Cyber-attacks have been a plague throughout the world this past year, whose victims include government agencies, businesses, international banks, and citizens. No one seems safe from data breaches, and because so many of these cyber terrorists evade capture, the problem seems unending. Anonymous hackers breach servers to dump terabytes of sensitive information, and their victims—often collateral damage—have their social security numbers, emails, names, and more displayed, sold, or exposed for the world to see.
In the business world, a breach in your computer security can lead to lost revenue, costly downtime, or even a loss of customers when sensitive company and client information is stolen. Typical dangers range from simple data theft and damaging malware attacks to cyber mischief meant to wreak havoc on your servers, weeks or even months after the initial breach. The most startling aspect of these dangers is how easily they infiltrate computers and servers, sometimes lingering in the background as they mine for data and record user information—all without your knowledge.
Hiring professional security is common practice for companies looking to protect warehouses full of goods, so why shouldn’t businesses extend the same protection to their valuable data? Securing your networks against cyber threats isn’t just about safeguarding information—it’s about assuring others that your company won’t experience sudden downtime or a halt in productivity due to a breach.
Below are four must-have factors if you want to dodge the next cyber-attack.
A Speedy Response Time to Threats
Reaction time is everything in the online world where users have at most a few hours to respond to a new cyber threat. Software patches used to be little more than funky new add-ons or updates; but now, a patch could mean the difference between a secure network and the loss of precious data.
In 2014, Drupal, a company that designs content management software, warned its users that if they “had not updated to the most recent version (v. 7.32) within seven hours of the discovery of a breach, they should assume they’ve been hacked.”
The incident later referred to as Drupageddon illustrates the importance of timely, proactive patching. When one hacker finds a vulnerability in a system, the news often spreads to other cyber criminals who jump at the chance to exploit the newest at-risk target. System security isn’t something you can sleep on. Without the time, experience, and tool set to react quickly, you need a professional team of IT experts to ensure your network security remains intact.
No Contingency Plan for Cyber-Attacks
Cyber terrorists and hackers don’t discriminate who they go after. Huge Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, the list goes on. It’s important to understand that being a small or medium business won’t prevent cyber-attacks. If anything, cyber criminals probably think the smaller the target, the weaker the defenses. Having a contingency plan in place can help businesses react to threats and improve recovery time if a vulnerability is exposed.
More than 60% of small businesses are forced to close down in the event of serious data breaches. Don’t let a lack of forward thinking and preparedness be the reason your servers become compromised.
A business without backups is asking for trouble. Whether you go with physical backups or something like a cloud service, it’s crucial to have a way to access important information in the event that your servers are damaged or attacked. There are options to suit most budgets. Failing to have backups could end up costing more than paying for a service or the extra data server.
A Team Dedicated to Handling Cyber-Attacks
Handling network vulnerabilities and data breaches isn’t for the faint of heart. You need someone with specialized training and knowledge to deal with cyber threats, and if that’s not you, it’s wise to invest in a team of professionals that can manage these problems.
IT firms come with the experience necessary to respond in a timely fashion to breaches in security. They’ll actively review documentation and monitor forums for the latest news regarding possible vulnerabilities in software. New ways to attack your data are being churned out daily, and they won’t always be obvious. From phishing scams to malware designed to look like urgent software updates, computer users have plenty of ways to invite malicious software onto their networks. IT professionals know how to research the “latest” patches to ensure that they’re authentic and necessary. Knowing when to patch or when to wait could mean the difference between securing your data and losing it to a hacker’s exploit.
The security of your business’s data shouldn’t be the job of a single person, but a team—one dedicated to proactive maintenance and awareness of cyber threats. They should be knowledgeable and up-to-date on current trends in network security.
The impact of data breaches can be lasting. Reputations can be tarnished and lawsuits could pile up for years. Don’t make the mistake of trying to handle the security of your company’s data all by yourself, or worse, put it in the hands of someone without the proper tools and experience. We want to arm you with the knowledge you need to make the best decision possible, so contact our IT department to learn how we can protect your data against harmful cyber-attacks.