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As the skills and audacity of cyber criminals increase, so do the threats that they pose to business owners. While massive breaches at big corporations such as Target may lead the headlines, hackers are certainly not only interested in large corporations. That being said, all business owners should take cyber security seriously. However, not all organizations can afford their own in-house security teams. If you are not entirely confident in your systems’ defenses against cyber threats, it’s probably time to consider hiring a cyber security consultant. Here are some of the top reasons to have one of these professionals working for you.
Prevent Possible Attacks
Utilizing the right cyber security consulting services will help to prevent possible attacks on your company’s website, software programs, and IT infrastructure. If an issue does occur, a security consultant can likely mitigate it before it increases in severity. But do take caution while hiring the professional. Check their qualification and expertise. It might be better to do some background checks of the candidate in question with the help of https://checkr.com/background-check or similar agencies.
Enhance Your Staff
A cyber security expert will help to educate your current employees and broaden their horizons when working with IT security. Once the consultant has completed the job, your workforce will benefit by continuing to implement his/her efforts with the new security practices that were established.
According to a report from Kaspersky Lab, the average cost of a data breach for small and medium-sized businesses in 2017 was $117,000. While you may not have the means to hire an employee to oversee your company’s cyber defense around-the-clock, a cyber security consultant can still help to keep your company’s information secure and avoid costly data breaches.
Governments and businesses continue to be the target of cyber criminals attempting to steal confidential and proprietary information, such as credit card information, health information or corporate secrets. After an attack, companies and agencies are left struggling to determine and explain just how their data was stolen or compromised. As they work to recover, cyber security experts use these events to emphasize the importance of being prepared for a cyber attack. The one area that continues to be a key concern is creating strong passwords. While everyone knows the importance of this, it is still surprising just how many users remain to use “1234” as a password.
To increase cyber security and help protect you or your company’s digital identity, here are some tips on creating effective passwords:
- Use both alphanumeric and special characters
- Do not base your password on information that is publicly known (i.e., your birthday or spouse’s name)
- Use an untraditional combination of words that only you would remember
- Do not use the same password across multiple programs or websites
- Do not write down your password
Cyber security solution providers know that weak passwords are largely to blame for online security breaches. Hackers have access to a number of tools, such as dictionary-based systems, that are effective in cracking weak passwords. A secure password, however, is one that a hacker cannot easily guess or crack using software tools. While keeping to the tips listed above may seem inconvenient, doing so can protect you and your company or agency from facing extremely compromising situations in the future.
In order for businesses to counter the ever-growing amount of network security risks, having an effective security plan has become increasingly critical. The plan must implement strong IT security tools, and there must be a strategy for emerging threats. You and your team can become part of the detection process by making use of the following tips.
Know how to spot phishing emails
Phishing refers to the practice of sending emails that try to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card information. Most recently, it is designed to spread Ransomware and other malicious threats. While some phishing emails are extremely easy to spot, others require more due diligence in reviewing the email prior to clicking the links or opening the attachments. You can find out what percentage of your employees is susceptible to phishing attempts with our free phishing security test.
Locate unusual activity on your network
This is a cornerstone to identify a potential cyber threat. Unusual activity includes logging into the system after hours, multiple login attempts, or activity from IP addresses that are overseas. Utilizing a logging tool or network access control can assist in reviewing this activity.
Don’t ignore a slow network or computer
Your users should be able to identify when their systems are not working to the level that they are accustomed. Slow networks or machines can indicate trojans or malware that is working behind the scenes. Review your log files from your firewalls to review the network traffic.
Keep software up-to-date
When developers release updated versions of their software, it often includes a security update. You and your team can help to reduce the likelihood of an attack by ensuring all software programs are up to date.
Run a scan on your network
Even with all of the security tools available today, there is a chance that you may already be compromised. Running a compromise assessment can proactively discover the presence of active or dormant threats that may have evaded your organization’s security defense.
As a business owner, it’s important to recognize if or when you may lose confidence in your organization’s defenses against cyber attacks. If this sounds familiar, it’s likely time to seek a cyber security consulting service. But how do you know if you’re choosing an organization that is truly qualified? Here are some key questions you should ask when hiring a network security consultant.
What experience does your team have with IT security?
While many cyber security consultants have spent the time to bulk up their resumes with impressing-looking credentials and accreditations, this does not equate to having real-world experience. Rather than what they would do in a potential situation, ask for specifics on what they have done for real clients in the past. If you’re looking for an IT support specialist with a strong understanding of cyber security, they should be able to safeguard your company from all cyber-attacks while maintaining data integrity.
What is my company’s most significant security risk?
By asking this question, you can determine if the consultant is using buzzwords of today’s cyber threats or if they truly understand the risks that your particular organization would be privy to. Each organization is different, and as such, the risks may be different as well.
What communications can I expect during the process?
Some cyber security consulting companies do not want to provide the details of their work, nor discuss with the client baseline results as they progress. Communication is key to ensuring that the consultant is working with your best interest in mind. With a lack of communication, you will likely be disappointed by the results. Rather, ensure that you work with the consultant in providing a statement of work with definitive baselines, as well having them discuss methodologies and procedures. Above all else, remember to ask questions.
While most of us can spot the most obvious of phishing emails – what happens when it looks like an email came from a trust employee within your own organization.
It is becoming increasing more difficult to spot malicious emails, however by training your staff on what to look for you can reduce the chances of becoming a victim. Security awareness training is not a one off – lunch and learn series – but rather a continuous training method. The training should focus on not just how to spot phishing email, but also texts, as well as safe browsing.
You can run a quick check to see how many would be susceptible to a phishing email by performing a free phish test, in addition you can perform a domain spoof test to see if threat actors can spoof an email within your domain.
Contact us for more information on security awareness software.