Are You Absolutely Sure You’re Protected From Cybercrime?
Given how often big-name data breaches make headlines these days, you probably think cybersecurity is only a concern for big businesses. Whether it’s Colonial Pipeline or Kaseya, the one thing they all have in common is that they’re operating on a scale much larger than your organization is.
However, you shouldn’t let your small size give you a false sense of security...
Are You Making Dangerous Assumptions About Your Cybersecurity?
The absolute biggest mistake companies make about cybersecurity insurance and cybersecurity, in general, is to assume that they don’t need it and that they are not a target. Or even worse, they think they are already protected, without taking any steps to ensure they are.
You may have less than a hundred employees, but does that really mean you’re secure?
In 2020, the rate of cyberattacks grew 400% compared to the previous year — the fact is that a rising tide lifts all ships. As cybercrime becomes more prevalent, your organization becomes a more likely target, no matter its size.
The State Of Cybercrime
The conversation about cybersecurity has kind of become white noise, at this point. There are so many scams, hacks, and major data breaches that it's hard to stay engaged.
Let’s keep it simple, and stick to the data — like the fact that the global cybercrime industry will cause up to $6 trillion in damages in just a few years.
How? Just consider the rate at which attacks are occurring…
- COVID-19 Poses Unprecedented Cybersecurity Threats: The number of phishing emails and social engineering scams that use the COVID-19 pandemic as a topic represents the single largest thematic series of cybercrime attacks ever. From credential phishing and malicious attachments to business email compromise and fake landing pages, the coronavirus has been a veritable gold rush for cybercriminals.
- The Rate Of Ransomware Attacks Is Rising: It is estimated that a ransomware attack will occur every 11 seconds in 2021.
- Small Businesses Rarely Survive A Breach: 60% of small businesses that are hit with a cyber attack will go out of business within six months.
Growing Cybersecurity Threats You Need To Defend Against
In 2021 and beyond, you’ll need to think more critically about the way you approach and manage cybersecurity for your organization. Consider the threats the business world is facing:
Cybercriminals keep relying on the same scams because users keep falling for the exact same tactics without ever seeming to learn the skills needed to protect against them. It might come as a surprise, but the greatest cyber threat that businesses are facing today isn't hackers exploiting software vulnerabilities; it's your staff.
By using sneaky and manipulative tactics to trick employees into sharing sensitive information like usernames and passwords, hackers are gaining access to valuable data, and it's costing businesses a lot of money.
Any system that is connected to the Internet is at risk — that means business networks, remote users with VPNs, cloud applications, and everything in between. Cybercriminals will target these types of systems, looking for unpatched and out-of-date infrastructure, as well as exposed Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) connections. Protecting against these types of threats means implementing a vulnerability management program.
Exploited System Administration Tools
As networks grow and systems become ever more connected, abuse of system administration controls has become more dangerous. These tools are already installed on systems, and once a cybercriminal has access to them, they can deploy viruses and malware with ease.
Datto recently released their Global State of the Channel Ransomware Report, developed from statistics reported by over 1,400 survey respondents. Managed service providers, channel partners, and Datto clients help to paint a frightening picture of the rate at which ransomware is being used against unsuspecting businesses.
85% of MSPs report ransomware as the most common malware threat to SMBs, and an average of 1 in 5 businesses report being a victim of a ransomware attack.
Six Ways To Enhance Your Small Business Cybersecurity
Work With A Reputable Managed Services Provider.
The question you need to ask yourself is whether you can confidently manage cybersecurity on your own.
The short answer is “maybe, but probably not”. Especially for members of highly regulated industries like healthcare and financial services.
In theory, it's entirely possible that, if you've invested in the right technologies, and have the right skill set, you could handle cybersecurity for your business all on your own. You would find your vulnerabilities, manage your policies, monitor your alerts, and everything else that comes with operating a secure business IT environment.
If we’re being honest, however, that’s a big if.
When it comes to protecting against the ongoing, evolving cybersecurity threats in play today, managing cybersecurity is, understandably, a tall order. For all these reasons, it’s recommended that business owners simply outsource their cybersecurity for complete management by an IT company they can rely on
When selecting your cybersecurity partner, make sure you look for the right qualities:
- One that has experience dealing with and recovering businesses that have been breached is a plus, as they can help you navigate what you should put into place based on your business.
- A good MSP will come with its own toolsets and security software to deploy.
Invest In Right Defensive Technologies
If you’re not paying an annual license subscription for a firewall device that includes security services, the fact is that it’s worthless and not protecting you. You need to invest in a next-generation firewall, which will be able to protect against modern threats.
Your firewall is your first line of defense for keeping your information safe. A firewall is a particular type of solution that maintains the security of your network. It blocks unauthorized users from gaining access to your data.
Firewalls are deployed via hardware, software, or a combination of the two. Many businesses also employ data encryption for an extra layer of security. A firewall inspects and filters incoming and outgoing data in the following ways:
- With Packet Filtering that filters incoming and outgoing data and accepts or rejects it depending on your predefined rules.
- Via an Application Gateway that applies security to applications like Telnet (a software program that can access remote computers and terminals over the Internet, or a TCP/IP computer network) and File Transfer Protocol Servers.
- By using a Circuit-Level Gateway when a connection such as a Transmission Control Protocol is made, and small pieces called packets are transported.
- With Proxy Servers that mask your true network address and capture every message that enters or leaves your network.
- Using Stateful Inspection or Dynamic Packet Filtering to compare a packet’s critical data parts. These are compared to a trusted information database to decide if the information is authorized.
Next-Generation Firewalls perform an in-depth inspection of state and active directories, virtual private networks, and packet filtering. They also come with additional features like active directory integration support, SSH, and SSL inspection, as well as malware reputation-based filtering.
- The ability to identify undesirable encrypted applications.
- Prevention against network intrusions.
- Intelligence in improving blocking decisions
- Intrusion prevention.
- A baseline for deviations from normal application behaviors.
Make Sure Your Inboxes Are Protected
What do you think email filters are for? You might assume they’re just to keep your inbox from getting cluttered with bogus sales notifications, scams, and other junk mail. In truth, that’s just part of the benefit of a spam filter.
In addition to keeping your inbox neat, it also protects you against dangerous emails. Did you know that phishing is at an all-time high? This email-based cybercrime threat set records in March of 2020, with 66,000 phishing sites noted in APWG’s Phishing Activity Trends Report for Q1 2020.
It’s these types of emails that you need to filter out of your inbox — just one wrong click, and you, or a member of your staff, could compromise your business’ security.
That’s why you need to invest in a robust email filter that offers the necessary features:
- Multi-layer Filtering: This solution doesn’t just check one part of the email — it checks every detail from the address to the subject and beyond to determine if it’s a threat to you.
- Link Protection: Fraudulent hyperlinks are a dime a dozen in phishing emails — this solution protects you with the option of confirming when links are clicked before they proceed to the destination site.
- Attachment Verification: This solution will also quarantine suspicious attachments, helping to prevent you from downloading malware.
- Simple Integration: If you also use other cybersecurity technologies, such as a SIEM solution, our filter fully integrates with it to become a seamless part of your organization-wide defense.
Implement Multi-Factor Authentication
MFA is a superior way to keep your data more secure — after all, it blocks 99.9% of identity-based attacks.
MFA requires the user to utilize two methods to confirm that they are the rightful account owner. There are three categories of information that can be used in this process:
- Something you have: Includes a mobile phone, app, or generated code
- Something you know: A family member’s name, city of birth, pin, or phrase
- Something you are: Includes fingerprints and facial recognition
An MFA solution offers a range of key benefits to modern business which help to increase security without affecting the user experience:
- Bring Your Own Device: In today's modern business world, more and more employees prefer to do at least some of their work through their mobile devices, which can present a serious security risk. However, with an MFA solution, you can enroll new employee devices in minutes, given that there's no need to install an endpoint agent.
- Convenient Flexibility: An MFA solution won’t force you to apply the same security policies to every user in the company. Instead, you are given the capability to specify policies person by person or group by group.
Follow A Rock Solid Backup And Disaster Recovery Plan.
The best way to enhance your disaster recovery and data backup capabilities is to invest in a backup solution that fulfills the following requirements:
- Comprehensive Backups: The backup solution should provide both local onsite backup for quick recovery in instances of data loss, as well as an offsite cloud-based backup for when your business is hit with a critical disaster. Furthermore, these offsite backups need to be protected by a digital air gap, ensuring they are not at risk of encryption in the event of a ransomware attack.
- Regularly Tested: You can’t assume that your backups will just work when needed. Your IT team should regularly test your backups to verify their effectiveness in the event that something goes wrong with your onsite data.
- Convenient Restoration: Don’t settle for clumsy, all-or-nothing backups. You should be able to choose a point in time to restore in the event that the data has been deleted, corrupted, or there has been a malicious intrusion.
Remember, not all backups services are the same, which is why you need to understand the following two metrics:
- (RTO) Recovery Time Objective: How long will it take to recover files, applications, servers, or full infrastructure?
- (RPO) Recovery Point Objective: RPO is governed by the frequency of backups. In the old days, backups were performed at the end of the week or the end of the day. Today backups can be managed continuously. This means very little to no data loss in the event of a recovery, so there's less lost work to re-do after recovery.
With these metrics and must-have features in mind, you can find the right backup solution to support your disaster recovery planning.
Invest In A Cybersecurity Insurance Policy.
Often referred to as cyber liability or data breach liability insurance, cyber risk insurance is a type of stand-alone coverage. Cyber risk insurance is designed to help businesses cover the recovery costs associated with any kind of cybersecurity incident including:
- Breach and event response coverage. A very general and high-level form of coverage, this covers a range of costs likely to be incurred in the fallout of a cybercrime event, such as forensic and investigative services; breach notification services (which could include legal fees, call center, mailing of materials, etc.); identity and fraud monitoring expenses; public relations and event management.
- Regulatory coverage. Given that a range of organizations (such as The Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, and more) have a hand in regulating aspects of cyber risk in specific industries, there are usually costs that come with defending an action by regulators This covers the costs associated with insufficient security or “human error” that may have led to a privacy breach. Examples may include an employee losing a laptop or e-mailing a sensitive document to the wrong person. However, this type of coverage is not just limited to governmental and healthcare-based privacy breaches. It can also be useful for nongovernmental regulations that intersect with the payment card industry and are subject to PCI standards.
- Liability coverage. This type of coverage protects the policyholder and any insured individuals from the risks of liabilities that are a result of lawsuits or similar claims. Put simply, if you’re sued for claims that come within the coverage of the insurance policy, then this type of coverage will protect you.
There is a range of types of cyber risk insurance liability coverage, which include:
- Privacy liability: This applies to the costs of defense and liability when there has been a failure to stop unauthorized use/access of confidential information (which may also include the failure of others with whom you have entrusted data). Coverage can also extend to include personally identifiable information and confidential information of a third party.
- Security liability: On a higher level, this type of coverage applies to the costs of defense and liability for the failure of system security to prevent or mitigate a computer-based cyber attack, which may include the propagation of a virus or a denial of service. An important note - failure of system security also includes failure of written policies and procedures (or failure to write them in the first place) that address secure technology use.
- Multimedia liability: This type of coverage applies to the defense and liability for a range of illegal activities taking place in an online publication, such as libel, disparagement, misappropriation of name or likeness, plagiarism, copyright infringement, or negligence in content. This coverage extends to websites, e-mail, blogging, tweeting, and other similar media-based activities.
- Cyber extortion. This type of cybercrime event is generally a form of a ransomware attack, in which a cybercriminal keeps encrypted data inaccessible (or, alternatively, threatens to expose sensitive data) unless a ransom is paid. Coverage of this type addresses the costs of consultants and ransoms, including cryptocurrencies, for threats related to interrupting systems and releasing private information.
Cyber risk insurance policies are offered by a variety of insurers and policy prices and exclusions vary widely among different providers.
The Primary Threat: A Lack Of Cybersecurity Expertise
The fact is that, even if you deployed all the necessary cybersecurity technologies, invested in all the necessary tools and solutions, and did everything you could to protect your business, you’d still be missing one thing — cybersecurity expertise.
Does your staff have the skills and experience needed to keep you protected?
Cybersecurity expertise is in high demand these days. As cybercrime continues to grow, and as businesses become more and more digital in their operations, cybersecurity becomes a much more critical priority. However, there’s only so much cybersecurity talent available to hire.
When you’re not sure if you have the skills or knowledge to get the job done, what can you do? Consult with cybersecurity professionals — Integral Networks.
Need Expert Cybersecurity Guidance?
Don’t let your cybersecurity suffer, and don’t assume you have to handle it all on your own — Integral Networks can help you assess your cybersecurity and develop a plan to protect your data.
You can start improving your cybersecurity in three simple steps:
- Book a meeting with the Integral Networks team at a time that works for you.
- Let us assess your cybersecurity and address any vulnerabilities.
- Get back to focusing on your work, instead of worrying about your cybersecurity.