Stepping up security in 2017

With cybersecurity attacks proliferating, it’s crucial for companies to prioritize risk management and raise security standards. Keeping up with hackers isn’t easy. Organized cybercriminals and state-sponsored “Black Hats” have many angles of attack, so organizations need a multi-faceted cybersecurity plan. In this environment, keeping an organization’s network secure can seem overwhelming. But don’t worry — we’ve got you covered with three quick tips to raise your guard:

  1. Employee Education

When looking to bolster company security, a great place to start is with the people who know the ins-and-outs of the work environment: employees. Part of the reason why cyberattack prevention is so challenging is due to lack of employee awareness about what threats look like. Deepening employee education surrounding malware and various forms of cyberattacks, such as ransomware and phishing, will help give employees the information they need to identify potential threats online.

It’s important to supplement this education with practical direction on the actions employees should take when they believe they’ve spotted a security threat. Establishing a “next-steps” plan helps leverage employee knowledge about threat identification and prompts open conversation between employees and management. Encouraging employees to voice their concerns about potential system intrusion empowers companies to quickly assess the situation and expose any cybersecurity threats. With the multitude of myths surrounding cybersecurity, teaching employees best practices can prevent confusion and reduce employee vulnerability, so that attacks can be contained before they damage the company.

  1. Identity and Access Management tools

With online information constantly exchanged across offices, it can be difficult to make sure employees have access to the data they need — and only the data they need. Identity and Access Management (IAM) helps companies oversee identification by keeping user identities in a centralized system.  These systems boost security by allowing companies to grant – and revoke – access to all systems from one control panel. Implementing a system that keeps track of employee access is extremely important, considering insider threats, such as rogue employees, are still the biggest security threat most companies face.

A key benefit of adopting an IAM system is single sign-on (SSO) functionality. Instead of managing multiple passwords, SSO allows employees to access an entire ecosystem of programs using one password. This helps reduce the burden of password management for users while helping to identify and suspend suspicious activity. SSO systems can profile users based on behavior (location or device) and can challenge access attempts from unusual or unknown sources. IAM’s centralized and automated approach also streamlines online services to avoid system redundancies, enabling companies to expend fewer resources on troubleshooting authentication security errors.

  1. File server replacement

As business becomes increasingly mobile, traditional file servers do not provide sufficient protection against cyberattacks. Next-generation software is key to protecting your business from breaches while maintaining high productivity levels. Ransomware strains expose company servers to malware that spreads quickly, across not just personal devices but also file servers. Such breaches can lead to the most basic business obstacle: downtime.

Companies should consider upgrading to business-grade file sync and share systems to boost server protection and mitigate security vulnerabilities. These services enable companies to easily replace file servers with streamlined, mobile-friendly security tools. Instead of relying on manual thumb drives or external hard drives, companies can utilize cloud services to streamline sharing while maintaining data protection. But don’t skimp on these — although choosing a consumer-grade product might seem like an attractive option, SMBs can be vulnerable when these low-cost services prove to offer minimal protection. There are better cost-effective solutions out there, so never settle for inadequate services.

Elevate your company’s cybersecurity skills. Just remember, keeping up with today’s digital environment requires modernized security defenses. In other words, if you’re still tolerating dated cybersecurity services, it’s time for an upgrade.

About Jonathan Levine

Jonathan Levine is the Chief Technology Officer at Intermedia