8 cybersecurity tips that could save your business

Craig Dean, Regional Director – North West – razorblue

2020 was the year of the virus, both from a biological and a digital perspective.

The sudden shift to remote working in response to Covid-19 intensified cyber-attacks and breaches on a global scale. Hackers took advantage of the gaps in these new target-rich environments and as a result governments, organisations and individuals have paid a heavy price.

Breaches almost doubled from 2019 with hackers attacking every 39 seconds. The types of cyber-attacks vary in sophistication, but financial gains remain the main motivator.

Recent examples include British energy provider Npower recently suffered a data breach exposing customers’ financial and personal data, forcing the company to permanently shut down its mobile app.

More locally, in November 2020, Manchester United’s computer systems were hacked and although they responded quickly, this could have had devastating consequences. Football clubs hold records of hundreds of thousands of individuals, as well as sensitive business and payment data.

How attacks work?

One common method of attack is phishing, a type of social engineering attack often used to steal user data, including login credentials and credit card numbers.

It occurs when an attacker, masquerading as a trusted entity, dupes a victim into opening an attachment.

Typically tricking the recipient into believing that there is an action they need to take, such as: a request for bank details, clicking a link or downloading an attachment, or a request to change their password.

Clicking a malicious link leads to the installation of malware, the freezing of the system as part of a ransomware attack or the revealing of sensitive information.

Ransomware, is another one of the most prevalent variants of a cyber-attack, often delivering more impact and disruption to the victim than many others. The malware prevents users from accessing their system or personal files and demands a ransom pay-out in exchange for regained access.

The principle of a ransomware attack is simple, hackers hold businesses ransom by encrypting their data so they can no longer make use of it, and in some cases exposing the stolen data online.

Although ransomware has been around for years, it has become a more prevalent method for hackers as they can operate under the cover of cryptocurrencies that are more difficult to trace.

How to safeguard your business?

Attackers are smarter and more convincing than ever before. One method of protection is not enough to fully safeguard your business, you need to implement a layered approach. We recommend an amalgamation of the following solutions:

  1. Education

86% of threats and data leaks start with an employee and over 90% of security breaches involve human error. It is imperative to keep your employees up-to-date and trained on cyber threats and how to identify malicious content.

  1. Email Security

Around 94% of all malware is spread through email. An effective email security software will protect against all internal and external email threats. Email security should include spam filters, impersonation protection and detailed attachment and link scanning.

  1. MFA & Passwords

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is an authentication method which provides any type of account with a second layer of security. Rather than just a username and password, MFA asks for a unique code which is sent to another one of your devices, ensuring that only authorised personnel can access the account and gain access to data.

  1. Next-gen firewalls

There is a general misconception that because people are not working from the office that firewalls are not needed. Next-generation firewalls give you visibility, control and protection of the traffic flowing through your network, even if its encrypted.

  1. Anti-virus

Anti-virus provides your business with robust protection against evolving cyber threats and viruses that are aiming to hack into your organisation’s confidential data.

  1. Air-gapped backup

Lost or compromised data needs retrieving quickly and with minimal downtime. The best method to recover such data is from a backup. However, it is vital to keep a backup away from your network, such as in the cloud. This is because malware and ransomware attacks can destroy data on a network it gains access to.

Our cloud backup solution makes it impossible for the hacker to interfere or delete cloud backups, ensuring your cloud copy is always safe.

  1. Deploy patches rapidly

A recent Microsoft Exchange vulnerability was exploited across the world, putting customers at risk of emails being accessed without needing to log in. The rapid installation of security patches ensures your business remains safe from evolving threats.

  1. Utilise expert security services

Cyber attackers are experts and should be faced with expert protection solutions.

Consider bringing in a managed service provider (MSP) to augment your security framework. A reliable MSP will perform vulnerability checks, recommend and implement relevant solutions to suit your requirements, and conduct regular software and patch management updates.

We are Cyber Essentials Plus accredited and offer leading cybersecurity protection and prevention solutions to safeguard your business.