The start of a new year is the perfect time to set goals for the year ahead. While you might be focusing on personal resolutions such as eating healthier or getting in shape, why not consider making some Cyber Security New Year’s Resolutions that will protect your business against cyber attacks and online threats?
Cybercrime cost the Irish economy €9.6bn last year, and according to a European survey from CWSI, 54% of Irish companies saw a rise in cyber attacks, the highest in Europe, compared to 42% on average for European firms.
One of the most notable attacks was the ransomware attack on the HSE which crippled systems across the health service, disrupted Covid-19 testing and led to mass cancellations of appointments and surgeries.
If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that we must prepare for the unexpected and plan for the worst. With this in mind, we’ve listed a set of resolutions that won’t involve you ditching the sugar or donning the gym gear. Our resolutions will help your business increase cyber resilience, reduce risk, and protect against evolving threats.
Cyber Security New Year’s Resolutions
1. Patch and Update Software Regularly
Software updates will often pop up at the most inconvenient of times, typically when you’re in the middle of something important and want to keep on working. As tempting as it may be to hit the ‘remind me later’ button, you should never delay installing these updates. New vulnerabilities are discovered all the time and unless security patches are applied, hackers can exploit these vulnerabilities to attack and infect computer systems. If you’re worried about downtime, you can enable automatic updates to ensure that your software is continually up to date and running smoothly.
2. Focus on Backup and Business Continuity
Regular backups are crucial to securing your company’s data and network. Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong, whether it’s a hardware or software failure, human error, or a targeted cyber attack. If disaster strikes and your data is not backed up, it could paralyse business operations, lead to costly downtime, and destroy your brand reputation. Regular backups will ensure that in the event of an incident, your business can quickly restore data with minimal disruption to services.
3. Improve Password Security
Password security has never been more important, especially with large numbers of the workforce continuing to work remotely. 81% of all data breaches are caused by weak or compromised passwords, so it’s vital that you create strong passwords that will create a robust defence against cyber threats. If you’re worried about remembering multiple passwords, then a password manager might be the solution. A password manager will provide a centralised and encrypted location that will keep a record of all your passwords safe.
4. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is one of the best tools to prevent cyber breaches. Rather than just confirming your identity with a simple username and password, you will have to provide two or more authenticating factors which only you can access. This provides an extra layer of protection that can significantly reduce the chance of your accounts being hacked. There are lots of different authentication technologies that can be used to confirm your identity, these are usually based on:
- Something you know (Password, pin, postcode, or answer to a question)
- Something you have (A token, phone, credit card, sim, or physical security key)
- Something you are (Biometric data such as fingerprint, voice, or facial recognition)
- Location-based (GPS coordinates to confirm location)
- Time-based (Current time used to generate a one-off code)
5. Be Wary of Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks continued to surge in 2021 as opportunistic criminals took advantage of the ongoing disruption caused by the pandemic. The mass shift to remote working has created a fertile breeding ground for attacks, and according to recent figures from the Gardai, phishing increased by 80% in Ireland last year. Attackers frequently use phishing emails to trick users into installing malware or sharing credentials that can provide access to corporate networks. The recent attack on the HSE is thought to have originated from a single phishing email, underlining the importance of remaining vigilant against this type of threat.
6. Conduct Regular IT Security Assessments
Regular IT security assessments are key in helping your business strengthen its security. A detailed security assessment will identify all your critical assets, the threats facing your information systems, networks and data, and the potential consequences of an attack on your business. Once you know what you need to protect, you can tailor your cyber security and data protection controls to address these risks. Not only are IT security assessments important for protecting your business, but in some cases, they are mandatory. Some information security frameworks, such as ISO 27001, require risk assessments to be conducted in order for your business to be considered compliant.
Consider Managed IT Services
Not all resolutions need to be doomed to failure. By enlisting the help of a Managed Service Provider, your business can implement the above Cyber Security new year’s resolutions and get off to the best possible start to 2022.
How we can help
As an ISO 27001 certified Managed Service Provider, we provide a full range of proactive IT services that include advanced security, round-the-clock monitoring, data encryption, network and firewall protection, anti-virus software, backups, and disaster recovery. We identify gaps that need to be plugged and work closely with you to ensure that your IT systems are aligned with the latest technologies and security protocols.
To find out how we can help protect your business, get in touch for further information.