Choosing a Cybersecurity Approach
In the first part of this series released on Tuesday, we set the stage for present-day ransomware attacks. These professional enterprises have developed (and continue to improve upon) automated technology that increases their reach and depth of attacks. Businesses can no longer take a wait-and-see approach or keep kicking the cybersecurity can down the road.
With ransomware attacks like the recent Colonial Pipeline interruption, we’re also starting to see that the country-to-country “handshake agreements” designed to protect utilities and critical infrastructure are starting to crumble. It’s beginning to appear as though nothing is off-limits.
Even small business owners are becoming increasingly vulnerable to these potential hacks. When these virtual ransomware conglomerates go after the big targets, small companies can get swept up in the net.
Step-by-Step to Safer Data
Following a year in which the global pandemic dealt a heavy blow to small companies, no one wants to fall prey to devious international hackers. Like any other aspect of risk management, there are three primary ways to address the issue of cybersecurity:
- Accept the risk and deal with potential consequences later. In the past, this was a relatively viable option. When businesses stored their data in-house, had physical data back-ups, used fewer cloud services and were less connected to external servers, there weren’t as many opportunities for hobby hackers to gain access to sensitive information.
If they did get in, their impact on the business was minimal compared to what’s at stake in today’s cybersecurity environment.
- Transfer the risk, which typically occurs in the form of insurance. Each policy has its own unique features and benefits, but in general, Cyber Liability Insurance may cover:
- Business interruption costs (lost revenue)
- Breach response resources
- Data recovery costs (sometimes including ransom payouts)
- Protection against privacy lawsuits and/or regulatory fines
However, as time goes on and ransomware demands increase in frequency and amount, Cybersecurity Insurance is likely to become much more expensive with tighter underwriting requirements and more restrictions on payouts.*
- Mitigate the risk with appropriate security measures. Today, cybersecurity exposure is accelerating as sophisticated global enterprises find weaknesses they can exploit within supply chains, software vendors, cloud servers and other seemingly-safe sources.
Just like many of the businesses we work in, these bad actors are finding that automation empowers them to expand their operations to reach more data sources with less human interaction. These nefarious organizations also successfully compete for top IT talent, which empowers them to continue elevating their automation game. Here’s a widely-accepted approach mitigating a serious data breach:
- Select a qualified, proactive IT provider to provide an assessment of your current strengths and weaknesses in your cybersecurity.
- Work with your tech partner to develop a strategy that addresses your organization’s vulnerabilities – not just quick fixes, but long-term solutions.
- Implement the strategy in the most cost-effective manner with the least interruption to your business. Experts in this field – like the IT360 professionals – are able to efficiently deliver this critical service while recognizing your overall budgetary needs.
- Educate your employees (and customers). Making sure that your staff understands what to look for and how to avoid compromising security is an important part of the ongoing strategy.
- Conduct reviews at appropriate intervals. (Quarterly or annually are most common with our clients.) Safeguarding your network and data isn’t a “one and done” project. It’s important to continually assess how the latest global threats could affect your business and ramp up your data defenses.
Many of us remember cinematic hackers in movies like Tron, War Games, The Net and Office Space. But today’s cyber criminals aren’t working from a script – they’re flipping the script and bringing high-stakes ransomware attacks to businesses of all sizes, just when they least expect it.
We’re proud to offer advanced technology and security solutions to protect the business you’ve worked so hard to build. We’ll help you take control of your data … before someone else does.
Did you miss Tuesday’s Report? See Part 1 of the series.
* This article is provided for general information purposes and is not designed to provide legal or insurance advice. Please check with the appropriate financial advisors to determine the best approach for your business.
** SOCKS stands for Secure Over Credential-Based Kerberos Services. Different than a VPN, this protocol functions like a proxy server providing added anonymity by generating a randomized IP address before delivering data from your network and devices to its destination.
Article by Don Dawson, President