The state of IT security completely transformed over the last year. The need for businesses to support thousands of employees working remotely placed an extraordinary strain on IT teams to roll out VPN and multi-factor identification, and on the network infrastructure as a whole. Now, with the return to the office, at least in some degree, on the rise, a new challenge looms.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of cyberattacks on businesses in 2019 increased from 45% to 61% in the previous year. For any business, a successful cyberattack poses a significant risk to operations. As large enterprises have higher budgets and more resources to protect against attacks, criminals now frequently attempt to exploit smaller company networks for financial gain. Staying ahead of the latest cybersecurity trends is vital for running a sustainable business in the future.
Latest Cybersecurity Best Practices that Every Business Should Adopt
Aging office equipment, unpatched devices, and lack of IT support often make small businesses prime targets for cybercriminals.
If you don’t take a proactive approach to IT and network security, especially with changing requirements due to remote work and hybrid work, it could lead to reputational damage, civil liabilities, and compromised data. According to a year’s worth of endpoint threat intelligence from Watch-Guard Panda products, fileless malware rates in 2020 increased by 888% over 2019.
How you choose to protect your information systems now will make all the difference as businesses reopen. While digital technologies can increase productivity and efficiency, when misused, the same technology could also put the entire business in jeopardy. Securing systems with the latest best practices for cybersecurity helps alleviate the risks and ensures reliable operations well into the future.
Educating Your Workforce about Cybersecurity and Risks
Improving the cybersecurity of your company should be everyone’s concern, from the C-suite to the newest intern. Simply clicking on a suspicious link in an attachment could lead to an infected network. If the company as a whole understands this, it’s more likely employees will inform their IT department about a possible phishing attempt before it succeeds.
Providing a comprehensive cybersecurity policy that covers both in-office and remote work is a must-have. Network attacks and unique exploit detections hit a two-plus year high in 2020. Network attacks swelled to more than 3.49 million in Q4.
Requiring employees to follow general cybersecurity guidelines and creating work-from-home specific policies is a must.
General Cybersecurity Guidelines for Employees to Follow:
1. Always install Windows updates
2. Update anti-virus tools regularly
3. Use a password manager
4. Lock your computer when stepping away from your desk
5. Don’t be click-happy
6. Use caution when opening email attachments
7. Don't store company data on a personal device
Remote Work-Specific Guidelines:
1. Turn off automatic Wi-Fi connections
2. Uninstall unnecessary software from personal computers
3. Use the VPN at all times
4. Ensure secure browser configuration
As offices reopen, understanding the potential risk in the devices we're introducing to the network is a new but required step in your IT security strategy. Assessing each device for its potential risk and addressing any potentially compromised devices with advanced malware detection software is a must.
For more tips on keeping your remote work secure, download the “18 Things to Make Your Remote Work Secure, Convenient, and Stress-Free” checklist.
Use Managed IT Services
Having access to cybersecurity experts is more important today than ever before. If you don't have the budget to invest in hiring experts, using Managed IT Services can help bridge the knowledge and financial gap. Managed IT service providers take over the management and operations of the company’s network and connected devices. While Managed IT Services helps secure networks, it also provides you with a versatile solution for all your IT requirements.
Deploy Cybersecurity Solutions Across the Network
Businesses should opt to use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for all access to company information. Ensure you deploy the latest antivirus, anti-malware, and firewall solutions on your networks and devices.
Wherever possible, automate the process of updating all virus and malware definitions. If you allow staff to connect to your networks from their personal devices, it’s imperative to set a security policy that applies to all the connected equipment. For access to sensitive information, adopting two-factor authentication can help prevent a breach from succeeding.
Reduce the Attack Surface
An attack surface refers to the landscape of devices vulnerable to a cyberattack. It’s common for businesses to enforce security on workstations, handheld devices, and servers. However, printers and copiers should be included in network security policies. Modern printers have their own sophisticated software onboard, which cybercriminals can exploit to gain access to your network. Using Managed Print Services ensures you have the latest network protection installed on all your printing and scanning devices.
Secure Your Company’s Network with ImageNet Consulting
ImageNet helps businesses of any size develop a comprehensive cybersecurity policy and reduce their attack surface. With access to cybersecurity experts and a dedicated team of professionals, working with ImageNet can help you build resiliency and effectiveness into your cybersecurity strategy
With Managed IT Services, ImageNet works with you to develop a reliable technology stack that suits your needs and improves your future sustainability.
To discuss the latest cybersecurity best practices, and find out how Managed IT Services can help protect your company, reach out to ImageNet Consulting today.