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The grim reality of cyberattacks: How to mitigate the risks?

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/lolloj)

The increasing loopholes in cybersecurity measures expose sensitive corporate information and put company data at risk, exhilarating the extent of damage caused by cyberattacks. Nevertheless, cyberattack is one of the topmost CEO concerns for most companies, big or small. According to a 2019 press release by Global Market Insights, the cybersecurity market’s value is anticipated to reach $300 billion by 2024. The reality of data breach hasn’t spared even the big giants like Facebook, Equifax, Marriott and Yahoo - hence cyberattack is becoming a horrid challenge that every business, irrespective of its size, must combat. In fact, it is growing at the same pace as technological innovations. The Juniper research report about global cybercrime cost exceeding $2.1 trillion by 2019 simply testifies its growing danger.

Companies can no more ignore certain proven measures to limit the dangers caused by cyberattacks. So, what are the ways to counter-attack cyber-risks?

Monitor your company devices and hardware

Start from the basics when it comes to ensuring security from inside out. Sophisticated cybersecurity measures are important, but it is equally crucial to pay attention in securing company-owned devices and hardware from thefts, loss and misuse. Make sure to introduce super strong and complicated passwords that can be shared with highly authorised personnel. Apply other important security and application policies across all corporate-owned devices with the help of a robust mobile device management software, which will give the company IT team an upper hand in managing, monitoring and securing all devices holding sensitive company data in them.

Secure corporate data with the help of encryption -

Encryption of corporate messages, files and content on-the-mobile or on-transit is highly recommended to protect corporate data from being hacked. There are two ways to do that: either prevent sensitive data from being physically accessed or render the data useless when it falls into the wrong hands. The later can be done through adopting techniques of data encryption for all necessary company-facing information including user data, customer details, business files/documents, and employee data. It is imperative to implement a flawless data protection policy to drive integrity and security of corporate data across all data storage and consuming location, whether in rest or in motion.

Back data up and store it separately to prevent data loss

It is extremely important to operate a daily or weekly back up process of all corporate data and content, which can go a long way in saving important files from getting lost due to situations like system crash, security breaches like malware infection and corruption and failure of hard drives. The duplicate data should be stored separately. Most importantly, back up of data is a strong solution in situations like ransomware attacks wherein the hackers demand heavy ransom money before releasing your company data. Data is the lifeblood of any business without which it becomes difficult to survive and hence data backup becomes a mandatory aspect to ensure security and easy recovery of data under difficult circumstances.

Explore the possibilities of cybersecurity insurance -

The alarmingly rising number of security breaches due to cyberattacks happening all over the globe has pushed companies to think about alternate yet valid options like investing in cybersecurity insurance. The fact that the cybercriminals work 24/7/365 to destroy data, makes it imperative for companies to deploy all possible measures that include seeking specialist help and advice to protect their cyber assets from getting ransacked leading to irreparable financial loss. Investing in cybersecurity insurance by buying a cyberliability policy protects the business against all the incurred costs related to data breach or loss. Data loss and information theft leave a company compromised and damaged but investing in these insurance policies takes care of the major monetary issues, which simply adds insult to injury.

Most importantly, create a security-driven corporate culture

It is most advisable to have a strategic approach towards providing employee training that would make them aware of all the vulnerabilities your corporate data can be subject to and how well they can be handled with the intervention of the right technologies and decisions. They should be taught about the hazards of using unsecured networks to access corporate information and the extent of loss the company can suffer due to that. The company should clearly define what types of unsecured networks are available at what kinds of locations. It is important for the employees to know about the dangers of accessing unprotected websites and downloading unsecured apps in their devices. They should be told about the importance of setting a strong device password and other security measures that can follow on a regular basis.

At the same time, companies should be extra organised and cautious about having organisation-wide security standards and strict policies regarding the devices that employees would use to carry on their day-to-day office works. An invincible security framework should be in place to take care of the following aspects:

  • Have a set of network admin rights restricted to a handful of users
  • IT admin should consistently track and monitor device analytics
  • A sturdy MDM software to manage and secure devices remotely
  • Implement a powerful anti-malware and firewall software
  • Perform pen-test of applications and system networks to detect vulnerabilities
  • Perform company-wide internal and external audit
  • Start a responsible disclosure program wherever applicable

A cybersecurity software backed by a perfect strategy driven by employees as well as a powerful IT team is critical for companies with an online presence and the ones that store customer and employee data on digital devices while using cloud-based services. When it comes to the industries that face most cyberthreats, finance, energy & utilities, education, retail and government & military are some of the sectors, which need to be extra cautious of the cybercrimes and attacks.

Sonali Datta, Scalefusion