Security Safeguards: How can you increase security during malware uncertainty?

Between the recent, multi-country spread of the WannaCry ransomware attack in May 2017, to the smaller but no less disruptive Petya, or NotPetya, attacks in June 2017, organizations all over the globe are looking at methods to increase cybersecurity to reduce vulnerability and exposure to cyber-attacks. For instance, in 2016, worldwide spending on security-related services, software and equipment increased to $73.7 billion and is expected to continue to rise.

So, with all this hacking uncertainty, what can you do to protect your company from attack? Aside from investing in security services and programs, there are several measures that your on-the-ground staff and employees can do to help slow an attack or pre-empt a cyber-threat. Here are four common-sense tips your company can leverage to increase security.

  1. Caution, and education, is key. While everyone knows that hacking is a main concern in business this year, some of your employees might not know what they can do to help – or hurt – security efforts. Keeping your teams up-to-date on the latest hacking news and trends could help them spot a harmful attack sooner. Plus, quick reminders not to open emails from unknown sources and other simple tricks can go a long way to getting everyone at your company on the same page when it comes to preventing attacks.
  2. Stay up to date. Since the WannaCry attack, Microsoft has released a patch that fixed vulnerabilities in their programs. However, updates like the patch and other security measures only work if you are using them! Be sure that your systems are constantly updating, and be on the lookout for new software versions that address security weaknesses. Encourage the rest of your organization to do the same. We rarely want to take time out of our day to restart our computer and download new versions, but sometimes this simple step can mean the difference between security and catastrophe.
  3. Encrypt, encrypt, encrypt. As we can see with recent trends in Ransomware attacks, hackers might be more interested in getting money than getting your data, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t protect it. Devices and programs should encrypt files in real-time for maximum security. You get bonus points if your device uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).
  4. Get street-smart about BYOD. Everyone has their own device preferences, so don’t stop your employees from BYOD – just make sure they’re being smart. For instance, installing a tracking app can help you find a missing device if it’s left in a cab, etc. Further, creating a PIN code can help stop unauthorized users from accessing material, and keeping files and documents backed-up on the cloud will keep data within reach even if a device goes missing.

Unfortunately, at the end of the day, hacks happen. However, as we saw with WannaCry, it just takes one person to stop the spread.  By keeping your company up-to-date and using simple, common-sense best practices, you can help protect your organization from an attack.

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