Cybercrime is dangerous and it is only evolving more each day. The best way to fight these cyber threats is to have an effective and dependable cybersecurity system. Below we have listed some tips so you can be sure your cybersecurity system is tough enough to beat any kind of cyber threat.
A new day, a new cyber threat—or so it seems. As cybercrime evolves at an alarming speed, far too many organizations are still relying on ineffectual or incomplete cybersecurity solutions, leaving their networks, data, and even reputations vulnerable to attack.
No target too small
We occasionally hear business leaders dismiss the need for a comprehensive cybersecurity plan because they think their business is “too small” to be a target or that their data is of no value to cybercriminals. This is a dangerous misconception.
In reality, hackers are increasingly targeting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), with 66% of SMBs experiencing a cyberattack in 2019. Why? Hackers are opportunistic, and SMBs can be easy targets, as they often have less sophisticated cybersecurity measures in place. SMBs are also less likely to have an effective backup system from which their data can be easily restored and may have no choice but to pay the hacker’s ransom to regain control of their systems and data.
Firewalls and antivirus software are not enough
Another misconception that puts businesses at risk is that tools such as firewalls and antivirus software are all they need to protect their network and critical business assets.
Yes, these virtual barriers build walls around your network. But what if a hacker slips through a gap in the wall? Determined hackers will find and exploit any gaps or weaknesses in your security — and there may be more ways into your network than you realize.
Every device connected to your network represents a potential entry point for hackers. These entry points, known as “endpoints,” need to be included in your organization’s cybersecurity plan. And while most businesses have taken steps to protect their users’ laptops, workstations, and mobile devices, there are several commonly overlooked endpoints that cybercriminals can exploit to gain access to your network, such as:
- Printers, copiers, and scanners.
- HVAC systems.
- Security cameras.
- Smart devices.
Smart devices, such as thermostats connected to your wireless network, can be vulnerable to hackers because they often have little or no built-in security. Modern printers and copiers, on the other hand, are designed with security in mind; however, if a printer on your network is out of warranty and no longer receives security updates, that machine is a cybersecurity risk.
Think about every device plugged into your network or connected to your Wi-Fi. If a hacker exploited one of these entry points, would you be able to detect the breach? How would you respond? This is why it’s important to have a layered approach to cybersecurity.
Establishing a layered approach to cybersecurity
The purpose of layered security is to ensure that every individual component of your cybersecurity plan has a backup to counter any flaws or gaps. This layered approach aligns with the framework offered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which integrates industry standards, guidelines, and best practices to help organizations understand and manage their cybersecurity risks. In regulated industries, following the NIST framework can also help organizations comply with regulatory and compliance standards such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework includes five primary functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond and Recover:
- Identify – What devices are on your network? What threats do you need to be aware of?
- Protect – What policies, training, and solutions do you need to protect your network and minimize these threats?
- Detect – How do you detect when someone or something has gotten past your layers of protection?
- Respond – How do you respond when you detect a breach?
- Recover – How do you recover from a breach, ensure compliance, and prevent the next breach?
Following this framework, cybersecurity layers may include asset management to track the devices on your network and security audits and scans to identify threats, along with antivirus software, email and web filtering, multifactor authentication, dark web monitoring, mobile device security, and more to protect your network and devices.
Don’t forget detection and response
The problem we frequently see is that organizations stop their efforts at protection, which means they have no way to detect, respond to, or recover from breaches.
Detection and response tools are the security cameras that catch cyber criminals sneaking into your network and the alarm systems that alert you to the breach. Without these tools in place, it can take more than 200 days to discover a breach, giving hackers plenty of time to plan and execute a devastating attack before you are even aware of a problem.
That is a risk your business can’t afford to take. And thanks to advancements in the industry, you no longer have to, as newer “as a service” solutions have made detection and response capabilities accessible to businesses of all sizes.