28. 9. 2021

How to prepare a company for cyber threats

Since the start of the global covid-19 pandemic, we can see an ever-increasing trend in cyber-attacks. In 2021, we perceive as the most widespread, especially cross-hardware attacks and the detection of various vulnerabilities in hardware or software products, but it is also necessary to focus on other risks.

Examples include phishing and ever-intensifying campaigns in this area, intrusions into the cloud environment, and we must not forget the IoT (Internet of Things), devices which are often without basic security features and settings.

Re-evaluate the risks associated with your infrastructure

Each company should pay sufficient attention to the regular reassessment of technological infrastructure risks. This process will help identify potential problem areas and define ways to deal with them. This process has several steps:

  1. identification of existing and potential threats
  2. analysis of risks relevant to the company (they can have a technological as well as a human form)
  3. a list of risk mitigation measures
  4. selection of the most suitable measures and their implementation (it is necessary to take into account the possibilities and nature of the company)
  5. continuous monitoring (this will ensure that the measures taken will really help to reduce the risk)

Despite the increasing number of attacks on cloud services, cloud storage can be considered one of the most secure. The attackers usually do not target a cloud service provider and its infrastructure. The greatest risk comes from users of cloud services, which is associated with a lack of understanding of the cloud environment and the associated insufficient or poor configuration.

The conditions for sufficient data protection in the cloud are, firstly, well-trained environmental administrators who know how to set up security mechanisms and configurations to protect data while allowing access to authorized users. Second, sufficient encryption of the data stored in the cloud and management of their encryption keys. And third, it is the segregation of duties in managing such an environment.

Do not forget the multifactor authentication (MFA), which provides a second layer of protection and significantly increases the strength of authentication above the level of a common password. The use of multifactor authentication significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized login if the user’s password is compromised.

Update your systems

If, for any reason, you have postponed replacing hardware or updating software for any reason, do so as soon as possible and set up a regular update process and hardware lifecycle. Older devices and programs have protection at the installation or last update level. Such hardware (such as firewalls and routers) and software may not provide the necessary protection against current threats.

It is also important to regularly check the security software installed on all end devices. The best way is central management to ensure that each client has the latest update.

Use business devices

Does your company policy allow employees to use their private devices to remotely access company data? If so, you should change it as soon as possible. Each such device carries a risk because its protection is not managed by your organization and can therefore hide various vulnerabilities (such as device settings or malware protection) that can lead to an attack on your corporate network through such a high-risk device. Provide employees with business equipment such as laptops, smartphones, or tablets. This allows you to fully control what has been installed on the device, including security software. It is important to ensure that users do not have local administrator privileges on these devices that allow them to change settings or install unapproved software.

Turn on your VPN

Due to the pandemic situation, many companies needed to find quick solutions that allowed employees to work outside the office and access the files they needed to work. This could also be one of the causes of the growing number of cyber attacks. The ideal solution to this situation is to implement a VPN that will allow a secure connection to the corporate network. In this way, you encrypt the communication and make it unreadable to a potential attacker. Deploying this technology will also allow you to implement MFA as an additional layer of protection for your corporate IT infrastructure.

Contact experts

Implementing measures against ever-evolving cyber threats can be a challenging task even for large IT teams. If you are a small business, this may seem like an impossible task. However, this should not discourage you. In such a case, it is rather necessary to look for a reliable partner who has experience and can provide cyber security as a service. This approach will allow even the smallest company to prioritize its business and leave cyber security to experienced professionals. Available trends suggest that the frequency of attacks on computer systems will only increase in the coming period. Therefore, the question is not whether your computer system will be attacked, but when it will happen. In a situation where your security depends on IT, there are only two things that increase your chances of resisting an attack. These are properly set up cyber security processes and sufficiently applied technical measures to protect your computer systems.

Daniel Suchý, Cyber ​​Security Specialist, Aliter Technologies, a.s.