Why a Business Must Have These Three Cybersecurity Solutions

There are three types of cybersecurity solutions that a business must have.

  • Why are These Cybersecurity Solutions Necessary?
  • What is Perimeter Security and Why Does a Business Need It?
  • What is Intranet Security and Why Does a Business Need it?
  • What is Human Security and Why is it the Most Important?
  • How Should Security Testing be Conducted?
  • Why is Personalization Important?
  • How Can Blue Star Help?

Why are These Cybersecurity Solutions Necessary?

Back in the ’80s and early ’90s computer security was a lot different than it is today. The first attack on the Internet occurred when Robert Morris released a “worm” back in 1988. This particular worm consisted of no more than a few dozen lines of code. It resulted in approximately 10 percent of all computers at the time crashing in what was the first official global cyberattack. There were practically no barriers in computer security at the time to prevent this attack. After this incident, viruses and bugs became more prevalent. This resulted in the creation of antivirus software. This was the beginning of constant cybersecurity threats and the race to keep up with securing hardware and software systems.

During the ’90s and the beginning of the 2000s, most companies felt secure using antivirus software. Most viruses at the time seemed motivated by thrill seekers and those looking to vandalize systems. In 2007, however, a major data breach showed companies how vulnerable they really were. TJ Maxx experienced a hack which compromised their database and affected over 90 million credit cards. Computer hacking had now turned into a high-stakes, money-making industry. Malware was evolving faster than antivirus software could keep up. Software at the time could only identify and remove viruses that had already been known to exist and were then cataloged. As personal computers became commonplace, hackers were able to create and release malware faster than the current forms of cybersecurity could keep up. Malware now includes a variety of different viruses and bugs that can wreak havoc in almost any computer system.

In 1999, there were approximately 250 different computer viruses being discovered on a daily basis. In 2016, there were about 250 new types being identified every second. Antivirus software is now outdated as a variety of malicious programs are continually being released. Malware is now an umbrella term for a growing list of computer risks. These risks include Trojans, spyware, worms, viruses, scareware, ransomware, and spam. Local software is simply not enough to manage these different types of threats and delivery methods. An organization needs several layers of security to protect data and all operating systems.

What is Perimeter Security?

Perimeter security is your first line of defense against all types of cyberattack. This is what protects an organization from Internet threats. Only one weakness in all of an organization’s connections can allow malware to invade and spread across an entire network. Because companies now use a variety of cloud technologies, web services, and mobile devices, there are more vulnerabilities that must be monitored. A strong security framework around the entire perimeter is necessary to protect all of a company’s systems. The key is to control access to critical data, services, and applications while denying suspicious activity and known threats. There are several specific ways to provide this type of perimeter security.

  • Spam Prevention – Research has shown that phishing attacks, normally delivered through email, start over 90 percent of all attacks. Spam often shows up in the form of an irresistible offer or an urgent request. Users will then click on dangerous links that infect the system with malware. An effective spam solution can flag emails and block unsolicited ads. This keeps an employee from even seeing these types of messages in the inbox. Advanced solutions can even provide safe browsing features that can inspect the URL to make sure it is safe.
  • Firewalls – Firewalls basically control what is and isn’t allowed to enter a network. Firewalls consist of protocols that are continually scanning traffic in and out of a system. Firewalls were traditionally used to prevent Trojans from gaining access to a network so a backdoor wouldn’t allow hackers to access the system. They can also be used to keep employees from sending out crucial data. Firewalls block activity based on whether it’s trusted. This means hackers may still gain access to the system if they avoid detection by using a “trusted” source.
  • Intrusion Prevention – An Intrusion Prevention System or IPS uses what is called an “anomaly-based detection” to search through IP addresses, network packets, and a variety of other data and applications. This type of system will detect patterns that may indicate intrusion of some sort. An IPS will detect activity even when it seems to be coming from a safe source. When a malicious payload is discovered, the IPS will kill or quarantine the payload before it can spread. IPS is a necessary companion to strong firewalls.

What is Intranet Security?

No matter how effective the perimeter security is, it can’t keep an employee from plugging into damaged hardware or outdated software. An organization still needs a few more layers of security to provide the best protection possible. Intranet security involves protecting local networks, computers, and devices. It’s still imperative to protect individual devices to provide complete cybersecurity protection.

  • Physical Security – With so much attention focused on the technological aspects of an operating system, it can be easy to overlook basic vandalism and burglary. Current data regulations require organizations to implement several levels of physical security. This can include video surveillance and limited or restricted access to certain databases. According to Infosec Institute, motion detectors, intrusion alarms, RFID tags, and even old-fashioned guards can help an organization maintain strong physical security. Low-tech threats can potentially be as damaging as those that are high-tech.
  • Updating Software – Security patches and regular updates for software are essential aspects of cybersecurity. Software vendors are regularly releasing patches. It can be overwhelming, however, if an organization is using several types of software that are continually needing updates. Not only can outdated software lead to potential limitations and lost productivity, but it’s a huge risk for data security. An example of how dangerous outdated software can be is the WannaCry virus. When this ransomware struck, computers with the most updated version of Windows were safe. Many that had neglected updated security patches were not. Because the nature of attacks is constantly changing and becoming more sophisticated, software must be updated on a regular basis to meet the ongoing threats.
  • Anti-Malware Software – While anti-virus software may have been adequate twenty years ago, it’s now necessary to install the most effective anti-malware software. This type of software can be installed on individual devices and can protect them from every known worm, virus, Trojan, and anything else that has been used through the years. When malware infects a computer it can cause everything from slow browser speeds and difficulty connecting to networks to a computer freezing or completely crashing. Whether a user opens a link associated with a “Nigerian Prince” email or just plugs into a USB drive that hasn’t been formatted correctly, anti-malware will keep a device safe.

What is Human Security?

When cyberattacks make the news it’s usually about massive malware attacks or hackers operating on the other side of the planet. This leads many organizations to believe that these are the biggest threats they need to worry about. Humans, however, are almost always the weakest link in a company. Research continually shows that insiders, whether intentionally or not, are often the biggest threat to a company’s security. Everything from using weak passwords to opening unsolicited emails can cause severe security breaches. This means ongoing employee training is a critical aspect of any effective cybersecurity plan. This could include conducting in-house seminars or relying on third-party consulting and support. There are several specific areas that an organization should focus on when training their employees.

  • Public Hotspots – Many organizations now have remote work policies and allow employees to work from home or the local coffee shop. Employees need to understand how susceptible to cyberattack public WiFi networks can be. There are a few steps companies can take to protect their data. Computer Weekly suggests providing employees with a mobile hotspot or subscribing to a hotspot that offers automatic encryption.
  • File-sharing – Security breaches can easily occur if an employee shares sensitive data or leaves files open when away from a workspace. Employees need to know who has access to certain files and who doesn’t before sending files online. If at all possible, files should not be sent through email. There are several types of cloud services that can be used to send files. Sometimes employees leave files open when they’re away from their desk. Employees should not only close all files on their computers whenever leaving their desks, but also keep all sensitive paperwork from being left unattended.
  • Malware – Employees need to be able to recognize the signs of different types of malware and what they’re capable of doing to a device. They’ll need to understand different types of malware including worms, ransomware, and Trojan horses. Seeing the signs of an infection or attack as soon as it starts will go a long way in protecting their personal devices and company information. Employees need quick and efficient ways to contact administration if suspicious activity appears on their devices. This could include something as simple as a phone number to be able to quickly contact someone in management.
  • Social Engineering – Social engineering involves earning someone’s trust online and then tricking that person into divulging sensitive information. There are several types of schemes a hacker can use including baiting and phishing. A cybercriminal will pretend to be a bank teller or a manager and convince the individual to click on a particular link or give out information. Employees need to be able to identify the signs of a potential scam. These include clicking on pop-up ads or links that offer free items before filling out surveys. It’s important to teach employees to have a healthy level of skepticism regarding attachments and links they see while online.
  • Password Policies – Reports found that in 2016 the most commonly used passwords were still “password” and “12345.” Passwords that aren’t difficult to figure out or aren’t very long make a hacker’s job much easier. An organization should have policies in place that require as much difficulty as possible when creating passwords. Passwords should be required to have upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, and symbols to make them as complicated as possible. Words that are associated with an employee, such as a child or pet’s name, should never be used as a password. In general, the longer the password the more difficult it will be to crack. Not only should passwords be long and complex, but they should also be updated on a regular basis. Finally, different passwords should be used for each account. This way if a password is discovered for one account, the hacker won’t have access to all other accounts as well.

How Should Security Testing be Conducted?

After employee training has been put in place, regular security tests should be conducted. This will enable an organization to find out where there are still weak spots and in what areas employees may need further training and education. Something as simple as quizzes can test whether employees understand how to identify phishing threats or know what data can be shared and with whom. It’s also necessary to simulate attacks to find out how employees will respond. These types of tests should be carried out on a regular basis. It’s recommended to carry out security tests several times each year.

Something as simple as workplace inspections to check the physical environment of an organization should also be carried out on a regular basis. Inspections could include checking for passwords and account numbers physically written and left on a workspace as well as making sure security cameras are in working order and covering all intended areas. The highest level of security will only be in place when perimeter security, intranet security, and human security are each working at their highest levels and in conjunction with one another. The goal of ongoing testing is to develop employees that can think critically and are able to defend against different types of threats.

Why is Personalization Important?

Because the threats an organization faces today are increasingly complex, putting together a personalized security plan is crucial. Creating a personalized cybersecurity plan will enable an organization to precisely meet their own individual security needs. What works for one organization won’t necessarily provide the most effective results for another. Everything from the type of employee training that is needed to personalized firewalls and IPS must specifically cater to each individual organization. What exactly is needed will be dependent on several factors including the company’s industry, size, and location.

The key is to expertly combine perimeter, intranet, and human security in a way that provides the highest level of security for each company. The complex threats to a company’s sensitive data and overall security requires a plan that is both sophisticated and customized. To put together a cybersecurity plan like that would require time and resources that most organizations simply don’t have. A managed IT team can provide a company with cybersecurity expertise 24/7. An IT provider brings together a team of security experts with years of experience protecting data and managing operating systems.

How Can Blue Star Help?

Blue Star provides managed IT services that include consulting, security, maintenance, monitoring, and backup. They can help an organization put together a personalized security plan that fits their specific needs for a fixed monthly rate. Blue Star can help a variety of industries including healthcare, manufacturing, non-profits, and a mixture of professional services. Blue Star serves several areas in South Western Michigan and North Central Indiana. Contact Blue Star today for more information.

Published on 4th February 2019 by Jon Morningstar

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