September 14, 2017
You might know a few people who avoid social media because they feel their personal identity will be compromised. You might also know a few people who are hesitant to use online banking for this same reason. Most of these people have no idea how many of their devices are connected to the internet and how much they are using it. That leaves them vulnerable to a cyber attack.
While having some level of caution is healthy when using the internet, we simply can’t avoid it. Knowing where our IT is vulnerable is important to preventing a cyber attack or other serious issues.
In today’s business world, you don’t just use the Internet to surf. Your devices are connected to it all the time. Based on a research report from BI Intelligence, a total of 22.5 billion devices will be connected to the internet in 2021, up from 6.6 billion in 2016.
Last year, many people experienced how vulnerable these devices were with the DYN hack. Earlier this summer, criminal hackers exploited a flaw in ‘retired’ Microsoft software, which was not routinely updated and patched for security, to infect computers with the WannaCry ransomware. Attacks like the DYN and WannaCry ransomware illustrate how much our IT is vulnerable.
Fortunately, the impact from DYN and WannaCry was not as bad as it could have been because of security measures companies have put in place to limit the damage. This includes security measures that control access to patient records in healthcare facilities, strong password protocols that help protect bank accounts, and simple updates to software and browsers.
So, even though we hear in the news daily about hacks that compromise sensitive information, there are security measures we can take to limit the vulnerability of our IT. Those security measures are needed to protect against your biggest vulnerabilities: your hardware, your software, and, most often overlooked, your people.
Assessing your hardware
A good first step to prevent a cyber attack is to perform an assessment on your IT system. This should include a security audit that evaluates how your IT is functioning and any potential risks. Remember that whether it is a point-of-sale terminal or a video surveillance camera, cyber criminals will do anything malicious to try to get into your network and closer to your valuable data, systems, and intellectual property. And hackers love to target small businesses, despite what you may think.
Keep current with software and browsers
It is critical that you maintain your devices with continual updates of apps, software, and browsers. From your assessment, you should have a list of all your devices that connects to the internet and could be vulnerable. The best way to keep your devices current is to turn on automatic updates, anti-virus and anti-malware programs.
Take precautions when online
Even if you address all your hardware and software vulnerabilities, this is only part of the solution. You could still have issues with phishing, human error, and engineering or configuration problems. A big issue is that the tactics cybercriminals use change day to day. Anti-malware, anti-spyware, and anti-virus protections are must-have preventative security measures in a comprehensive managed security service. You also need to be wary of suspicious email, links, and websites. When something doesn’t look right, question it before installing or clicking.
With managed security services from Boost IT, we will perform an assessment of your IT security and recommend what is needed to minimize your IT vulnerability. It’s not intrusive, other than when we block the virus infections that can keep you up at night, and we can implement it with no downtime. We’ll continuously monitor your system so that you always have the proper security configurations, protection against malware, spyware and viruses, and updates to your software and browsers. For more information, contact us at 404-865-1289 or check out our IT Assessment Checklist.