No doubt you heard about high-profile cyber attacks in the past few years. More than likely, brands and corporations like Target, Sony, Ashley Madison, NASA, and JPMorgan Chase come to mind. But you don’t have to be a major corporation to be susceptible to breaches and cyber attacks.
According to statistics revealed by Symantec, an increasing number of cyber attacks are directed at small businesses. In fact, those attacks are rising — from 18 percent of all cyber attacks in 2011 to a whopping 43 percent of all cyber attacks in 2015.
The Symantec report indicates that 1 out of every 40 small businesses will be at risk of being a victim of a cyber crime. While that’s much smaller rate than the risks faced by large businesses (1 out of every 2), the report shows that criminal hackers are not choosy about targeting their victims. It’s all about the money. Your money.
Here are four ways you can minimize your risks for cyber attacks, as outlined by IT and security managers:
1. Assess your risk. It’s important to start off your process by ensuring that your team is aware of your risks. A risk assessment should include the estimated cost of an incident and the likelihood that it will occur. It’s also important to determine which areas are most vulnerable, as well as which areas should have the highest level of security.
2. Secure configuration. Hackers will be relentless in trying to breach your networks — using tactics to figure out vulnerabilities that will help them gain a foothold into your network and systems. As a result, it’s important that you implement an aggressive patch and configuration management program that covers across all network systems. This will ensure that you can reduce the risk of that an attacker can exploit any vulnerabilities and gain access to your systems.
3. Training. It’s important to train your end users in proper security measures and standards. No matter how exhaustive your processes, your employees can sabotage them unless they are trained on how to meet your specifications. Otherwise, a user can install unapproved computer software or networked device, making your systems vulnerable to hacking and phishing.
4. Monitoring. It’s important to understand that hackers are able to avoid detection by implementing long-term campaigns that lead to a false sense of security. In some cases, the breaches have been in progress for months before security officials get wind of the breach. According to experts, it’s important to schedule effective monitoring that detects anomalies that could hint of a data breach.