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5 Cyber-security considerations for 2020

Personal_Finance / Cyber Crime Jan 23, 2020 - 02:50 PM GMT

By: Submissions

Personal_Finance

Firewall and anti-virus used to be a business’ first line of defence when it came to cyber-security. However, in the last five years the IT Security landscape has radically evolved and malware is now more sophisticated than ever. So much so, businesses have no choice but to increase their IT infrastructure and first line of defence.

Defence wears many guises. This could be internal IT teams monitoring and quarantining external email, or it could be the in the form of investment in Managed IT Services from a professional provider. Both can keep your company and customer data secure. But before you decide which would suit your business best, there’s five key questions you should ask yourself first.




5 cyber-security considerations for 2020:

  • What’s the greatest risk to your business? Every business has a weak point and specific areas of vulnerability that make a cyber-attack easy- pickings. When you identify your weaknesses, you can protect them with a strong defence. While we all know large, global brands are attractive targets for cybercriminals, you may be surprised to learn that SMEs are equally as attractive. Malware scans the internet for vulnerable businesses to attack without bias of size or status, so if you’ve not been affected to date – be on your guard.
  • What’s your first line of defence and is it strong enough? What makes your business most vulnerable is software that’s not patched, weak passwords and user-error. Ask yourself: can you protect your business against ransomware? Can you prevent it and if not, can you recover from it? If you’ve answered ‘no’ you need to take immediate action to keep your assets protected. Ransomware encrypts your systems, data and files, blocking your access to vital processes and documents until you pay a financial ransom demand. The consequences of ransomware can cripple SMEs and a professional level of defence is essential in combatting cyber-crime and protecting your business.
  • Do you have an up-to-date inventory of your company devices? While smart phones, tablets and devices may appear to simplify communication they’re at an incredibly high risk of attack. Why? Because without an inventory, certain devices may miss a scheduled software update or security patch which could compromise your company’s network and data. This is an admin-heavy task but is worth investing the time. Alternatively, there are several tools available on the market that can create in inventory for you and save you time by scanning your network and discovering which software is operating each device.
  • Do your staff/colleagues understand the risks associated with phishing emails and could they recognise an illegitimate email? Forewarned is forearmed and with the right training your staff could be your best line of defence. Some of the greatest cyber attacks have been successful because a member of staff clicked on a link in a malware email – a hoax, presenting itself as kosher from a genuine contact with a trustworthy attachment. So, what techniques should you prewarn your teams to be wary of:
  • Suspicious email signatures with imitation domain addresses posing as legitimate accounts, for example {name}@hmrcaccounts.com  
  • Content riddled with typos within the body of the email and incoherent grammar
  • Poor quality graphic resolution of brand logos
  • Impersonal salutations such as ‘Dear User’ etc

Depending on the size of your workforce, your business may benefit from a workshop to support staff identifying potential scams. Eleanor McIntyre, Technical Services Manager at Kalamazoo IT explains:

“We run monthly workshops with some of our clients, these are to help with setting up new users, IT issues and generally just delivering our services as a partner and not just a supplier. One area that we have really seen some significant interest in in is the discussion around cyber security. We remind staff of the threats and the impact a breach could have on their business; what a phishing email could look like, what good password management looks like, check if all their end points have been patched and up-to-date. It really is taking it back to basics but unfortunately it is where we have seen first-hand where businesses fail.”

  • Do you back-up your cloud data? It’s a common misconception that data stored on the cloud is 100% secure. Nothing is invincible and no data can be 100% safe. Regardless of where your data is hosted or stored it’s vital that it should be regularly backed-up, monitored and secured, either by a dedicated in-house team or a professional IT Support provider.

Do you have the right level of defence for your business?

Dominic Wetherall, Marketing Manager at Kalamazoo IT, explains:

“Cyber-Security is a specialist and premium service. But what price can you put on your business not being able to operate? Is it brand reputation, compliance, GDPR fines or a direct impact on business revenue?

By taking note of these 5 key areas, you are arming yourself with the best opportunity of avoiding, and if not, recovering from a cyber-attack. Forewarned is forearmed. There is no such thing as 100% total security, it doesn't exist. If someone says it does, don't believe them. The cyber-security threat landscape is ever evolving and it is the job of the top technology vendors to stop and plug these gaps that are continually uncovered and exploited. 

Up to 4 hours per week are spent by internal IT departments managing patches for EOL kit and software. This is not a great use of time. Improve efficiency and unburden the team by using a managed service provider like Kalamazoo IT. Allowing the team to focus on business-critical objectives, and essentially supporting the growth of the business. Demand automation from your service provider but don’t ignore the human element. I can guarantee upwards of 10% of your staff would click on a simulated phishing email! But all it takes is 1 to slip through the net. Your best bet is to turn your staff into the best cyber security tool through awareness training.”

Make your cyber-security the priority for 2020. Get secured with Kalamazoo IT and begin your year as you mean to go on – benefitting from professional managed IT Support.

By Cat Roberts-Young

Bio: Cat Roberts-Young is a professional freelance writer and marketing copywriter specialising in IT, finance and small business. She also loves writing children’s stories and has recently published her first two books.

© 2020 Copyright Justin Weinger - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


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