Cyberattacks affect businesses of all types and sizes. Many organizations struggle with prioritizing cybersecurity defense effort and projects. No one is safe from crippling attacks ranging from phishing, malware, insider threats and don’t forget ransomware! The common denominator of all cyber incidents is its ability to hinder productivity, revenue growth and customer satisfaction. These 3 factors all contribute to the average cost of a breach in the US reaching $4.35 million, according to the IBM’s 2022 Data Breach Report. This is why proactive cybersecurity defense is critical for overall organizational health.
We can all agree that no one wants their business to be interrupted. Beyond the financial implications, a cyberattack causes a lot of unnecessary stress and robs staff of valuable time. After the hassle of recovering your infrastructure, the difficult process of informing trusting customers and vendors that their data was compromised begins. That is not a simple or enjoyable process for anyone.
In this blog, we’ll review a number of different recommendations, both proactive and reactive, to enhance your cybersecurity defense. Utilize these tips to quickly identify and contain an attack before significant damage is done.
Proactive Cybersecurity Defense Steps to Implement
By taking these proactive steps, you can best protect your business from the devastating consequences of a cyberattack:
Use unique, complex passwords
Not using unique, complex passwords is like keeping the keys in your front door. Yes, it is locked. However, simply turning the accessible key will gain you access. Users should know the basics of creating a complex password: a mix of upper and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers, avoid easily guessable things like names, and significant dates, and don’t reuse passwords. If your users do not know, educate them.
We can all get a little lazy though. And by the way, how are we supposed to remember all those complex combinations? Our suggestion – use a password manager. Luckily, there are a number of reputable password managers, so do a bit of research and select the one that works best with your workflow.
Even better – Implement multifactor authentication (MFA)
Multifactor authentication is a common security measure that is natively incorporated into many tools. It requires your employees to provide something they know (like a password) and something they have (like a pin sent to their phone or a fingerprint). This reduces the likelihood of unauthorized data access.
Have a security awareness program
As we mentioned above, it is important to educate users on the importance of complex passwords, but also how to identify a phishing email or scam. Annual security awareness training is often implemented to check a compliance box, but historically it has been shown to significantly reduce successful phishing campaigns. A full program includes ongoing, dynamic cyber security awareness training along with simulated phishing tests. With education, employees become an effective last line of defense.
24/7/365 Monitoring of Dynamic Data
Any true proactive cybersecurity defense program requires 24/7 monitoring. You cannot detect an incident if you aren’t monitoring the systems. Even with all the next-generation tools available, there is still a need for human action. According to a number of sources, an average a breach goes undetected for over 250 days. The primary reasons include the lack of effective tools, lack of proper configuration or the absence of active monitoring. For when an attack does occur, preparing for the effective detection of an incident is a critical proactive response component.
Reactive steps to remember
Minimizing impact is significantly affected based on the timeliness of the response, remediation and recovery during a cybersecurity incident.
Quick and Appropriate Response
An effective, proactive defense prepares an organization for a quick response when needed. How do you accomplish a quick response when threats are rapidly hitting the network, devices and users? Putting the tools in place, including proactive monitoring, centralized data collection and a 24/7 team, makes you ready to respond to threats. With the proper information, expertly trained analysts can deliver an appropriate response stopping attacks in their tracks before an incident becomes a breach.
It is not a matter of if, but when a cybersecurity breach will occur. A comprehensive business continuity plan ensures that there is limited down when an incident does happen. Recently, a Brite customer fell victim to a ransomware attack. A strong disaster recovery and business continuity program resulted in less than 15 minutes of downtime and no data was lost.
Implementing the above proactive cybersecurity defense steps decreases the reactive time, effort and skillsets required. However, you can still accomplish this by collaborating with an IT service provider like Brite. Our decades of experience in managed IT and cybersecurity provide increased uptime, predictable costs and expert cybersecurity defense. Start your journey today!