As more organizations take aspects of their business online, hackers exploit vulnerabilities to attack companies, steal customer data, and disrupt business. According to a recent study from IDC, 37% of global organizations state they were victims of ransomware attacks in 2021.
This article offers five measures you can take before a cyberattack occurs, not only to protect yourself and your customers but to help you rebound when a cyberattack inevitably occurs.
Protect and Monitor Remote Access
Flexible work arrangements and remote work are commonplace today. That means it is no longer enough just to worry about on-site security; monitoring system access via remote methods needs additional scrutiny. In the past, anyone remotely accessing servers or networks could trigger a red flag. With a large number of remote workers accessing systems at any given time, organizations need to take special care to know who is actually connecting to company networks.
However, systems and tools are necessary for remote employees to keep their access secure. Two-factor authentication is one essential and easy-to-configure measure that adds a significant barrier for would-be cybercriminals.
Consider an Air Gap for Highly Sensitive Data
A plethora of security tools and data protection systems are on the market today, many of which are highly effective. But for data that needs an extra layer of protection, consider adding an air gap. This means your data is not connected to the internet or a remote server of any kind. A real-world example would be storing your most sensitive financial data on a hard drive and locking it in a safe. Your most important data is immune from remote attacks, which is where most cybersecurity issues occur. Short of a “Mission: Impossible”-style data heist, your information is kept secure.
Of course, there are downsides to this method. It is certainly less convenient, and access is not on-demand. It also means that if the physical media is destroyed, your data is, too. One best practice is to create several copies in different secure locations.
Create Data Backups Early and Often
Often, cyberattacks go hand in hand with data loss. Without backups of important files and applications, recovering can be painful — both from a time-cost and financial perspective. When it comes to data backups, there is no such thing as too early or too often. While this step will not protect you from an attack, it will undoubtedly make rebounding from one much faster and easier.
Educate Employees About Cybersecurity Risks
It is a painful reality that 95% of cyberattacks occur because of human error, according to a recent study by the World Economic Forum. Often the easiest cyberattack vector for criminals is through phishing. By disguising emails as coming from internal sources, sending links or files that contain malware, and even calling and tricking employees to reveal sensitive data, cyber attackers can access sensitive information and get their hands on passwords and other important data. For these reasons, it is essential to educate your teams on how best to identify and report cyberattacking attempts to thwart them before they impact your business.
Hire Hackers to Stress-Test Systems
By hiring computer scientists with knowledge and even experience in hacking systems, you can help identify potential vulnerabilities in servers, applications, and websites before cybercriminals discover them. The key here is hiring ethical hackers who do these sorts of activities as their profession. Utilizing these professionals to hunt for threats and conduct penetration testing is a meaningful proactive step toward protecting enterprise systems.
Like so many things, when it comes to cyberattacks, hindsight is always 20/20. Taking steps now can better position your company to withstand cyberattacks, including data breaches and ransomware that can impact your ability to conduct business and serve your customers.