Cybersecurity vulnerabilities and threats – the new monsters under the bed

As a child, were you ever afraid of monsters? Usually – in your mind at least - lurking in a dark closet, or under the bed, waiting to snatch at any ankles foolishly dangled over the side.GET YOUR FREE GUIDE HERE - Five ways to stay safe online

Sounds a bit silly now, doesn’t it – in the light of day, looking back as an adult. And yet, there are equivalents out there that we’d be wise (and warranted) to be just as afraid of – yes, Cybercriminals, and the threats and vulnerabilities they take advantage of.  

Are they as scary as the monsters under the bed that you might have imagined all those years ago? That probably depends on how vivid your imagination was – but probably – yes! As the use of technology becomes more and more critical in our day to day lives (both business and personal), so does the impact of disruption to our systems and data – a point that criminals are all too willing to exploit and take advantage of. A company without access to its IT systems can grind to a halt very quickly – which can damage not only its income, but just as importantly, its reputation!

Cybercrime is Big Business™ these days, and although there are other motivations, money is the most common driver when it comes to small business. Gone are the days when a computer virus would simply display a funny or amusing graphic, or send an email to your contacts – the goal these days is to generate income, usually through ransomware, and with the combined revenue from encryption attacks such as Locky, Cryptowall, and CryptXXX in 2017 alone generating an estimated USD$250,000,000, you can see why this is such an attractive prospect for criminals – and, why they put so much effort into improving their methods (and worryingly often, successfully). The arms race between cybercriminals and security providers (including Evolve IT) is serious, ongoing, and not likely to end anytime soon.

So, is it all doom and gloom? Are you just a sitting duck, waiting to see if you become the next victim, like so many of the other organisations you’ve read about in blogs, and on the news? 

In short, no – as long as you take a serious and sensible approach to it, and acknowledge and address the different ways you’re at risk (and, like it or not, we are all at risk!).

Unfortunately, gone are the days when you can rely solely on your antivirus & email filters to protect you – you now also need to put as much emphasis on educating and training your staff as you do on keeping your systems up to date. The best antivirus software in the world won’t do you any good if one of your users inadvertently types their password into a fake web page – which then gives a third party a much better chance of accessing your system remotely and wreaking havoc from there.

In other words, your employees themselves could be one of the biggest cybersecurity vulnerabilities you have – and they might not even know it.

But how do you address this? You can keep your systems patched, your antivirus software up to date with the latest definitions (or even better, use a product like Webroot that is cloud based and doesn’t rely on updates) – but how do you ‘patch’ your staff? Thankfully, as cybersecurity has started to be taken more seriously, so has this aspect – and there are a variety of tools that can be used to train & educate staff.

Evolve IT’s security division runs awareness campaigns designed both to highlight areas of knowledge that need improvement within your user base, as well as provide training – either as a once off, or on an ongoing process. It also provides valuable reporting around all of these aspects, so you can easily track improvements amongst your staff. There is a (relatively small) cost involved in running a campaign like this, but think about the alternative – if your data is ever exposed, lost, or compromised due to carelessness or lack of awareness from staff, the cost of having run a security campaign which could well have avoided the situation entirely will pale in comparison. And, not only is it beneficial to your company – it’s good for your staff, too - a well educated & trained staff member takes their skills with them wherever they go – so increasing their security awareness helps them at home as well.

A campaign such as this – coupled with a security audit (highly recommended) – can drastically reduce your risk. Not to zero – virtually nothing can – but certainly, enough to help you sleep better at night – and, worry less about the monsters under the bed!

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HOW EVOLVE IT CAN HELP?

At Evolve IT, we understand the unique challenges of organisations and have helped a range of business improve their cybersecuirty.

 

Posted by Dylan Herbert

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