As recent data breaches demonstrate, businesses of all sizes and locations are vulnerable to cyber attacks at any time. According to the most recent data, cybercrime affected 3.72 million people in the UAE in 2017, costing the country nearly AED4 billion. In reality, there are only five steps that all businesses must take to effectively protect themselves from cyber attacks: secure their hardware, encrypt and backup all data, Develop a security-focused culture, employ powerful firewall and anti-malware software, and invest in cyber security insurance. Here’s how to carry out these steps:
List of Ways and Programs for a Stand against Cyber Security
Detail of Programs For Cyber Security
1. Protect your hardware
With so much focus on acquiring the most advanced types of cyber security software, protecting the security of company hardware is often overlooked, but device loss or theft is a real threat to be aware of. Start with the fundamentals of cyber attack prevention: Protect all devices with a complex password, share that password with only the device user, and commit it to memory rather than writing it down somewhere easily accessible. Do not underestimate the power of physically attaching computers to desks. This is a simple, yet effective method of preventing intruders from stealing company equipment and sensitive data.
Finally, install’ find my device’ software on all laptops, phones, and tablets. The authorities will be able to quickly locate stolen equipment this way.
2. Don’t forget to protect company hardware
Data breaches are frequently caused by stolen equipment, so safeguarding your hardware is a simple strategy for improving your company’s cyber security.
3. Data encryption and backup
An effective cyber crime defense strategy must include two components: preventing physical access to sensitive data and rendering that data useless if it falls into the hands of the wrong people. Companies can achieve the latter by encrypting their data at all times.
According to researchers writing in the International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications, data encryption is still the “most efficient fix” for data breaches that do occur.
Encrypt all sensitive data, including customer and employee information, as well as all business data. Full-disk encryption software is now included in almost all operating systems and can encrypt all data on a desktop or laptop computer while it is idle.
Additionally, ensure that this software is activated and up to date on all company devices. Also, set all devices to automatically enter’sleep’ or ‘lock’ mode after five minutes of inactivity to reduce the amount of time a computer sits unused and unlocked.
4. Stay ahead of the game by backing up and storing data separately
Following encryption, backing up all data is an important step in protecting yourself from security breaches. With ransomware hackers locking companies out of their systems, encrypting their data, and demanding a ransom before releasing the data, you can stay one step ahead of them by backing up and storing it separately.
5. Purchase cyber security insurance
Because cyber criminals are constantly developing new methods of breaching security defenses, even the most security-conscious businesses are vulnerable to an attack. According to US research into the cost of data breaches, the global average cost of a single data breach event in 2017 was USD 3.6 million or USD 141 per data record.
Losses from data breaches are best mitigated by investing in cyber security insurance; however, according to the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport and the US Better Business Bureau, only 9% of UK businesses and 15% of US businesses have this type of insurance.
6. Seek expert advice on cyber security insurance
Reduce your risk by seeking expert advice on the best type of insurance for your business, based on your risk of attack and the financial impact of such an event.
7. Create a workplace culture that prioritizes security
Employees are the most common source of data breaches because many do not recognize external threats when they occur or have a good understanding of the daily actions that expose a company to a cyber attack.
According to the UK Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2018, conducted by the UK government and Portsmouth University, 43% of UK businesses have experienced a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months, with only 20% of UK companies providing training to employees during the same time period.
Such breaches were more common in businesses where employees used personal devices for work. Businesses must continue to prioritize security training and education for their employees, but where do they begin?
8. Inform employees about the dangers of unsecured networks
Employees being forbidden from using personal devices for work may appear to be an obvious solution, but this strategy rarely works long term. As employees grow tired of the inconvenience, they are likely to resume using personal devices to access work, despite policies prohibiting it.
It is thus more effective to teach employees how to use both their personal and work devices in a way that reduces the risk of being hacked. Educating them about the risks of using unsecured networks to access work information should be at the top of the list.
This should include specific definitions of unsecured networks and where they are most commonly found, such as coffee shops, airports, and hotels. Then, how to determine whether a network is secure (secure networks require a key/password to access).
9. Teach students to avoid using unsecured websites
Staff members should be taught that accessing unsecured websites on work devices gives cybercriminals direct access to sensitive data stored on that device, as well as browser histories and passwords.
10. Password sharing should be avoided
Employers can foster a security-conscious culture in which password sharing is discouraged. By not only educating employees about the risks, but also by setting a good example and never sharing passwords or requiring employees to temporarily log in guests, contractors, and new hires.
Using protocols, such as creating temporary passwords for contractors or expediting the onboarding process for new hires, will also help to reduce scenarios in the workplace where password sharing is required.
11. Restriction of network administrator rights
Restricting IT admin and access rights to a small number of users is invaluable in reducing the risk of data breaches because employees cannot give away information to which they do not have access.
Always entrust this information to a key figure in your IT department, and make certain that he has received adequate training on the safe and encrypted storage of this information.
12. Without employee education, businesses are vulnerable
Emphasizing the importance of employee education on the types of daily actions that leave a company vulnerable to cyber attacks.
13. Use anti-malware and firewall software that is up to date
According to research, the most common cybercrime in the UAE in 2017 was malware infection, which accounted for 53% of all cyber attacks. And, with ransomware now being the most common cyber security risk to small businesses, protecting your company from ransomware and other types of malware is critical.
Existing anti-virus tools are ineffective against ransomware, which evolves almost as quickly as new anti-virus tools. Ransomware can operate quietly in the background and be detected by an anti-virus program only after it is too late to save your files. As a result, it is critical to invest in software that has been specifically designed to address this challenge.
While effective anti-malware tools can detect and isolate software viruses once they have entered your database, preventing these viruses from entering in the first place is critical.
Investing in a well-optimized firewall is thus critical for preventing malware from infiltrating your computer systems. And, because cyber security threats are constantly evolving, pay attention to update notifications and run them as soon as they become available. These updates are made in response to the most recent cyber threats and thus serve as an important tool in the fight against cyber attacks.
14. Use software in tandem with education
By combining firewall and anti-malware software with employee education, you can prevent – or at least deal with – ransomware attacks, which can enter computer systems via emails and other employee-related errors.
15. Protect yourself from an attack
Even though the threat of cyber attacks is real, it’s easy to dismiss it until one occurs. A comprehensive cyber security strategy is required if your company has an online presence, stores customer and company data on digital devices, or uses cloud-based software.
The steps to achieving the peace of mind and financial security that such a strategy provides, as outlined in this article, should include the use of up-to-date data encryption, data backup, firewalls and anti-malware software. Implementing this, along with comprehensive and ongoing employee cyber security education, is your best bet for ensuring that the threat of a cyber attack never becomes a reality.
How can you safeguard yourself against cybersecurity threats?
Use a secure Internet connection and Wi-Fi network to protect your home and/or business, and change passwords on a regular basis. PINs and passwords should never be shared. When possible, use devices that use biometric scans (e.g. fingerprint scanner or facial recognition). Regularly review your account statements and credit reports.
What is the most effective cyber-threat prevention?
Some of the most common methods for preventing cyber attacks are as follows:
- Policy development for cyber security.
- Security awareness training is being implemented.
- Putting spam filters and anti-malware software in place.
- Putting Next-Generation Firewalls in Place (NGFW)
- Installing endpoint detection and response software (EDR)