cyber security

Three pieces of advice to help protect your business from the chaos of downtime

Adopting new technologies can help businesses across any industry to transform, digitally speaking, and streamline their operations. The desired result is an elevation in productivity and uplift in bottom lines.

Upgrading your business technologies involves the risk of increasing your cyber-attack surface. This shouldn’t be taken lightly as if an attack is successful, the downtime could spell financial disaster for your organisation. Bearing in mind that cyber-attacks against UK organisations increased in 2019, your business can’t afford to put your business at this type of risk.

Putting things into perspective, it’s worth remembering that business downtime can also come about through system failures, not the activities of hackers and their malicious malware alone.

During periods of downtime, business productivity will certainly 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, its easy to draw the conclusion that business downtime equates to a big loss of 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).

Carry on reading as we help you identify how your business can enjoy the benefits of adopting new technologies, whilst ensuring there is a reduced security threat posed to your business data.

1. Increase protection for your systems with 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.

2. Implement a business continuity plan

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 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 can help you implement the most suitable solution.

3. Help your workforce understand the importance of increased 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.

 

About the Author

Natasha Bougourd is a Lead Applications Writer at TSG, an IT managed services company in London, offering expertise across a range of areas including Office 365, Dynamics 365, document management and business intelligence.

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