Security breaches continue to make big news in 2016. And yet, despite the many headlines and news reports spreading the costly repercussions of security leaks, many businesses continue to be unprepared for the debilitating consequences of improperly protected digital information. As hacking attempts grow more sophisticated daily, it is no longer safe for you to remain passive about the security weaknesses in your company.
So, what can companies do to protect themselves more efficiently against cyber security threats? We’ve gathered the top three most likely sources for cyber security risks in the coming year, and what you should be doing in order to protect your business against them.
1. Uneducated Employees
Unfortunately, the greatest risk to your company’s sensitive data can come right from your very own team. An employee who is uneducated about the risks of a cyber attack is a hacker’s dream come true, and is the quickest and easiest way to put your company at risk for damaging security breaches. Oftentimes cyber criminals will target higher ups in the company with phishing attempts and keylogger scams, which would give them access to the most sensitive data that the business has to offer.
The best solution to this issue is to have an information session about cyber security’s best practices, and have your IT department offer ongoing support for users who may be unsure of what types of attachments should and should not be accessed. If your employees work from their mobile devices, ensuring that passwords are implemented and are relatively complex can go a long way in safeguarding your company’s important information.
2. Extortion Hacks
The success of last year’s Ashley Madison security breach has lead to a massive surge of popularity in extortion hacks. Standard ransomware attacks are bad enough—where malware is encrypted to lock access to the victim’s computer until they pay a hefty ransom— but extortion hacks now have the added damage of threatening to release sensitive data to the public if the victim doesn’t meet the hacker’s demands. With an attack like this, not only will your information be costly to get back, it could result in a damaging public relations nightmare and your company could lose its hard earned reputation with its customers.
Having your IT security team regularly perform data backups and software updates can make a huge impact on your company’s fight against extortion attacks. This way, if you’re locked out of your system you can still restore it to an earlier version. Being aware of hidden file-extensions when you’re opening unknown files can also make it a lot easier to spot suspicious files before they become harmful.
3. Third Party Service Providers
Most businesses rely on technology for their daily tasks, but much of today’s tech involves outsourcers and vendors to support and maintain systems. For example, many restaurants will outsource the management of their point-of-sale systems to a third party, meaning that there’s very little control over what types of security protocols are being performed. If this third party company uses an easily guessable default password for their clients, hackers then have access to your network and can cause a great deal of damage, despite your best efforts.
Having someone skilled in IT security look over the third party’s security practices to ensure that everything is top notch can help prevent harmful attacks to your systems. Enforcing multifactor authentication, setting least-privilege permissions, and monitoring failed login attempts can allow you to have a red-flag alert as to whether or not this third party has a sufficient cyber security procedure for their clients.