Don’t let these network security threats take down your SMB

Don’t let these network security threats take down your SMB

Despite global pandemics, economic crises, and unprecedented natural disasters, cyberattacks remain the most prevalent threat businesses today. Even if a company survives a network breach, all too often the breach still deals damage to the company's productivity and reputation. There are various risks that enable a successful cyberattack, so let's examine some of the more common ones so your organization can be better prepared for them.

Out-of-date security tools

Cybercriminals and cybersecurity organizations are locked in an endless arms race to stay one step ahead of the other. When black hat hackers come up with a new way to attack networks, the white hats work fast to plug the gaps and build new defenses. This is why it is vital that your cybersecurity tools (firewalls, antivirus, email filters, etc.) are kept up to date with the latest patches and upgrades.

The problem is that these tools are updated so frequently that it can be hard to keep up. But failing to do so leaves your network completely open to the new and terrible ways cybercriminals can steal your data and harm your business.

How to mitigate this risk

Your internal IT department and specifically the cybersecurity officer should regularly check for and install new security updates. This can be difficult for SMBs with constrained resources, but the good news is that outsourced cybersecurity services are readily available and affordable, considering the alternative is business-threatening data breaches. These professional services save you from doing tedious patch management processes yourself.

Inadequate or nonexistent network monitoring

A purely reactive defense is not enough against today’s threats. Oftentimes, when malware or cybercriminals manage to gain a foothold into your systems, it’s already too late. By the time you detect their presence, they may have already injected dangerous code, siphoned valuable data from your servers, and disrupted key processes in your business operations.

How to mitigate this risk

The best way to protect your business is to implement preventive and proactive measures. For this, you need specialized network monitoring tools that watch the activity going in and out of your network, and alerts you to anything suspicious.

This real-time intrusion detection can be automated, so you don’t need someone watching a computer screen 24/7, monitoring for attacks. Adequate monitoring tools with regular updates and maintenance can be the most valuable defense you have against modern network security threats.

Social engineering attacks

Movies can make it seem like cybercriminals are using advanced software and clever tactics to force their way through firewalls and other security features to breach a network and steal data. But the reality is, most cybercriminals that make it into a restricted network are let right in the front door, in a manner of speaking. Convincing one of your employees to inadvertently allow access into your network is still the easiest way to get your data.

Most commonly, these attacks are delivered through email. Cybercriminals message your employees, posing as someone from within the company or from a trusted third party in an attempt to obtain login credentials or encourage installation of malware. The classic scam is fake tech support, wherein cybercriminals pose as technicians from Microsoft or another vendor and gain access by promising to fix a fake problem.

How to mitigate this risk

No cybersecurity tool is more effective at stopping social engineering attacks than just teaching your employees how to spot and avoid them. There are countless training programs and materials out there designed to educate your employees on the nature of social engineering attacks that you can leverage, and training should be done annually. To get started, ask your IT services provider about employee cybersecurity training.

Your SMB might not have the internal resources to deal effectively with cyberthreats, but that doesn’t mean all is lost. Outsourcing your cybersecurity to IT professionals lets you enjoy the cyber defenses that large enterprises do at a price you can afford. If your business is in Southern California, contact the CDS team, and we’ll leverage our 30 years of cybersecurity experience to protect your network from the most dangerous threats.

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