Online security attacks are rarely out of the headlines these days. Since the Sony hack last year, there has been a general shift in attitude towards online security. There’s much to be said about the fact that the average person doesn’t really appreciate the full extent of cyber threats. As with most things, until it happens to us, then we tend to disregard sometimes very blatant attendant risks in all manner of things that we do – and cybersecurity is no exception.
The business world has moved online, and this has meant that the threats to our assets are no longer confined to the physical realms like they used to be. Technology has enabled a much more efficient means of storing and cataloguing important business data. No longer do we keep all of our files and customer information stored away in secure physical vaults. Instead, we have turned almost exclusively to the digital domains of hard drives, mainframes and increasingly the cloud for our safe-storing needs. This of course has proven to be a far more effective and convenient way of storing, retrieving and accessing our data. But, with increased convenience come whole swathes of new risks.
Cyber Threats Are Real
Undoubtedly this will be a scenario that resonates with your business operations – and so the question has to be, how strong is your internet security?
There are malicious individuals and organisations out there who make a living out of hacking into business networks and holding data to ransom. Targeted attacks are ever on the rise – and this means that your business needs to be doing everything that it can to protect itself.
Joe Caruso, founder and CEO of Global Digital Forensics, comments on the state of information security in businesses:
“Hackers have so many things working in their favour, from anonymous currencies and ‘Dark Web’ sites which allow them an easy way to turn stolen information into real cash, to the nightmare it is to not only find them, but to have any real success in prosecution and recovery due [to] the global nature of the problem and the tangled mess of foreign jurisdiction.
“It simply makes the risk versus return quotient too enticing to resist, and it’s businesses that will end up on the hook to pay the piper in the end. But that doesn’t mean businesses have to just take it lying down, they can fight back. The key is tipping the odds back in their favour with a vigorous commitment to information security.”
Below is an infographic from UAB Collat School Of Business, which highlights the importance of IT security in the workplace, and is a great reference point when it comes to educating your employees about the importance of cyber security.
Is Total Security Ever Possible?
The short answer to this question, unfortunately, is no. Just as in the physical world there is no lock strong enough that can’t be broken, nor a wall high enough that cannot be climbed, so the same is true in the digital world.
However, that’s not to say that effective cybersecurity cannot be achieved to a point where you will be protected against attacks indefinitely. Just because you will struggle to create an IT security system that is absolutely 100% impenetrable, it doesn’t mean that you cannot achieve adequate protection. Indeed, if you make your digital (fire)walls high (and hot) enough and your digital locks strong enough, then you will be creating barriers for cybercriminals which will be too secure for them to bother with. There are plenty of businesses out there who do not take their IT security as seriously as they should, and so long as you ensure that you are not one them, then you can minimise your chances of being targeted for an attack.
Your IT Security Strategy
There are many things that you will need to take into account when devising your IT security strategy, many entry points, vulnerabilities, policies and people that you will have to ensure are adequately serviced in order to remain safe.
Cyber threats are in a constant state of evolution, and that means that you will need to be evolving as well in order to stay ahead of them. We recommend that you take the following steps to keep your internet security always up to date.
#1. Identify Your Most Valuable Assets
It stands to reason that your most valuable digital assets are those that will be at the greatest risk. Your customers’ credit card information, for instance, will be much more valuable to an attacker than a list of your employees. So, determine where the value lies in your company, and prioritise your security efforts accordingly.
#2. Analyse Risks
Security risks can encompass anything from network vulnerabilities to members of staff who are untrained and end up opening compromised emails and downloading apps that are infected with malware. Work out exactly what all of the potential IT security risks are, and list them in order of sensitivity.
#3. Devise A Plan
Your IT security plan will be one of the most important documents to your business. In it will be the proposals for what your organisation is planning to do in order to meet security requirements. You will be listing all of the people involved, the resources that you will utilise, and the network services that require protection (intranet, web, emails etc.).
#4. Enforce An IT Security Policy
Devising your plan is one thing, but enforcing it is another entirely. IT security is the obligation of everyone in your company, and all members of staff and managers who have access to your system must abide by the policies that you put in place, with disciplinary procedures as standard for anybody who fails to comply.
The key points of your IT security policy should include:
- User Authentication
#5. Invest In Security Software And Technology
This is most important point on the list. All the policies and procedures in the world will not make one shred of difference if you do not have the adequate tools in place to defend yourself.
The SoHo Blue Internet Security Device
We recommend using the SoHo Blue internet security device. This is a magic piece of equipment that combines everything you need to ensure that your business is secure in one tidy unit. Suitable for businesses with up to 100 users, it comes with the following list of features:
- Full Standard Unified Threat Management: a solution to all your security needs in one package
- Powerful Firewall to protect your organisation and data
- Email Protection: Anti-Virus, Anti-Spam and Anti-Phishing
- Web Protection: Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware
- Web Controls: Only allow access to those that need it
- Intrusion Prevention and Detection with Anti-Spyware
- VPN for secure connection to multiple sites