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Every day, companies face countless cyber threats from a variety of sources—and, unfortunately, no company is safe. New data breach stories pop up with alarming regularity. For example, there’s a Business Insider article that was published on Aug. 22 highlighting 16 major data breaches involving hundreds of thousands (or millions) of customers in each case—breaches that all occurred within the last year. According to data cited by PCmag.com, “more than 4.5 billion data records were compromised in the first half of this year .”
With cybersecurity breaches being so common for businesses large and small, it’s important to prioritize your efforts to improve your network security to close your biggest cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. But, which cybersecurity nightmares should worry you the most? And, how can you improve your network security so that you minimize your risk of living through such nightmares in your reality?
Cybersecurity Nightmare #1: The Massive Data Security Breach
As mentioned earlier, new data breach stories appear with a disturbing regularity. Every year, cyber criminals manage to steal data from companies large and small alike. The worst part is that many of these data security breaches could have been prevented with ease.
Attackers continuously seek out vulnerabilities in a company’s cybersecurity architecture—whether it’s an unpatched piece of software with an old exploit, an undertrained employee who easily falls for a phishing scheme, or a weak user account authentication system with simple passwords.
Leveraging the slightest weakness, attackers can steal data from your company’s network and databases with virtual impunity. Depending on the data stolen, the consequences can range from your intellectual property being compromised, to your customers being exposed to identity theft, to disruptions to your ability to do business.
While no amount of network security will ever stop 100% of all attacks, you can take precautions to mitigate the risk of a massive data security breach:
- Applying Strong Network Segmentation. One key strategy for minimizing the impact of a data breach is to segment the different elements of your network as much as possible. It’s important to keep individual databases isolated as much as possible with internal network firewalls that restrict peer-to-peer traffic and prevent intruders from breaking out of their initial entry point too quickly. This gives your network security team more time to identify, isolate, and neutralize the breach.
- Clearing Sensitive Data from Individual Terminals. Sometimes, sensitive data may be left on individual workstations or point-of-sale (POS) terminals. Considering that these network assets are more vulnerable to attack than an isolated database would be, it’s important to ensure that no sensitive data is stored on them. This helps to prevent attackers from stealing what they want from their point of entry. It’s also important for compliance with certain regulations.
- Training Employees in Cybersecurity. Employees are one of the biggest weak points in any cybersecurity strategy. Many security breaches happen because employees accidentally fall for phishing attempts, share account details, or make other basic IT practice mistakes that put the company at risk. Providing training helps to improve awareness and minimize the risk of employees making severe mistakes that lead to a security breach.
Cybersecurity Nightmare #2: Data Loss
Another cybersecurity issue that many businesses face is the potential loss of all of their mission-critical data. Whether that data loss is caused by a cyber threat, a natural disaster, or by an employee accidentally deleting the wrong folder, it can be incredibly disruptive to a business’ day-to-day operations.
Creating an effective data loss prevention plan is crucial for recovering from a data loss event. The cornerstone of such plans is the remote data backup. With the ever-increasing commonality of cloud-based data storage solutions, remote data backup is becoming the basic building block for many data loss prevention plans.
Also, using cloud-based services for this task provides the benefit of geographic diversity—which provides an extra measure of safety to help keep the backup from falling victim to the same event that wiped the original datacenter. With a remote backup, if your data is ever corrupted or deleted, you will be able to restore it from the backup at your leisure.
Cybersecurity Nightmare #3: An Extended Denial of Service Attack
Many companies rely heavily on mobile applications and their websites to conduct business with their customers in a timely and efficient manner. Some companies are wholly reliant on their ability to provide live services over the web to their clients. When these companies are subjected to a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, their bottom line can suffer heavily.
DDoS attacks are a major cybersecurity issue that can be difficult to deal with—even for big companies. For example, back in 2014, Sony’s PlayStation Network was taken down via a DDoS attack that followed on the heels of a major cybersecurity breach of Sony Pictures that, according to Forbes, resulted in “over 100 terabytes of data” being stolen.
The longer a service is down, the worse the damage can be. Customers who cannot access the company’s website may choose to go with a competitor during the DDoS attack, and even after the attack ends, the impacts to a company’s public image may result in a loss of business. For companies that deliver live or streaming services, a DDoS attack may result in lost revenue as customers demand partial or complete refunds for their lost service time.
Preparing for a DDoS attack can be difficult, as attack methods are varied and leverage different types of cybersecurity issues in an organization to cripple that business’ network and force a shutdown.
Here, it’s important to check your network for any “single points of failure”—network assets that, if taken down, would lead to the network failing. Creating redundancy for these systems so that, if attacked, there is a backup system ready and able to take over is crucial for limiting the risk of a network outage—whether it’s caused by a DDoS attack or by another issue entirely.
Which of these cybersecurity nightmares should worry your company the most? It’s hard to answer that question without having detailed information about your company, its operational goals, and the current status of your cybersecurity. Contact Compuquip today to sign up for a network security checkup, or learn more about common cybersecurity issues by downloading the Cybersecurity Basics guide at the link below: