Advances in technology are allowing all industries the opportunity to become digitally transformed. By streamlining operations, businesses can experience the benefits of increased productivity and improvement in bottom lines.
It’s important to create awareness of the fact that there are risks involved with navigating the exciting world of new technologies and devices. Business owners need to bear in mind that they’re increasing their business’ cyber-attack surface and act with necessary caution. And if an attack is successful, the downtime could spell financial disaster for your organisation. With cyber-attacks against UK organisations increasing in 2019, your business can’t afford to take risks.
More than often, business downtime is a consequence of system failures and not just the activities of hackers and their malicious malware. During downtime, you can expect business productivity to be affected and, in severe cases, render your operations impossible. Take Merck for example, who lost $310 million as a result of the Petya ransomware attack due to the halting of its production line. So, you don’t need us to tell you that this equates to a lot of lost revenue. While ransomware is hitting particular sectors, including finance, construction and professional services, at a high rate, hackers are targeting all industries with the file-encrypting malware (Datto).
Read our guide below, offering you some insight into how you can take advantage of new technologies whilst keeping your business data safe.
- Seek out anti-ransomware solutions
With the introduction of GDPR legislation, hackers know that encrypted or stolen data could land a business in hot water with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which could lead to fines in the tens of millions. They’ll use this to their advantage to extort ransom payments out of you. It’s never advisable to pay the cybercriminals, as it’s rare you’ll get your data back. Additionally, hackers will identify your business as a guaranteed pay-out and will continue to target you.
With ransomware attacks increasing exponentially in recent years, security organisations have created solutions which specifically protect your systems and data from ransomware. Intelligent solutions like Intercept X will prevent ransomware at the point of infiltration. Or, if your business has already fallen victim to this file-encrypting malware, it’ll reverse the damage. You’ll also get access to features like root cause analysis, which identifies how the ransomware got into your business so you can bolster your systems going forward.
- A forward-thinking business continuity plan is essential
If, like many businesses, you host all of your critical resources on one server, an attack or failure on this system could bring your business down. For years, organisations have been relying on their in-house managed security service provider team, and backing up their files and data either on physical devices or into the cloud. But now it’s not enough to simply back up data.
Forward-thinking business continuity and disaster recovery solutions will not only back up your data but back up your entire IT estate, whether that’s physical, virtual, or in the cloud. Say, for example, a key server in your business goes down – that could be due to a malicious attack, an electrical failure or a flood. You can use your business continuity solution to spin up your server virtually and be back up-and-running in no time. A managed IT services partner is key to helping you implement the most suitable solution.
- Keep your staff informed, to increase your business security
Even with the advent of innovative technologies, your biggest attack surface is still your employees. Email is by far the most popular vector to launch a cyber-attack, with an estimated 91% of cyber-attacks starting with an email designed to harvest login credentials (PhishMe research).
The phishing emails of the 2010s are significantly more targeted and harder to spot than old-school email scams. Hackers are impersonating the business software you use (including purporting to be Microsoft to get your email credentials), your suppliers and even your colleagues, and they’re more convincing than ever.
Ensuring your staff are not only educated, but continually upskilled in spotting suspicious content, is essential to keeping your business safe. Additionally, you can use tools which simulate phishing attacks to benchmark the existing knowledge amongst your employees and track progress against your training.
Bio:Natasha Bougourd is a Lead Applications Writer at TSG, an IT managed services company operating in London and beyond, offering expertise across a range of areas including Office 365, Dynamics 365, document management and business intelligence.