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How To Prevent Cyber Attacks On Businesses

When it comes to IT support, New York businesses’ top priority is cybersecurity. With the number of ransomware attacks and data breaches on the rise constantly, if you’re not taking your cybersecurity seriously already, you need to start!

What Is A Cyber Attack?

A cyber attack is one where technology is used to carry out the attack. Often this involves a cyber criminal accessing data or systems they are not permitted to or preventing your from accessing those systems yourself.

Cyber attacks normally happen as a result of poor cybersecurity. It is more common for an attack to be successful because of the victim’s lack of defences than because of the attacker’s ingenuity or technical skill. These attacks can cause real damage to your business and 60% of businesses that suffer a major cyberattack will close within the following 6 months.

The motives for a cyber attack can vary greatly. Sometimes attackers will encrypt your data and hold it to ransom, other times they are looking to steal sensitive information (like credit card information) and sell it to other criminals, and some attackers just like to cause chaos.

Cybersecurity is an important issue for businesses of all sizes. By taking steps to protect your company, you can minimize the risk of a cyber-attack and safeguard your valuable data.

Types Of Cyber Attack

Cybercrime is on the rise, with new and more sophisticated attacks being launched every day.  In order to protect yourself from these attacks, it is important to understand what they are and how they work.

  • Denial of Service (DoS)
    Denial of service attacks involve sending thousands of requested to a server/website/network in order to overload it and render it unusable for genuine users.
  • Phishing
    Phishing emails appear to be genuine but are actually from a hacker attempting to get your employees to hand over sensitive data or download malware unwittingly.
  • Spearphishing
    Like phishing, spearphishing uses forged emails, but it is targeted at high-value targets in your organisation such as your CEO, CTO, or CFO.
  • Malware
    Malware can be irritating at best, and disastrous at worst. Keyloggers can record passwords as you type them, web traffic can be diverted to websites that hackers control, and your entire system can grind to a halt. These are just some of the effects of malware.
  • Ransomware
    Ransomware encrypts your data and leaves it inaccessible until you pay the attacker a ransom.

10 Ways To Prevent Cyber Attacks

Partnering with a managed IT services provider like us is always our advice when it comes to the overall cybersecurity of your business. Whether you have professionally managed IT security assistance, there are still some steps you and your team can take every day to make sure you are minimising the chance of a cyberattack.

  1. Keep your software up-to-date
  2. Use strong passwords (or better yet, a password manager)
  3. Don’t open attachments or click on links from unknown sources
  4. Educate your employees on cyber security best practices
  5. Install a firewall and anti-virus software
  6. Back up your data regularly
  7. Restrict employee access to sensitive data
  8. Use secure communications protocols
  9. Install patches for known vulnerabilities
  10. Use multi factor authentication (MFA/2FA)

How Carden IT Services Help Keep Our Clients Secure

Let’s look at 5 of the biggest cybersecurity solutions which Carden IT Services implement for our clients. Each of these is a vital component of securing a business’s IT network.

1. Access Control
With more and more employees working from home, it has become harder for businesses to keep networks and data secure. A team that would have once all accessed the same system from one office (and one IP address) may now do so from a variety of different locations and devices. This makes it imperative that you know who is accessing your data and systems, when, and why.

Carden IT will implement access control protocols which lock down your critical data and your network so that only those with authorisation can gain access to them. This begins with an audit of your team members and what systems and data each one needs access to. For instance, there’s probably no need for the new intern to have access to your cloud data backups.

These access restrictions aren’t set in stone and can be amended as and when circumstances change, and when employees leave their access can be removed from multiple systems with a single click.

2. Network Security
It is common to see organizations targeted by unwanted infiltration from malicious actors. Network security is a method for protecting computer networks against unauthorised access, targeted attacks, and opportunistic infections.

The use of robust password policies and encryption are good first steps to take for your network security. Another big tip to prevent compromising your network is to make sure that accounts with admin privileges are:

  • Only used by administrators.
  • Only used for admin tasks (administrators should have a non-admin account for day-to-day computer use).

3. Cloud Security
More and more businesses’ data and even entire network infrastructure is stored in the cloud every day. While cloud platforms offer businesses a great new way to reduce costs and increase efficiency, they also come with their own cybersecurity challenges.

Cloud security, sometimes referred to as cloud computing security, is a collection of access controls and cybersecurity technologies that work together to safeguard cloud-based systems, data, and network infrastructure. These cybersecurity measures are implemented to secure cloud data, assist in businesses’ regulatory compliance efforts, preserve the privacy of customer data, and introduce authentication procedures to reduce the threat of unauthorised access.

4. Email Security
Email is one of the oldest technologies invented for the web which is still in use today. But because it’s one of the oldest it is also one of the least secure. Email is one of the main attack vectors for ransomware as well as being a common source of phishing attempts (where an attacker sends you a genuine looking email which attempts to steal your password for a service or trick you into downloading malware).

Carden IT Services can implement a variety of email security solutions to keep your email system secure. Our cloud-based email protection software introduces encryption to your email meaning that it cannot be read while in transit even if it is intercepted. Our email protection also allows you to safely open suspicious attachments in an online “sandbox” environment away from your main network.

We also deploy fake phishing emails to test your employees’ ability to spot them. If they fail to do so, they are directed to online training on how to better spot the tell-tale signs of phishing emails so that they are less likely to inadvertently compromise your systems when they receive a real phishing email.

5. Ransomware Protection
Ransomware is by far the biggest threat to businesses (and any networked organization). In the past few years, entire countries’ healthcare systems have been rendered unusable by ransomware attacks. Preventing ransomware is more complex than simply just installing off the shelf “ransomware protection” software and leaving it running. That’s why partnering with an experienced cybersecurity provider like Carden IT Services gives you the best chance of staying protected.

As well as deploying ransomware protection software, we can also implement endpoint monitoring to check on the health of individual machines and stop potential ransomware infections before they have the chance to spread.

We can also implement data backups for all your critical data and even virtualise entire parts of your network in the cloud so that they can be restored in a usable state should the originals become compromised by ransomware.

Need Professional Cybersecurity Services For Your Business?
We hope this has been a useful overview of Carden’s various cybersecurity services. This is just scratching the surface of the technologies and techniques we implement to keep our clients’ networks safe. To learn more and to start securing your network today, speak to our team!

Author: Jeremy Huson

Jeremy Huson is the founder and director of Carden IT Services LLC. He has nearly two decades of experience managing businesses’ IT networks and his areas of expertise are IT consultation and cybersecurity.