As we explored in the previous blog in the series, internet security should be at the top of your list of concerns. Cyber criminals are opportunistic - like a ‘real’ criminal they will find the easiest way of gaining the most from you. Many ‘leave the door open’ to cyber criminals without even realising it. In this – the last blog in the series – we will take a look at some things you can do to protect your business from cyber-attacks, and also at who is responsible for the IT within your business.
Five things to protect your business from a cyber-attack.
We believe there are five key ways to protect your business from a cyber-attack. Let’s explore them in detail.
What is a Firewall?
A Firewall regulates the data traffic travelling between your trusted network and an un-trusted (unknown) network. Your Firewall contains ‘security rules’ with the sole purpose of protecting the users of the trusted network from any cyber threat.
A Firewall is if not the most important then one of the most important preventative measures you can take against cyber threats. They effectively filter traffic wanting to access a network based on a set of predetermined rules, meaning you are effectively shutting the door to anything that can cause harm to the system.
2. Access controls
In regard to Access Control the concept is easy to grasp - only allow access to the point at which that employee needs it. By doing this you will reduce the risk of information being stolen or damaged. Accounts with special privileges being accessed by unauthorised personnel has the potential to be hazardous, and could allow them access to sensitive information which, in turn, could open the doors to widespread corruption of the systems.
3. Secure configuration
Typically, factory-fresh software or hardware features default settings designed to enable maximum usability rather than maximum security. It is essential that you optimise all settings within your network to ensure security is at the highest level possible. Devices often come with pre-installed software that you’ll never use, and the default ‘admin’ password may be available online - both leave gaping holes in your defences, so it is essential to replace and configure devices accordingly to ensure the maximum protection.
4. Malware protection
What is Malware?
Before we go any further, let’s first find out what Malware is. Malware has gradually become the most common form of computer virus; its sole purpose is to cause harm by attacking legitimate software on your system, making copies of itself, and sending itself to any computer associated with the host.
To combat Malware you need a series of preventative measures as opposed to one solution. There are precautions you can take to defend against Malware.
1) Only download apps from manufacturer-approved suppliers when purchasing from your devices. DO NOT, under any circumstances allow your staff to download apps from unknown sources as it is unlikely that they have been checked for malware.
2) Acquire and download anti-virus software, and use it on all computers, laptops, and devices on-premise and at home. Don’t just be happy with the free version provided by the operating system as these are very basic and more than likely won’t stand up to scrutiny when the time comes.
3) The ‘Sandbox’, the least common preventative measure, doesn’t allow certain apps to communicate with other parts of your device, protecting them in the process.
5. Patch management / up-to-date devices
Keeping your devices up-to-date is key to ensuring you are cyber secure, because by not being up-to-date you are leaving yourself open to problems and potentially irreparable damage to your systems. Naively, most think that when manufacturers release updates it is purely for them to enjoy new features, when, in reality, they are patching any security vulnerabilities that they have discovered in previous versions of their software. Many devices have the facility to set updates to automatic, and we would highly recommend that you do this.
We know we said there are five ways to protect your business from cyber-attacks but what connects these nicely is the Cyber Essentials Accreditation.
The Cyber Essentials Accreditation
The certification is widely recognised as a reputable way to measure a business's ability to provide a secure environment against cyber-attacks. This, in turn, will promote a good image to customers and make them more likely to use your business. What better way is there to instil confidence than having the proof of your efforts confirmed by an official outside source?
Cyber Essentials Accreditation is also beneficial when you are planning to apply for specific government contracts. Cyber Essentials Accreditation is often mandatory – unless your business achieves it, you will not even be able to bid for certain contracts. So, it has the potential to open up a whole new revenue stream for your organisation.
If implemented correctly, the five ways to protect your business from cyber-attacks will do just that, and, if you pursue them further, with a little research, you can pass the Cyber Essentials Accreditation and set your business up for a secure future.
Your business computing partner - BCNS
Is your cyber security a concern? Are you uncertain about how to guarantee you are secure? BCNS can help you! We at BCNS offer a wide range of managed IT service plans catered to fit your needs, whatever your budget. We utilise cutting edge technology to improve the efficiency of your organisation. Our team of specialists can help you to make the right decision in regards to your technology. We want to become an important member of your team. Contact us now to see how we can help you take your business into the future with technology as a trusted ally.