[Editor’s note: Today’s guest post comes to us from the Philippines, where author Vlad de Ramos is working to raise awareness of IT and hacking-related issues.]
With news of company data breaches circulating the internet for years, along with passwords and personal information posted online for sale without the company owners knowing it, IT security seems to be the wisest option.
Both LinkedIn and Neteller have been victims of data breach, and it cost them millions of hacked accounts and plummeting stocks. Not only did they lose security details to hackers, but they also lost the trust of their subscribers.
Companies are Clueless
Up until recently Chief Information Security Officers didn’t exist and some companies still don’t have one. In the past IT security was not a priority, as the main responsibility of the IT department is to ensure that all systems are operating smoothly. This left gaping holes in the company’s IT infrastructure that hackers could exploit.
Many businesses have learned their lesson with the increasing incidents of expensive data breach cases. In response, many vendors have crafted anti-malware and anti-virus programs to answer the increasing need for cybersecurity.
Unfortunately, hackers are also increasingly becoming sophisticated. As the Bangladesh heist has taught us, hackers are fully capable of launching cross-border schemes that look like a possible Ocean’s Eleven reboot.
More importantly, companies wouldn’t know that they’ve been hacked until their data is leaked online. Hackers can completely wipe off the traces of their activities and simply hold on to the stolen assets. They would totally have no clue about what happened until of course, the hacker decides to do something.
Mitigation: The Answer to Cyberattacks
You cannot entirely keep your company from getting attacked by hackers, as they have the most sophisticated hacking tools for any IT security. Then again, you can take your chances with mitigation. While a hundred percent safety may not be achieved, you can, at least, reduce the risks of a company data breach.
The most important thing that you can do is to fortify your network access against cyber attacks. By using the latest security protection system and updating such protection from time to time, you can mitigate the chances of getting hacked. Invest in anti-malware and anti-virus tools that have analytics capabilities to spot threats and identify patterns.
Further, you cannot bank on just one type of protection. Consider that hackers will always find new ways to infiltrate your system.
It would help to limit your exposure to cloud computing, mobile apps, and online networks as well where personal information could be exposed to hundreds of other users. Install security services and data scanners to ensure that your business and company data are protected. Implement protocols to specify user level access.
Research and investigation are effective ways to mitigate cyber attacks. Through malware analysis and digital forensics, you can identify early on if hackers are trying to break through your defenses. Ethical hacking and penetration testing also reveals vulnerabilities that you may not now. Most of the time, companies don’t fully know their weakspots until someone has already found and exploited them.
On the other hand, managing too many security devices can be costly and counter-productive for your company. You need a streamlined and more manageable solution to cyber attacks, while your IT security team should identify the right solution to the problem instead of trying out too many data security tools at once.
Contacting experts for risk management will help you devise a strategy against threats. You can discuss with your IT security team some factors before you proceed to purchase and install devices. There are IT service providers who also help build policies and procedures to help train your staff. More often than not, their innocent mistakes – like weak passwords used across different platforms – are the ones who put your organization at risk. You can invest in the most sophisticated tools, but you can’t stop people from getting complacent or careless. In fairness, it’s not always entirely their fault. Social engineering is still so effective that phishing scams are one of the top causes of malware hacks.
Businesses, regardless of size, should look within and beyond their IT infrastructure to build a solid IT security strategy.
The threat is real, and there may be no stopping all these hackers. But, one thing is for sure: you can discourage them from trying to break into your systems. Mitigation is the best remedy for data breach because it keeps you informed, protected, and alert, so you will never be clueless again.
Vlad de Ramos has been in the IT industry for more than 22 years with focus on IT Management, Infrastructure Design and IT Security. Outside the field, he is also a professional business and life coach, a teacher and a change manager. Vlad has set his focus on IT security awareness in the Philippines and he is a certified information security professional, a certified ethical hacker and forensics investigator and a certified information systems auditor.