In 2021 the security of your business IT network should be an absolute priority, for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the events of 2020 led to a potentially permanent shift in the way many of us work, with more team members remotely accessing company data from more devices and locations than ever before.
Allowing remote workers access to the same critical business data that was traditionally only accessible onsite carries a plethora of new and enhanced cyber security risks.
Equally, as technologies continue to rapidly evolve, it’s important that businesses revisit their IT security practices regularly to ensure they remain fit-for-purpose, and continue to help enterprises avoid disaster as they adopt new and emerging network solutions.
What is cyber security?
Cyber security is an umbrella term used to describe a host of protection methods that keep your IT infrastructure and business data safe from malicious attacks, as well as the recovery response in the event of disaster. Essentially, it is the use of technology to keep your network, devices and intellectual property safe.
Why you should take cyber security seriously!
A lack of quality cyber security measures presents real, practical, daily threats to your organisation. Scams, encrypted files, stolen data, and even blackmail can result from not having adequately robust security measures in place across your network. Breaches have real potential to cause a significant financial hit, and the reputational damage associated with the loss of sensitive customer information can be challenging to repair.
Applying the latest strategies, tools and approaches for the protection of your vital business data and applications is essential. Every business and network set-up is different, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all solution to cyber security. It is therefore important to take the time to review your existing environment and priorities, consider potential improvements, and weigh up the costs, risks and benefits.
Whether managed in-house or by an expert cybersecurity consultancy, you’ll need to be confident that whoever is responsible for your network security has the agility to constantly adapt and keep up with the ever-evolving threats, while responding proactively to ensure the safety of your network.
What are some common cyber risks?
Viruses, trojans, spyware, botnets … malicious software – more commonly known as ‘malware’ – is a term used to describe software specifically created and designed to disrupt your system and business operations. It can take hold in a number of ways, including when you open a malicious email attachment or download a well-disguised yet harmful file.
This is an example of malicious software being used to extort money. It works by locking you out of your network or taking valuable files hostage. A cash ‘ransom’ is usually demanded in order to restore your access … although paying the price does not necessarily guarantee a positive outcome!
This type of scam works by using emails to masquerade as a legitimate entity, in order to convince users to provide sensitive data. An email from your financial institution asking you to re-confirm certain banking details would be a prime example. Of course, once the scammer has access to this information, they can use it for their own purposes.
By overwhelming your network with traffic, hackers can successfully prevent you from completing your business-as-usual operations, posing a serious threat to productivity, profitability and the reputation of your business amongst customers.
The digital exchange of information between sender and receiver can be intercepted thanks to unsecured Wi-Fi networks. This makes it possible for an individual to insert themselves and steal data while it’s in transit.
Approaches to cyber security
There are many approaches that can be deployed to keep your network and critical business data safe from harm. Depending on your distinct circumstances, priorities and budget, your approach to cyber security might incorporate various combinations of tools and tactics such as:
Fortifying your network infrastructure with the right protections is the first step to avoiding disaster. Common examples include strong password requirements and multi-factor authentication using codes sent via SMS or to an alternate email address.
Ongoing network monitoring & access to 24/7 technical support
This will help detect potential threats early, and ensure speedy incident response so that issues can be resolved quickly and effectively (either remotely or on-site), before they have the opportunity to wreak havoc over your network.
Measures can be put in place to help detect phishing emails, as well as to prevent malware, ransomware and viruses from infiltrating your system via email. The aforementioned multi-factor authentication is an important aspect of effective email protection, and is thought to prevent around 99 percent of these types of attack.
Critical infrastructure security
Physical measures may be required to protect your most business-critical infrastructure. For instance, the installation of a dedicated electricity grid will ensure your network remains stable during unexpected power failures, mitigating costly downtime.
Application & device security
Setting up extra protections such as antivirus software, firewalls and encryption techniques for all business software and devices will prevent sensitive information from being stolen and misused, and will block persistent cyber threats.
Protection of the privacy and integrity of your physical and digital data, in the face of threats such as unauthorised access, deletion and unwanted changes, is vital from both an operational and reputational standpoint.
With an ever-increasing number of businesses considering the cloud as their ‘go-to’ for storage solutions, traditional security measures may no longer offer sufficient protection from the modern and evolving threats associated with this new environment. A smart cloud security strategy is therefore vital for the protection of all business data and applications.
Regular data back-ups
Whether it be protection against costly downtime caused by system failure, or the damage resulting from the loss of sensitive information, the impact on businesses of data breaches and loss can be devastating and expensive.
If losing data would interfere with your business operations, damage customer relationships, impact cash flow, or generate extra work and stress for your team, it should be securely and regularly backed up as part of an effective disaster recovery and business continuity plan.
Disaster recovery & business continuity
Having the right measures in place to prevent a cyber security breach is one thing, but having a solid recovery plan in-place to enable business continuity in the event of disaster is equally as important.
With the right policies and processes in place, outlining the steps to be taken following a cyber attack, you can ensure your organisation can continue to operate without access to critical data and resources. Beyond this, learning the necessary lessons from an attack and putting measures in place that will prevent it from happening again in the future is a vital next step.
Despite the dependence of the modern business on technology, human error is still a very real risk when it comes to maintaining the security of your business network and data. This risk can be reduced through proper staff awareness training around the latest and most common cyber security threats, and the processes to follow should they detect something suspicious.
Regular check ups
A proactive approach and ongoing assessments of the current state of your network security will inform smart decision-making around improvements that can be made to offer better protection into the future.
Expert cyber security companies in Australia like Lanter Technologies work to identify any security risks your business may face, and how those risks can be nullified in a hassle-free and affordable way. Our managed security services ensure potential threats are dealt with long before they can disrupt your business.
Ask our security consultants to perform a free, high-level security review of your business. We’ll identify potential risks, opportunities for security improvements, and provide you with advice on how to optimise your business to avoid all the common security pitfalls.