5 Red flags to look out for

A recent cybersecurity report found that 61% of organizations suffered a cybersecurity incident in the past year, up from 45% in 2018. The cost of an incident continues to rise steadily as well, with the global median reaching $369,000. Yet, despite the threats facing every industry and every business, regardless of its size and scope, most firms are still woefully unprepared for the next big threat. If any of these red flags apply to your organization, it’s time to act fast:

#1. Lack of security awareness training

A common misconception among businesses is that cyberthreats are solely the domain of the IT department. This line of thinking is precisely what leaves organizations vulnerable to an attack. These days, most threats don’t actually come from malicious software and hackers directly. Instead, they almost invariably start with social engineering scams designed to exploit human ignorance to steal confidential information. The hacking and malware only come later.

Cybersecurity starts and finishes with your employees. Given how widespread phishing scams are, information security is much more a people problem than a technology one. No amount of technology solutions can substitute employee awareness, which is why every organization needs an ongoing security awareness training program. This should incorporate your policies and procedures and aim to drive a culture of accountability and security-first.

#2. Insufficient remote access controls

Remote working is now far more than just a trend. Workers are empowered by technology to work from home or on the move, using their own devices to access the systems and data they need to do their jobs. Unfortunately, the convenience and accessibility of mobile and cloud technologies greatly increase a company’s exposure to attacks, hence the need for proper access controls.

Keeping all your data stored in a secure cloud environment over which administrators retain complete control is an important first step. Sensitive business data should never reside on any mobile device, particularly those which are owned by employees. Access controls should be closely monitored and strictly controlled as well. Multifactor authentication is a must since it helps guard against phishing scams and unauthorized access.

#3. Poor mobile device management

Many businesses let employees use their own devices for work to reduce costs and increase productivity. However, this also means surrendering control over those devices. Furthermore, if a portable device gets lost or stolen, as they often do, an unauthorized third party having access to them is usually a lot worse than just losing the device. Worse still, many businesses don’t even have a full picture of where their data physically resides.

Aside from keeping your business apps and data hosted in the cloud, administrators also need a way to remotely monitor and manage their entire portfolio of mobile devices, including those owned either by the business or by employees. Mobile device management (MDM) software should give administrators the means to remotely wipe compromised devices, revoke access controls on demand, and enforce their remote working policies.

#4. Not enough security layers

An organization’s information security infrastructure is only ever as strong as its weakest link. All it takes is one unmonitored access point, and hackers will have no resistance going straight for your most valuable digital assets. If all you have is one layer to protect your business from external and internal threats, then it won’t be long before an incident occurs.

You can think of multilayered security as the digital analogue to a medieval castle, which has a moat, walls, a keep, and a garrison of troops to protect it. When it comes to keeping digital data safe, you need much more than just a firewall and antivirus. You also need an external layer of security to guard against insider threat and endpoint protection to safeguard each individual device connected to your network.

#5. Outdated systems and policies

New threats come and go, exploiting old and new technology alike. Old and outdated systems are especially vulnerable since they haven’t been patched against the latest attacks. If a particular hardware or software product is no longer supported by the original manufacturer, then there won’t be any more critical security updates for it. An oft-cited example is Windows XP, which a surprising number of organizations still use.

Every system nearing the end of its support life cycle should be retired as soon as possible. If you’re using cloud-based resources, then obsolescence isn’t something you have to worry about, since the service provider should take care of maintenance and upgrades. Just be sure that your information security policies are up to date so that they’re relevant to your existing technology infrastructure and business processes.

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