Most U.S. organizations process important information every single day, every single hour, every single minute. When that information is private and sensitive in nature, its value skyrockets, and hackers will seek to obtain it by any means necessary. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Report 2021, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received over 847,376 complaints in 2021 with potential losses exceeding $6.9 billion. So how can you protect your organization from attack by a malicious party?
Unfortunately, you can’t stop your organization from being targeted. There are no perfect methods for fending off attackers, but there are ways that you can shore up your defenses so that you will be prepared when threat actors choose to strike.
Know the “Why”
Before you can employ a cyber-defense strategy, you must first understand what your attackers want. Hackers hack for a variety of reasons – ego, boredom, notoriety – but the most common reason is for financial gain. If threat actors can make money off of your data, they will seek to obtain it. To them, your employees’ social security numbers, your customers’ credit card information, and your company bank account information are as good as cash. Know the data that your attackers are after so that you can protect the right assets.
Bolster Your Defenses
Most organizations have a data protection system in place, but because cybersecurity best practices change so frequently, it’s important to review your plan regularly. These eight tried-and-true defenses should always be included in a comprehensive cybersecurity policy.
- Be Familiar with Common Attacks Understand what types of attacks are common in your industry. Is it ransomware? Wire fraud? Phishing? Malware? Denial of Service? If you implement a new automation, what type of vulnerability does that introduce to your organization? Follow news sources to stay current on emerging threats.
- Train Your Employees Hackers are well aware that your employees are entry points into the system. Education and buy-in from management is essential. Make sure your employees agree to and understand the importance of your cybersecurity policy, and remind them of it frequently.
- Don’t Forget about Patching Anti-virus software is a no-brainer for most organizations, but patching that software often gets overlooked. If you do not trust yourself to patch your software regularly, hire a company who will do it for you. The added security will be well worth the price.
- Segment Your Networks Employees should only have access to applications that help them do their jobs. If you can, segment your networks so that access to sensitive data and key applications is only granted to the employees who absolutely need it.
- Monitor Logs A quality IT system will record and save system activity. By regularly reviewing those logs and using AI technology to pinpoint abnormalities, you can uncover a potential hacker’s attempts before they gain access to your systems.
- Have a Written Incident Response Plan Most organizations will be the targets of hackers at some point during the lifespan of their business. Outline a plan to control attacks so that you can halt data leaks as quickly as possible. The longer a breach remains uncontrolled, the more dire the consequences.
- Create System Backups In the event a cybersecurity incident occurs, your backups can make all the difference. Regularly back up your data, and test to make sure it can be recovered when some of your key systems are down. Your goal should be to resume business activities as quickly as possible.
- Research Cyber Insurance Cyber insurance coverage is excluded from most policies, so ask your provider what they offer. If they don’t offer a cyber insurance rider, seek out a new or additional provider, and perform a cost-benefit analysis to see if it will be worth the cost to your organization.
Cybersecurity events will occur. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Ensure your cyber defenses are sound so that attackers will think twice before targeting your organization.