If 2019 has shown us anything, it’s that organizations of all sizes and in every sector are potential targets for cybercriminals. Even for small to medium-sized businesses, there’s no longer a reason to put off a comprehensive approach to your cybersecurity strategies. In fact, 58% of all cybercriminal victims in 2018 were classified as small businesses, and the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. All it takes is one evaded cyberattack to immediately offset the cost of a business cybersecurity platform.

With October recognized as Cybersecurity Awareness Month, now’s an ideal time to survey your current network security tactics and explore what else your team could be doing to defend against security breaches. In this post, we’ll explore some of the foundational tools your organization can implement to prioritize cybersecurity.

If you’re already using one or more of these approaches, you’re off to a great start. Just remember that in terms of cybersecurity, there’s almost always more that your organization can be doing. These strategies are intended as a launching point and benchmark for your network, and the cybersecurity experts at Pure IT are always here to help you explore what else you can be doing.

Implement User Access Controls

In 2018, 28% of all data breaches involved internal actors at some level. With 42% of IT professionals believing that internal users pose the greatest threat to their organization’s network, internal threats represent one of the most significant causes of network breaches today. That’s why the best place to start protecting your external network threats is actually from the inside.

Addressing internal cybersecurity threats begins with differentiating between sensitive and non-sensitive data. From there, your team can implement user access controls that limit which users have access to specific data and layers of your network. Generally, users should only have access to the data and applications they rely on to complete day-to-day work tasks. It’s much easier to protect your network from internal threats when users need to request permission for special access than to dole out permission generously and learn the hard way.

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Ongoing Employee Education

Beyond implementing user access controls, cybersecurity awareness training is another crucial aspect of defending against internal security vulnerabilities. The more your team knows about cyberattacks, the better they’ll be at spotting potential threats and the smoother incident response will go. From training employees not to open attachments from unknown senders to implementing policies for regularly changing strong passwords, this ongoing education can take a variety of forms.

Sophisticated social engineering attacks like phishing emails have become increasingly prevalent. As a result, automated phishing training like KnowBe4 and Rapid7 offer an effective, efficient way to protect your network. These tools work by sending out simulated phishing emails to test your team on an ongoing basis. If they pass the test, you can be confident your employees have the fundamental skills to protect your network. If they fall for the simulated attack, they’re enrolled in an online security training course.

Vulnerability Scans and Penetration Testing

If your organization is looking to stay ahead of the latest security threats, vulnerability scans and penetration testing offer two avenues for evolving with ever-changing threats. Vulnerability scans are generally automated software platforms that protect your network by regularly screening for any known software, hardware, and infrastructure loopholes that may enable cybercriminals to gain access to your systems. Similarly, penetration testing unveils network vulnerabilities, but this goal is accomplished by a team of ethical hackers who attempt to infiltrate your system as a real-world cybercriminal would.

Defend Against Physical Threats

With technology like the cloud moving business operations to an increasingly virtualized environment, it’s easy to overlook the importance of physical security when protecting your network. Physical theft and unauthorized facility access can represent just as significant of a threat to your operations as ransomware. Make sure your organization is taking the proper precautions to secure physical infrastructure, computer systems, and mobile devices. At the same time, when partnering with a cloud provider, be sure to inquire about how they secure their physical servers to protect your sensitive data.

Calgary’s Managed IT Security Specialists

Pure IT is committed to helping businesses in every industry across Alberta take their cybersecurity strategies to the next level. If you’re interested in deploying any of the above tactics at your organization, get in contact with our experts, and we’ll start exploring the possibilities for protecting your network.

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