Three Layers of Cybersecurity Keeping your business protected and safe from all different kinds of threats can seem overwhelming. It seems like there’s always something new to think about, plan, and implement. One thing that may seem like a constant worry is cybersecurity, and related planning to keep your business secure. Thinking of a cybersecurity plan for your business is actually very important, because cyberattacks are on the rise, especially for businesses with less than 250 employees. But it’s also important to be knowledgeable about the different layers of cybersecurity, and how they can further protect your organization from unsolicited attacks and hackers. Technology Layer Your organization is dependent on your data. Making sure your data is protected with the right hardware and software tools is essential. In order to help keep it safe and secure from data breaches and attacks, consider these two options: Implement essential technology services. Services such as anti-virus, firewall protection, network monitoring, and wireless security are all extra layers of defense that help give you state-of-the-art protection. Having a network that is protected behind a firewall and an elaborate network system is becoming a necessity, and can be the difference between being hacked and being safe. Encrypt your data. To ensure maximum protection, it’s a good practice to encrypt your data while in transit and at rest. Encryption renders information unreadable when accessed without proper authorization. Having a process in place that ensures sensitive devices are encrypted and that files and emails are being properly sent is imperative. Personal Layer Identity Theft Protection Did you know that identity theft has been the number one or two consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for 16 years in a row? Being a victim of identity theft affects more than just your credit. It takes all of your information, which can be used at will. This is why data breaches to companies are so harmful, and the company may be liable if this happens. If a company suffers from a data breach and personal information is stolen, it can be a long and stressful process to recover this data. To help with the restoration process, there are identity theft protection services, which can help you monitor your information, accounts, and data for any suspicious activity. These services can also help you recover from a breach. While these services can’t stop a breach from happening, they can help you prepare for one and get you back on your feet. One good example of this is IDShield, which offers a monthly fee to protect your information. Security Policies and Corporate Communications Even though an organization might have the most advanced technology, untrained employees can leave an organization vulnerable to malicious attacks. Using social engineering tactics, cybercriminals rely on human interaction to trick people into breaking normal security procedures. Examples of social engineering attacks include emails that look normal but actually contain hidden links with viruses, pretexting phone calls where the cyber criminal acts like a trusted source and then engages the employee to divulge sensitive information, and searching unlocked trash and recycling bins to discover valuable information that could be used in a future attack. In order to avoid a social engineering incident, organizations must educate their employees, and the three areas below are a good place to start: Have a data security policy (and communicate it). A data security policy should be used to define approved methods to securely transfer or share data and define restricted methods to help stop the use of unsupported or unsafe services and applications. They should include information about email policies, mobile devices, social networking, and internet usage. These policies should be documented, communicated (multiple times), enforced, and periodically reviewed and updated. Understand user agreements. All data hosting services have user agreements that outline their terms and conditions. While these may be arduous to read, it’s important to understand the fine print. You need to be careful you are not consenting to allow the provider to directly access your business data and customer information. Conduct security awareness trainings. Creating a culture around data security can help prevent a lot breaches. One way to start is to make security awareness training a mandatory event for employees. This training should not only show employees the different kinds of cyber and social engineering attacks, but also show them how to thwart the attacks. Give concrete examples of actual threats, and possibly set up a test/false attack to identify employee behaviors and then additional training based on the outcomes. Once employees know how to stop these strikes before they even happen, the risk of a cyberattack decreases, and will validate the criticality of your organization’s data. Insurance Layer Another layer of protection is cybersecurity insurance. This is designed to help you mitigate losses when a cyberattack occurs, and provides protection from the costs associated with: Data theft Extortion Hacking Denial of service attacks Crisis management Legal claims Cybersecurity insurance doesn’t replace your security best practices. However, it can help provide more peace of mind to an organization. While it may not be possible to be fully prepared for a breach, you can take certain steps to alleviate some of the risk involved. Does your organization have a strategy around cybersecurity? Mike Wallen Mike Wallen is a Business Solutions Manager at Aureon Technology. Mike is enthusiastic and passionate about helping small to medium-sized businesses eliminate the hassle, waste, and headaches of all things technology in their business to create a worry-free environment. Mike has 15+ years of experience in IT, with a focus on healthcare, law firms, nonprofits/charity, and general small to medium-sized business. He believes in listening to his clients' needs first, then aligning those business needs with business processes and technology solutions. Mike considers himself a true business efficiency and technology architect. Aureon Technology provides end to end IT and communications solutions and has locations throughout the Midwest including Des Moines, Omaha, and Kansas City. Aureon strives to take care of your technology and back office needs so you can focus on what you do best.