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How to Prepare Your Business for a Cyber-Attack


Are companies doing enough to protect themselves from cyber-attacks? It appears a vast number of UK firms may not be, despite the growing number of warnings from specialists that confidential data is frequently being breached. Cyber-attacks are becoming ever-more sophisticated and targeting a range of organisations regardless of size, a number of which are ill-prepared for such threats, failing to have strong enough security systems in place to deal with them.

How to Prepare Your Business for a Cyber-Attack

Here are some steps you can take to protect your business from such an attack:

Encrypt All Valuable Data and Automate Security:
Encryption is basic good practice for all businesses handling people’s personal information such as bank account numbers, credit card details and other personal data. Yet many businesses fail to routinely do this, even though it’s a technology that can be implemented at a relatively low cost. As Iain Lobban, the head of GCHQ recently said, “Instilling a more security conscious culture throughout your organisation, using the practical approach in the Cyber Security Guidance will make the bad guys’ job harder and won’t cost a fortune.”

When it comes to security, manual processes aren’t sufficient enough to protect your IT system against powerful attacks. Automated systems are less labour intensive and more effective as security devices. You will save your security teams valuable hours if you use tools that can intelligently locate, and automatically alert, only in the occurrence of a real security threat. Also, keeping up-to-date with the latest automatic security technologies lessens the chance of falling victim to the latest malicious cyber predators.

Educate Your Employees:
Employees are vulnerable to cyber-crime. Educating your employees so that they understand the techniques used by cyber-criminals, such as phishing, malware and the misuse of credentials, is of vital importance. Keep workers highly trained on the current cyber threats. They need to know how to recognise a threat, how to deal with it, and how to contain it. If these measures are carried out, the likelihood of malicious attacks being successfully carried out can be greatly reduced.

Use Continuously Monitoring Technologies:
The latest threats are increasingly clever, and are able to disguise themselves as harmless files, slip through defences unnoticed, lie there undisturbed, and later carry out damaging activity. To combat this, you need to use technologies that constantly and continuously monitor all files, including those that appear safe. This will allow you to apply security at a later date to hazardous files that were previously thought to be harmless.

Have an Incident Response Process in Place:
Be prepared. Quick action in the event of an attack could make a real difference to the amount of damage done to your business. Containing a breach of security is very important, and to do this, it is necessary to have a co-ordinated incident response team in place. Even smaller businesses should have a designated person, who is aware of the correct procedures to follow should there be a breach of security. Good practice involves properly documented policies and procedures; for example, companies should provide a step-by-step guide on what to do after a cyber-attack, and have regular reviews and updates. The Verizon 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report found that over one-fifth of organisations took months to contain the breach of security. Make sure your company isn’t one of these.

Hire a Penetration Tester:
Hire a penetration tester to find out just how effective your current security defences are. A penetration tester will, as the name suggests, attempt to penetrate through your current security systems, discovering where your weaknesses are. Money well spent if it means the potential pathway of a future attacker can be blocked.

Companies must face the fact that security breaches can and will happen. The best preparations are holistic in that they involve the latest technologies, the appropriate processes, and the people using them. Cyber-crime can be fought, but the threat of the enemy must first be acknowledged. Not doing so could cost you your business.

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