How to protect your business from cyber attacks?2022 07 14
Destructive attacks on data encryption and website content modifications are on the rise. As a result, both national authorities and private companies are regularly exposed to cyber attacks.
If you have not yet taken proper cyber security measures at your company, you should do so immediately. Learn to protect your business from cyber attacks by following a few hacks.
In this blog post, our colleague Tomas shares his insights on protecting your business and what to do if you fail to protect yourself from a cyber attack.
Learn from other’s mistakes
One of the first steps to avoid threats is to ensure basic information security hygiene. Proper maintenance of computers, servers, network equipment, information systems and their components ensures that cyber criminals cannot harm the company and its operations.
“In the context of information security, learning from other people’s mistakes, not your own, is more important than anywhere else. Act smarter, and do not wait until you have suffered the damage yourself. If you notice information about a vulnerability or cyber attack at another company, immediately assess whether you have a similar vulnerability and whether you are prepared to protect yourself against such cyber attacks. If the vulnerability is present, follow the recommendations to fix it and do not wait for criminals to try to exploit it. If the security measures are insufficient to provide adequate protection, install additional ones. We often see employees react to vulnerabilities not when they are disclosed but when other companies are exposed to cyber attacks exploiting the vulnerability. However, ignoring security recommendations can lead to a significant amount of time and effort to regain the trust of customers or partners, restore the reputation and restore business operations,” says Tomas.
Poor software maintenance is the path to persistent vulnerabilities. If the IT team perform their functions properly, the IT equipment and various applications will not have security vulnerabilities or criminals will have to work very hard to carry out a hack. Yet, we are not immune from having our data or activities affected by improper actions of other third parties. For this reason, it is crucial to set out contract obligations or responsibilities and make a realistic assessment of whether business partners and contractors are adequately protecting personal data. Also, whether the products they develop and sell meet the expectations and security requirements.
How to protect yourself against cyber attacks?
It is much easier to trick a person than a firewall, anti-virus or other security tools. Often, people believe or misjudge the information provided by the offender in an email or message and start following instructions.
Global practices show an increasing number of money transfers involving login credentials or encrypted information after clicking on a malicious file. It is therefore essential to raise employees’ cyber security awareness and remind them of the rules of safe behaviour when cyber attacks increase.
Simple but universal tips to follow:
- Keep your organisation’s software up-to-date and regularly perform security patches and updates. Conduct periodic, bi-annual or more frequent hacker testing, risk assessment, access rights review and security assessment activities. By doing this yourself, you may be surprised to discover the weaknesses in the systems your company uses. They may simply be overlooked or risks may be underestimated. Ideally, the risk assessment should be carried out by external partners, not internal IT colleagues. Based on the risk assessment results, place the necessary security measures to protect your company’s critical information;
- Password hygiene is essential. It is estimated that a single internet user has around 80 online accounts for which it is simply impossible to remember passwords. When creating passwords, users often use simple sequences of numbers, their name or some other easily guessed word. It is therefore recommended that you come up with different passwords or use tools to help you create and manage different passwords. By properly protecting other accounts, we protect ourselves from future embarrassment. In addition, having more Internet users well organised will make hackers’ jobs much harder;
- Proper backup and protection. To minimise the impact of cyber attacks, it is recommended to ensure right backup and protection. In this case, operations can be restored on another infrastructure with backups even if the equipment is completely damaged.
What to do if a cyber attack happens?
In the event of a cyber attack, it is crucial to have an effective action plan in place to properly manage the incident, promptly restore business operations and prevent repeat attacks.
In this situation, Tomas advises focusing on employee education on information security:
- Ensure that colleagues know who and when to inform if they see something suspicious. Especially when working at home or hybrid. Initiate training for staff on data protection and preventive actions and how to avoid cyber incidents. Very often, security problems are not caused by system errors but by the human factor. Every employee needs to know how to identify security vulnerabilities before malicious hackers;
- A swift response to a cyber attack is crucial. If you are an employee of a company and you notice a cyber attack, inform your superiors and other responsible personnel. If you are a company manager, even in the event of a minor attack, you can report it to the National Cyber Security Centre, which will provide guidance on how to manage the cyber incident. In addition to having an incident management plan or business continuity management plan in place, it is important to test and update them regularly to ensure that staff do not feel lost in a stressful situation and that all actions are carried out quickly and correctly.
The earlier you take steps to ensure an adequate level of information security, the more you can reduce the likelihood of a cyber attack, or at least the damage it causes. If you are looking for ways to enhance your current IT security practices, feel free to contact the Baltic Amadeus team.
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