The threat of a cyber attack is always with us, so it’s no longer enough to take a reactive approach and hope you’ll figure it out when it happens. Prevention is key, since the consequences to business can be devastating.
Here are five areas to check up on and tighten where necessary:
#1 Keep Firewalls and Anti-Virus Up-to-Date
Hackers, viruses, worms and all the other forms of insidious computer cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated. The best way to mount your counter-attack and keep your IT system infection-free is to maintain a digital, automated vigilance from reputable sources. Microsoft Office 365 customers have something of an advantage since the company takes cyber security seriously. When automatic updates appear, resist the temptation to put them to sleep till tomorrow. You’re always busy, but those updates often contain the latest security measures against new and evolving threats.
#2 Keep Backups of Important Data
The importance of backing up data was highlighted following the recent ransomware cyber attacks that crippled so many big businesses and establishments around the world. Ransomware attacks encrypt the data they can reach on your system, making files and folders inaccessible. Should the worst happen and you find yourself the victim, you will at least have a recent backup to help mitigate the damage.
As well as performing regular data and system backups, you should make periodic checks that the data is not corrupted. Further, put into practice a procedure for recovering data so you can be back up and running as fast as possible.
#3 Train Staff to Recognise Potential Threats
Many viruses arrive via email. Senders are very clever at mimicking official email layouts, logos and language, even to the extent of masking the actual sender’s address. Ongoing training for staff makes sure everyone is up to date with what to look out for. As well as educating staff on how to spot fake emails, make sure they know not to trust third party flash-drives, never send personal information in emails, and to read permissions in applications they download (if permitted).
#4 Password Strength and Multi-Factor Authentication
Passwords can be a major weakness. Have a robust password policy that requires all users to create effective, strong passwords. You can also implement single sign on solutions. Office 365 and Azure offer this level of security by default, helping keep your IT system as safe as possible.
#5 Proactive IT Services
The technical world changes at a rapid pace, to the extent that in-house IT personnel often struggle to keep up. Managed IT services provide a dedicated team of experts whose sole business is to keep your organisation protected. They’re up to date on the latest products and trends, and often in a position to know (or anticipate) what’s coming in the future.
Simply hoping a cyber attack won’t land at your door is a luxury no business can afford these days.