12 Days of Cybersecurity

The holidays are a time for celebration and spending time with family and friends. But they can also be a time when your cybersecurity is put to the test.  During the holiday season, small and medium-sized businesses are often a target for cybercriminals, as they may be less likely to have robust cybersecurity measures in place than larger businesses.

Cybercriminals may attempt to steal sensitive information such as customer data or financial information or to infect devices with malware that can be used to launch future attacks.

Through the 12 Days of Cybersecurity, we will cover 12 different cybersecurity areas that, when properly secured, will help make your holidays a little more secure.

1. Vulnerability Testing

The first tip for keeping your business safe is to do a PEN test or vulnerability scan.  A PEN test helps you understand how vulnerable your systems are by having a third-party attempt to penetrate your systems from outside your network and from within. This will tell you how well your security system is working. A vulnerability scan tests for specific vulnerabilities in your network, making changes to what you need to be fixed.

Remember, security is a journey. There is no magic bullet when it comes to security. It takes a combination of strong security measures, vigilance, and ongoing education to keep your business safe from cybercrime.

Cybercriminals are continually getting smarter and coming up with new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in systems. As a business owner, it is important to be proactive and continually update your security measures to stay ahead of these threats.

2. Network patching

According to a recent study, 60% of security incidents could have been prevented if a patch had been applied. This is because many security vulnerabilities are fixed with patches, which are small software updates that fix the security holes.

However, many businesses do not apply these patches, as they can be time-consuming and can sometimes cause compatibility issues. Businesses need to be sure to apply these patches in a timely manner, as leaving them unpatched can leave your systems vulnerable to attack.

Additionally, make sure you have a system in place for testing patches before you apply them to your live systems. This will help to mitigate any potential issues that may arise from the patch.

3. Managed Firewalls

One of the most important aspects of cybersecurity is keeping your systems and devices up to date and configured properly. This means regularly applying patches, using strong passwords, and avoiding malware. To help make this happen, businesses are using next-generation firewalls (NGFWs).

While NGFWs have quite a few similarities to traditional firewalls, they can block malware from entering a network, something that a traditional firewall is unable to do. If your business is looking for a low-cost option that will boost your basic security, an NGFW is the way to go.

By keeping your systems and devices up to date and properly configured, you can help reduce the risk of a cyberattack or data breach.

4. Multi-factor Authentication

One of the most important steps businesses can take to protect themselves from cybercrime is to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA is a security measure that requires more than one form of identification to access a system or account.

This can include things such as a password, a pin number, a security token, or biometric verification. MFAs and 2FAs can be as simple as a one-time password sent to a mobile device but can be incredibly effective. A study by Microsoft found that Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) can block up to 99.9% of automated attacks.

Businesses should consider using MFA to protect their online accounts, such as email and social media accounts, as well as their networks and systems. Additionally, MFA can be used to protect cloud-based applications and data.

5. Employee Awareness

Cybercriminals often use email as a means of delivering malware and stealing data. Phishing emails can trick unsuspecting victims into giving up sensitive information by pretending to be from a trusted source.

It is important to provide employees with training on how to recognize phishing emails, as well as other cybersecurity threats, in order to minimize the risk of a cyberattack on your business.

We recommend running phishing campaigns on your network periodically to train people who click, turning them from a liability into a human firewall.

6. Email Security

Email security is one of the most important aspects of cybersecurity. In fact, according to a recent study, 90% of attacks happen as a result of employees clicking on emails. This makes employee education and awareness training imperative to reducing the risk of falling victim to phishing emails.

Emails that contain malware, viruses, or ransomware can infect your computer networks and devices. This can give cybercriminals backdoor access to your systems, data, and other critical information.

By having email security tools in place, you’ll be able to filter out malicious emails before they have a chance to get the best of one of your employees. 

7. End-User Protection

No matter how well-protected you, your employees, and your data are, it can all come crumbling down with one click from end-users. By and large, end-users are every organization’s greatest security liability and have the potential to turn your business into the next cybersecurity headline. 

If your end-users are not protected, they can easily become infected with malware and other viruses. This can leave your business vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches.

Businesses need to have a comprehensive security solution in place that includes DNS/Web Security and endpoint protection. DNS/Web Security helps to stop threats before they happen, while endpoint protection helps to protect users if they do get infected.

By including both DNS/Web Security and endpoint protection in your security solution, you can help keep your end-users safe from cybercrime.

8. Combine AI with Security Experts

So, you’ve got the basic layers of protection in place: A firewall, antivirus, web and email security, etc. Now what?  Technology tools, while a great first step, is not the end of your security journey. Once the tools are in place, you will find the result to be an influx of alerts.  A lot of alerts. While admittedly helpful, they can be problematic as well.

The next level of protection to consider is implementing a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), in combination with a team of security experts. A SIEM provides real-time analysis of security alerts generated by applications and network hardware and monitors for threats and possible problems. 

Combined with a  team of security experts trained to know what alerts are most important, they can focus their attention on the threats that matter most to your organization. The presence of a SIEM in your business enables in-depth analyses of threats in order to create best practices in real-time in order to prevent problems before they happen.

9. 24×7 Monitoring

While businesses may take a break during the holiday season, cybercriminals do not. In fact, they may be working even harder to steal data and infect systems. This is why it is important to have a comprehensive security solution in place that includes 24×7 monitoring.

A Security Operations Center (SOC) can provide round-the-clock monitoring of your systems and networks for threats. This allows you to detect and respond to threats quickly and effectively.

Additionally, having a SOC can help you to mitigate the risk of a data breach or cyberattack.

The best way to protect your business from cybercrime is to partner with a SOC that has the experience and expertise to keep your systems safe.

10. Incident Response

No business is safe from cybercrime. In fact, even the most resilient businesses can still be hacked. The best way to protect your business is to have a comprehensive security solution in place that includes incident response planning.

If you do experience a cyberattack, it is important to have a plan in place so that you can respond quickly and effectively. This plan should include the steps that need to be taken in order for your business to recover.

It is also important to have a team of experts who can help you during an incident. A team of cybersecurity professionals can help you to mitigate the damage caused by a cyberattack and help you to get your business back up and running.

11. Data Backup

Another important aspect of cybersecurity is backups. If you don’t have backups, your business can be easily devastated in the event of a data breach or cyberattack.

It is important to make sure that your backups are air-gapped from your network. This helps to ensure that they are not compromised.

Additionally, you should make sure that your backups are stored in a secure location. This helps to protect them from cybercriminals.

12. Cyber Insurance

Cyber insurance is a type of insurance policy that helps to protect businesses from data breaches and cyberattacks. It can help to cover the costs associated with these incidents, including the costs of repairing the damage done, hiring experts to help with the recovery process, and paying for credit monitoring services for affected employees.

Cyber insurance is becoming increasingly important as the number of cyberattacks continues to rise. Businesses that do not have cyber insurance are at a higher risk for data breaches and other types of cybercrime.

It is important that you do your research when it comes to cyber insurance. This will ensure that you are not stuck with insurance that dictates what you should do in the event of an attack.

… And a Great Managed Service Provider Team

The holiday season is a time when many businesses take a break. However, cybercriminals do not take a break and continue to work hard to steal data and infect systems.

No business is safe from a cyberattack or data breach, which is why protecting your business is important for the future of your company. If you are not sure where to start, it is important to partner with an award-winning IT Company that provides Managed Cybersecurity that can help you to protect your business from cybercrime.