According to a Ponemon study, negligent employees and third parties cause the most data breaches. Unfortunately, small businesses with limited resources to protect themselves are the most affected by data breaches and malicious hacking. The inability to recover computer systems can put many companies out of business permanently. 

So, is your business prepared for a cyber attack? Most importantly, how can managed IT services help you stay prepared for these attacks? Keep reading to find out.

5 Ways to Prepare For a Cyber Attack

Many small businesses collapse within months of being hit by a major cyber attack. Those who do survive lose thousands of dollars in recovery costs.  

Instead of hoping that your company isn’t one of them, you can plan ahead of time and enhance your cyber security. The most common types of threats include:

  • Phishing attacks
  • Social engineering
  • Ransomware
  • Malware
  • DDoS attacks

Here’s how you can prepare yourself and your company for a cyber attack.

Encryption for Sensitive Data

The South Carolina Data Breach incident was one of the biggest eye-openers for businesses that did not use encryption on their data. A cyberattack resulted in the theft of 387,000 credit and debit card numbers and 3.8 million Social Security numbers. 

Do you hold sensitive data or anything else that could endanger you or your clients if it falls into the wrong hands? If this is the case, you should utilize software that encrypts data before sending it over or outside of your network. Even if hackers obtain encrypted data, they should be unable to use it.

Your encryption protection should extend to communications so your staff uses encrypted email and text messaging platforms. Cyber Security services providers also suggest restricting employees’ usage of personal phones and encouraging them to use secure apps instead. 

Ensure Password Security

Unauthorized access is one of the biggest threats plaguing the systems of most businesses. The best way to avoid it is by using strong passwords. While this may sound like an ordinary tactic, implementing strong password policies is your best bet against a possible security breach. 

For starters, avoid using predictable passwords. A mix of upper and lower case letters, along with numbers and special characters, should be enough to help you create a strong password for all of your systems. 

Practice Compliance with Federal Regulations

Complying with industry regulations and auditing your system is one of the best ways to fill any security holes. An audit enables you to get a comprehensive review of your company’s IT infrastructure. 

It’s like a network security assessment that detects risks, vulnerabilities, and threats that your company may face and the possible effects of such risks. Penetration testing is another authorized approach in which an organization’s network infrastructure is attacked to detect security pitfalls. 

Identify Accounts That Can Be Key Targets

How can you employ extra monitoring and behavioral analysis of critical accounts? Behavior analysis is a practice that helps you track traffic patterns and highlight any out-of-place activity. 

User Entity and Behavior Analytics (UEBA) is one system that gathers data about user activity from system logs. In a nutshell, it helps you identify any activity that may be deviating from a normal baseline. 

First, data analytics builds a profile of “normal” user behavior. If they notice any sudden changing patterns in it, they notify system administrators immediately. 

Train Your Employees

While managed IT services can help you safeguard your systems, no amount of security will be enough if your employees aren’t trained on how to use it. Cyber Security is everyone’s responsibility. And so, it’s essential to educate your employees about potential threats, ways to identify them, and ways to respond to them. 

Anti-Malware Software Is a Must-Have

Antivirus or anti-malware software helps prevent and even remove malicious software from your computer. It also helps protect against a wide range of threats, including:

  • Viruses
  • Trojans
  • Spyware
  • Adware
  • Ransomware

If malicious code is detected, it will either destroy or quarantine the affected files to avoid future damage. To detect unusual activities and potential threats, some advanced anti-malware programs include behavioral analysis and machine learning algorithms.

The 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack that affected over 200,000 computers in 150 countries was eventually halted when anti-malware companies came together to update virus definitions and signatures. These updates allowed anti-malware software to identify and remove the ransomware from infected systems.

How Can Managed Cyber Security Services Help?

While you may have adequate knowledge of software, encryption, and passwords, investing all your time into implementing them is not feasible. This is where managed IT services come in. They help to protect your company from various threats by monitoring your data 24/7. In addition, they can also help you implement the right strategies for all aspects of your work, even email security. 

What’s more? Hiring managed cyber security services is far more cost-effective than hiring an entire in-house team. This means you can free up your internal staff to work on other projects while a team takes care of your everyday tasks and protects your systems by:

  • Installing updates
  • Monitoring system logs
  • Configuring firewalls

However, nothing is more complicated than a timely incident response. It requires coordinated efforts from all team members, and not all companies understand how to go about it. Typically, there are 4 stages of incident response: 

  • Identification
  • Containment
  • Eradication
  • Recovery

A managed IT service can take care of all 4 steps without requiring too much of your assistance.  

Final Thoughts

Cyber attacks are and will continue to be the biggest threats to any company’s IT infrastructure. The key is to detect them, contain them and then eradicate them altogether. 

The above information and instances of data breaches across the world may already have helped you realize the importance of hiring managed IT services. If you require further assistance and information on how to go about it, contact us and let our IT experts help you accomplish your cyber security goals.

Get in touch with us today!

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