Cybersecurity has become a frequently used term in business these days.
Whether you hear it in the news or in a meeting, most people are aware that businesses everywhere, and every size, are being targeted by cyber criminals. Just recently companies such as Equifax, Netflix, Sonic, and Yahoo! found their names in the headlines as the latest victims. However, the smaller companies that are also victims hardly get a mention even though they account for 43 percent of all incidents, which cost them an average of $879,582 in damages.
What Are the Most Common IT Security Threats?
Cyber criminals employ a number of different methods to pilfer data, resources, and money from businesses. Among these threats are:
Malware that locks an infected computer’s files until a ransom is paid
Business Email Compromise/CEO Fraud
Emails that are crafted to look like they come from the CEO or other management requesting an urgent bank transfer
Incidents in which customer data, financial information, or intellectual property is stolen
Denial of Service Attacks
Attacks that shut down business-critical functions such as a website, ERP system, or other software
Illicit software that opens a backdoor into your systems, records keystrokes, or does damage to infected computers
Most often, these aforementioned attacks can be traced back to a spearphishing email, a malicious insider, or negligence on the part of an employee or third-party contractor.
One IT security threat that doesn’t gain much attention in the news is that of the insider threat.
However, business leaders have taken notice. Research from Accenture shows that 69 percent of security professionals surveyed said they have experienced theft or corruption of data at the hands of someone inside their organization.
These problems may stem from a disgruntled employee or a malicious insider intent on stealing confidential information, intellectual property, or even customer information. Another common threat is the disruption of services, as seen by the case in which a Citibank employee shut down 10 of the bank’s command center routers after receiving a poor performance review.
Not all damage caused by insiders is intentional, however. Many times, a careless employee or contractor is to blame. While the motive may be different, the results are often equally damaging.
Addressing IT Security Threats
With laws requiring companies to disclose cyber-attacks and the level at which these attacks take place, it is no longer cheaper to repair the damage than it is to proactively stop them.
Companies need to mitigate these threats or run the risk of damaging their reputations to the point that customers no longer trust them with their business.
Unfortunately, some companies don’t know where to start when it comes to addressing the common IT security threats that exist. Steps that can be taken include:
- Keeping systems up to date by applying the latest patches to computers, servers, and hardware. These patches often contain essential security updates that plug known vulnerabilities.
- Establishing a process for the backup and recovery of essential data. With this in place, a business can recover from ransomware threats and destruction caused by insider threats without expensive cleanup costs.
- Identity and access management solutions that restrict users from accessing data that they do not need to see. Working off the principle of least privilege, the right IAM solution will help contain data breaches and insider threats.
- Properly configured security controls that alert you to possible attacks and help thwart them. These include firewalls, anti-malware applications, intrusion detection and prevention solutions, and email security solutions.
- Relying on multiple vendors to support your security efforts. By not relying on a single vendor, you are able to work with products and solutions that focus on specific needs from experts rather than a vendor that is a jack of all trades but master of none.
Addressing the different threats is not an easy task. If you don’t have the personnel in place to manage your IT security, you are a vulnerable target. By working with a trusted managed services partner, you can bring its experience and expertise into your organization to assist you with your security posture. Not only does this free up your IT staff to work on projects that help you achieve your business goals, but it puts experts at the controls so you can rest easier knowing that you are taking the right steps to defend your company from the lurking cyber threats.