There are many holidays that mark the end of the year. For the average person, the holidays are a time for friends, family, and personal reflection. However, the end of the year is also a busy season both for businesses and for cyber threats. Many times in recent years, businesses have made headlines for suffering major data breaches during the holiday shopping season.
It’s easy to see why cybercriminals like to exploit the holidays for their attacks—businesses are often too busy dealing with increased customer traffic to notice abnormal user requests, so an attack may go unnoticed for a while, giving attackers a golden opportunity to engage in uninterrupted mischief. Additionally, customers whose financial information is compromised may not be able to spot fraudulent activity right away.
With this in mind, it is important to consider how you can make your company cyber secure in time for the holidays—or, at least, in time to face the threats of the coming year. Here are a few tips for improving your cybersecurity architecture as soon as possible:
Check Your Cyber Protections Now
Most companies have at least a few basic cybersecurity solutions, such as perimeter firewalls, endpoint security (such as computer antivirus programs), and the like. All too often, however, these cyber protections are not properly integrated or are left out of date—exposing the company’s cybersecurity architecture to attack.
So, one of the best things to do to improve your cybersecurity is to take a good, long look at your current cyber protections. This cybersecurity architecture review can help you identify:
- Conflicts in your cyber protections;
- Critical gaps in your cybersecurity architecture; and
- Out-of-date software that may be vulnerable to old exploits.
After reviewing your cybersecurity architecture, you can begin to make some modifications that will help your company be more cyber secure.
Update or Replace Outdated Cybersecurity Solutions
After reviewing your cybersecurity architecture, it’s important to identify any software that is not up to date with its latest security patches and to update them as soon as possible. However, sometimes a simple update might not be enough to bring a cybersecurity solution or business software back in line with your company’s cybersecurity requirements. Times change, and so do your company’s cybersecurity needs.
If a cybersecurity solutions provider no longer supports their old software, or if you don’t have a solution that addresses a major type of attack that might target your business, it may be time to acquire a new cybersecurity solution. Proactively seeking new tools to help keep your business cyber secure is a great way to improve your vulnerability management. However, it’s also important to consider how a new solution might affect your business process workflows before you spend time and money on integrating it.
While keeping your company cyber secure is important, it’s equally important to avoid damaging the user experience (UX) of your employees and customers. If your business’ online resources are hard to use, it can make employees less efficient, and keep customers from wanting to engage with your company’s software and apps.
Don’t Forget Physical Security for Your Company’s Hardware
One thing about cybersecurity solution providers is that many of them focus so much on cyber threats that they forget about one critical thing: physical security for hardware devices. Cybercriminals can often get a lot more out of stealing a computer terminal, cell phone, or other device than you might expect. After all, with a stolen device, the attacker can crack whatever security measures are present on the device at their leisure.
One article on cybersecurity by Entrepreneur.com recommends a few easy physical security measures for devices, such as “physically attaching computers to desks” and installing “‘find my device’ software on all laptops, phones and tablets.” Taking these basic security measures can help deter hardware theft—or help speed along the recovery of stolen assets.
Improve Cybersecurity Awareness to Keep Your Employees Cyber Secure
Employees are a critical cornerstone of any company’s cybersecurity architecture. Even with the latest and greatest cybersecurity solutions, careless employees can accidentally cause massive data breaches or data loss.
For example, the holiday shopping season is a busy time for phishing attacks—with no sign of slowing down. According to data cited by CNBC, “Online fraud attempts rose 22 percent last year, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.” When employees fall for phishing scams, they may surrender their access credentials or highly sensitive information to an attacker who can use that information to commit fraud.
Alternatively, employees may accidentally bring malware-compromised devices to work or download malware from an unsafe website while at work. Because of these risks, it’s important to train employees to improve their cybersecurity awareness. An employee who is aware of the cyber threats they face online is less likely to fall for phishing schemes or other social engineering threats—helping to make your company more cyber secure.
Some ways to boost cybersecurity awareness include:
- Setting up formal training programs;
- Periodically testing cybersecurity awareness through fake phishing emails or written assessments; and
- Circulating news of major incidents at meetings or through emails.
If you need help making your company more cyber secure in time for the end of the year, be sure to speak with one of our cybersecurity experts today. We’ll be happy to help you!