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4 Ways to Be Prepared for Cybersecurity Threats

In today’s business environment, much of what we do takes place online. Critical business applications operate within the cloud. The amount of data stored online is staggering. Every organization has customers and consumers interacting with them via the Web. It’s become an integral part of how we interact and function. To not have access to the internet is to be at a significant disadvantage. This is an obvious and hard truth about the world we live in today.
Here is another hard truth. While there are many benefits to the internet, it also brings with it an increased number of threats. Every system connected to the Web is prone to hacking. And these attacks have the potential to bring your business to a halt.
Cybersecurity has continued to advance as new threats appear daily. It is no longer as simple as putting a firewall around a server. Today’s cyber threats develop quickly. In some cases, there still isn’t a solution available for many of these potential attacks. Additionally, there are other threats that unfold over the course of years. These usually result in the loss of millions of dollars. The Equifax breach is still deep into the recovery process, a year later. And now Facebook is scrambling to, well, save face, after a breach that affected more than 50 million users. If tech titans are still, clearly, vulnerable, what does that mean for the rest of us? As a familiar saying reminds us, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

4 Keys to Staying Ahead of Cybersecurity Threats

While you will never be able to create a completely safe, threat-free environment in your IT infrastructure, there are four steps you can take that will help you stay ahead of emerging cybersecurity threats.

Know your network and monitor your activity

One of the best ways to stem the tide of a cybersecurity threat is to regularly monitor your network. Sony certainly could have improved in this area when they were hacked in 2014 as it could have limited the damage and saved the company from a lot of embarrassment. At a minimum, you need to know what “normal” traffic and usage levels look like and be prepared to spot any abnormalities. We have a bank of monitors in our workspace designed to oversee the systems critical to our client’s businesses. Additionally, we use tools that provide automatic alerts around the clock to our IT team whenever issues arise. The goal of our team is to be able to spot a problem with a client’s systems and networks before it is noticed by the client and before it becomes a problem.

Understand your risk level

Like it or not, there are some companies, networks and business applications that are more valuable than others. High-value targets in the cybersecurity world are those that handle financial transactions, move large amounts of data, have access to personally identifiable information or have a recognizable name. Hackers go after these systems because there is a lot they can gain from it. To bolster your cybersecurity stance, you need to know your risk level. The more of these valuable assets you have (or handle), the higher your risk level. And the higher your risk level, the more diligent you have to be about locking down access to your critical systems and data.

Know where your critical data is and who has access to it

Cybersecurity would be a breeze if we didn’t have to provide access to our systems and data to employees, vendors and partners. Unfortunately, that’s not possible. Every day, employees within your organization use their access to get into these systems to do their jobs. Vendors and partners do the same. And each user, user account, and access point becomes yet another entryway for a hacker to gain access to your system. You must have policies and procedures in place governing who can access your system. Take steps such as locking down the IP addresses that approved individuals can use to access your network and applications.  Also, regularly audit your list of users and access controls to identify gaps. This is one of the most effective ways to keep unauthorized users out of your applications.

Be prepared for an attack

As I noted earlier, no application, website or system can be 100% safe from cyberattack. New threats emerge every week and it is too difficult to predict what form the next attack will take. If you’ve taken each of the steps noted above, the final piece of your cybersecurity puzzle is to develop a plan of action in the event of an attack. What will you do? Will you shut down access? Will you stop transactions? How will you notify customers? Affected individuals? What will you do to try to recover the stolen information or assets? We’ve found in our work with clients that developing a solid game plan for what you’ll do in the event of a cyberattack and regularly practicing that plan is a great way to prepare your organization.

Cybersecurity Assessment and Strategy

No matter what your organization does, you are at some level of risk for cyberattack. Preparing for an attack, monitoring your regular operations, controlling access to your systems and being able to spot abnormal circumstances are the foundations of a good cybersecurity strategy. If you need help or merely want a second opinion about your organization’s cybersecurity position, reach out to our team at Atlantic BT. We can conduct a cybersecurity assessment and help you develop a strategy that will put you in a position of strength and provide you with peace of mind.

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