Research by Ponemon Institute into the state of small business cybersecurity has some insights to share that would make any IT professional cringe: 50% of small businesses surveyed had been breached within the past 12 months, and only 14% of the companies believe that they’re highly effective at mitigating cybersecurity threats.
Although these numbers prove that the business world has a long way to go on the cybersecurity front, we have a few suggestions for ensuring that your business doesn’t suffer a security breach.
1. Establish a Unified Threat Management System
No security system should exist in a silo. Businesses with multiple satellite offices often end up wasting significant time and effort managing the disparate security systems of each location. CTOs need to rethink their cybersecurity strategy by taking a unified approach to threat management.
Consider solutions that centralize your security and let you manage your infrastructure remotely through a security provider. Centrally-managed software gives administrators a single console to manage all of their network’s antivirus, software updates, and security logs—perfect for real-time threat detection.
One example is to start monitoring encrypted web traffic. HTTPS has long been see as an easy tool for security, and where trust blooms, so too does opportunity. Today, HTTPS traffic is also the new frontier for malware. Virus and malware writers are encrypting their payload to allow them to circumvent your firewall. A UTM device that can inspect that traffic will make you much more secure.
2. Customize Security Layers
The best corporate security comes from customized assessments of your architecture that identify your organization’s weak points. For example, if your company uses online banking or other portals that handle sensitive customer data, you might be wise to set up two-factor authentication to restrict user access beyond what basic security solutions provide.
3. Get a Handle on Your Internet of Things Devices
Hackers can easily take advantage of a business’s internet-enabled technology and seize control of it for zombie botnet attacks, data theft, and more. To avoid this, look into network segmentation for your IoT devices. This will help insure that even if a security breach does occur, the damage won’t spread to your primary IT infrastructure.
4. Encrypt Cloud Data
If you haven’t considered cloud-based data encryption, it’s time to start. Most major ecommerce websites already utilize the HTTPS protocol, and research indicates that over half of all internet traffic is now encrypted in some form.
Consider deploying server side encryption, such as AES 256-bit, to protect the data your business sends. This will help protect your enterprise from hackers, eavesdroppers, and data loss of all kinds.
5. Train Your Staff Better
The final step of preventing a security breach may in fact be the most important: Training your employees in good cybersecurity practices. They say employees are the weakest link of any security system, a claim supported by cybersecurity research: Up to 90% of all cyberattacks are indirectly caused by employees who unwittingly give up their system ID credentials or otherwise expose their business systems to malware.
Data Security for Enterprise
CTOs bear the burden of securing data across countless geographic locations and nearly limitless internet-enabled endpoints. IT executives can make the process easier on themselves by training their team effectively, locking down every data stream that flows to/from the cloud, and creating a centralized system of security where issues can be identified at a moment’s notice.