All LinkedIn Articles are posted by Victor J. Quinones, Jr., CEO, Chairman, and Co-Founder at Virtual-Q. Original article posted here.
By the end of 2021, it’s expected that organizations worldwide will spend more than $100 billion in protecting their assets from cyberattacks. The reason the sum is so extraordinary is that organizations have never faced greater cybersecurity threats than they do today. From large companies and critical infrastructure to small organizations, everyone should take critical steps to avoid data breaches, ransomware attacks, and other damaging cyber threats.
The good news is that, as new threats emerge, core cybersecurity strategies also evolve so organizations can protect themselves. Some can afford extensive internal IT teams or even Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) positions. Most SMBs, nonprofits, and small organizations cannot afford these, however. Fortunately, outsourced managed service providers like Virtual-Q are here to fill in the gap.
Before diving into some of the ways businesses can protect themselves, it’s important to understand what threats are out there. From international cyber warfare and state-sponsored hacking groups to independent malicious actors just looking to make money, businesses across industries both large and small are increasingly vulnerable to a range of threats.
Making so much news over the past year or two are two types of cyber attacks: supply chain hacks and ransomware.
In a supply chain attack—like the SolarWinds hack in early 2020 or the more recent attack on Microsoft Exchange servers—hackers identify a piece of software or hardware that numerous other organizations utilize. From there, they’ll infect the software and insert malicious code which is then distributed to all of that provider’s customers.
In the case of ransomware—the Colonial Pipeline and JBS hacks come to mind—hackers are able to take control or shut down critical systems until a ransom is paid, usually in the form of cryptocurrency like bitcoin, to the hackers.
Both types are expensive and potentially devastating. These high-profile attacks may make leaders of small organizations more comfortable. “Surely this won’t happen to me,” they may say. But, the fact is that hundreds of smaller groups fall victim to these attacks every week. Cybersecurity isn’t just a problem for the big players.
Below are just a few of the technologies and practices organizations can leverage to keep themselves safe. The key, above all, is awareness. Because executives and managers generally have their organization’s goals in mind, one of the best ways to stay secure is to trust a dedicated team like Virtual-Q.
Automation isn’t just a buzzword that applies to manufacturing, transportation, or some industrial process. Automated threat protection can work side-by-side with continuous monitoring from your IT services provider. As IT systems and technology stacks become more complex, it is important to leverage automated detection tools to find breaches immediately and mitigate their worst effects.
With hundreds of millions of connected devices now an essential part of doing business in the United States and around the world—especially with the rise of remote work—it’s important that security adapts. Enabling and mandating tools like multi-factor authentication, for example, can help ensure that proprietary systems aren’t being accessed by unauthorized users.
It is important to recognize that an organization’s first line of defense is not a firewall or other software. It’s the employees themselves. Working to ensure that policies surrounding both hardware and software use is critical to keeping them secure. From there, training employees on those policies and the latest best practices on an ongoing basis can be a tremendous insulator against cyber threats.
What are your current strategies surrounding cybersecurity? Let’s start a conversation.