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10 Actionable Tips for Safeguarding Organization from Cyberattacks in Digital World

Posted by: MK CS Team
Category: Uncategorized
cybersecurity

In 2014, hackers acquired root access to JP Morgan Chase’s database and stole important information like name, address, and card details. The data breach impacted over 76 Million users and became one of the biggest data breaches in the history of mankind. On further introspection by experts, it was discovered that hackers were inside the system for more than 3 months.

Another data breach that impacted 100 Million users occurred because three former employees had access to the database. The former employees of Capital One successfully accessed and sold social security numbers and bank details of over 100 Million people.

The growing cases of attacks and data breaches have coaxed organizations to study the causes and work on the root. Varied studies by reputed organizations and independent individuals have highlighted that all breaches occur because of: 

  • Internal attempts
  • Former employees trying to exploit access
  • Ransomware attacks
  • Phishing attempts 
  • DDoS attacks

Actionable Tips for Safeguarding Organizations from Cyberattacks 

1. Start with Antivirus

The first towards building a robust and secure environment is to contain all existing threats. Antivirus is designed to protect against all existing threats hence by investing in it, businesses are taking requisite measures. 

Antivirus also cater to incidence threat management and alerts every user about a potential breach. Some of the additional benefits of using an antivirus:

  • It ensures all drivers are up-to-date and in sync with the security patches
  • Alert users about the old security patches that need immediate attention
  • Informs the user about external devices or codes trying to steal information
  • Creates an automatic report that highlights the use of data point by varied source
  • Alerts the IT team about new threats doing round on the internet
  • Provides instant protection against growing threats. 

2. Ensure Restricted Access to Data Centers

90% of data breaches occur because of errors committed by internal employees. Often employees fail to adhere to the norms, which leads to breaches but there are cases of intentional sabotage. Employees motivated with altered motives can impact the cybersecurity of an organization. Often employees are bought by the competitor to carry out such attacks. 

By ensuring restricted access to data centers, enterprises can set responsibility and create a sense of fear of getting caught in employees. Here are the other benefits of having a restricted access system:

  • It sets accountability and creates a sense of fear, which keeps employees from overstepping
  • Instantly highlights changes made by an employee, which can be used to identify the potential hacker.
  • Allow organizations to identify methods through which employees can impact data security. 

3. Train Employees in Secured Coding Practices

A recent study revealed “95% of all data breaches occur due to human error”, the same study also suggested that following a set of standard practices can reduce such hacks by 65%. Organizations with a huge employee base are more prone to errors that lead to attacks because of the sporadic arrangement of teams and lack of communication between them.

Some of the most important secure coding practices to adhere to are:

Validate incoming mails: Ensure all emails are from genuine sources and free of risk-averse files or codes. 

Secure servers physically and virtually: Deploy the best of security on the physical as well as the virtual front. Make use of relevant anti-virus packages and protect the entire IT infrastructure from getting compromised.

Role-based access control: Restrict movement of certain employees beyond a certain point. Allow only high-authority employees with free access.

Train and test: Vulnerabilities will continue to exist until and unless you test voraciously and remove all obscurities.

Multi-factor authentication system: With remote working the chances of an imposter trying to get in the system increases, with a multi-factor authentication system, organizations can reduce such events. 

4. Identify & Fulfil Necessary Compliances

The best way of tackling hackers and boosting confidence among users to shop without worries is to get compliant. By getting certified from various agencies that work to protect users from data breaches and identity theft, e-commerce stores can function under a safety blanket.

Some of the top compliances and purpose they fulfill are:

PCI DSS: Getting PCI DSS Certified is a tedious task that involves companies complying with the 12 commandments. The 12 requirements ensure that cardholders’ data is stored behind a protected wall. The certification also ensures that a proper log of anyone who accesses these data is maintained. By getting PCI DSS Compliant, businesses can offer customers the much-needed respite and experience a boost in online payments. Failing to furnish PCI DSS compliance can make companies liable for a fine of $5000-$100,000.

ISO 27001: By getting ISO 27001 certified, e-commerce stores can encourage popular brands to get in business with them. This one certification can help e-commerce marketplaces expand their roots like never before.

HIPAA: The increasing number of online stores offering home delivery of medicines at an affordable number has simplified lives. While the common people are rejoicing the newfound alternative, governments from around the world are worried.

With private entities acquiring access to the personal data of patients, governments worry that businesses will jeopardize people’s health for minimal profits. Since e-commerce stores rely on third-parties for storing users’ data, governments are further worried about getting these data accessed by the enemy of the state and using it as a tool to spread the epidemic.

5. Review Your Security Requirements and Compliances Quarterly

PCI DSS Council which comprises players like VISA and MasterCard consistently reviews security advancements and challenges. Based on the study, PCI Council releases updates every 3 months, these updates need to be implemented to avoid any kind of data breach.

No matter if you are furnishing compliances year after year, you are required to conduct a survey every quarter and submit the details to the PCI council. Even if you are a small organization that doesn’t receive payments through cards, you should conduct and report changes to help PCI Council release a better update.

Here’s how quarter surveys ensure protection against hacks:

  • It ensures all former employee ids are deleted and accesses are revoked.
  • It informs about obsolete software packages
  • It provides an update about the performance of hardware and its compatibility with the software package. 
  • Allows organizations to identify attempts of internal sabotage.

6. Outsource Cybersecurity to an Industry Leader

Uber, Yahoo, Quora, and Facebook were once used by hackers for their gains. Such tech giants have failed to put hackers at bay, which proves that every organization is vulnerable, and the only way out is robust monitoring.

Through managed security services, enterprises can cut the cost to half while taking security to the maximum level. MSSPs are offering round-the-clock scrutiny at a fraction of the cost required to build an in-house team of security experts. With MSSP, enterprises can save heavily on the payroll of an in-house team without compromising on the security of the running projects.

Vulnerability testing and compliance audits help corporations function within the allowed limits saving them from hefty fines. Compliance failure can cost businesses a lot of money and brand reputation as well.

7. Conduct Cybersecurity Week and Create Awareness

Awareness is the key to reducing hacking-events and eliminating threats in their initial stage. When every employee is trained to identify and report hacking events, it gets easier for organizations to protect themselves from bigger challenges.

Businesses can collaborate with industry leaders and conduct training programs for their employees. By getting employees trained for secured coding practices, businesses can cut on their vulnerability management costs and still be able to protect themselves from potential threats. 

Additional things organizations can do to create awareness:

Push Safety Mails: Creatives, infographics, and newsletters are a great way of increasing awareness among the employees. Organizations can subtly train the employees for incidence response with these collaterals.

Conduct Quizzes: Allow your employees to demonstrate their cybersecurity expertise and get rewarded for it. Create a quiz with basic questions related to awareness and check the preparation at executive levels. 

Have Cybersecurity Marshals/Mascots: A very new measure being adopted by organizations of all sizes. With a cybersecurity mascot that roams through the premises and alerts employees about the violations. This can be related to mobile devices in the production area and punching of id cards. 

8. Create and Store Resolute Back-ups

Disaster recovery is concerned with the restoration of data to ensure the system is live and functioning at the earliest. Disaster recovery comes into effect after a disaster. With resolute backup, organizations can avoid maligned brand reputation and keep up with the needs of customers.

Two important elements of creating and restoring a backup are the Recovery Point Objective and Recovery Time Objective. 

Recovery Point Objective: RPO can be defined as the maximum age of a process or data that a company must store in backup to ensure normal functioning. RPO is also commonly referred to as the minimum frequency of backup a company must store.

Recovery Time Objective: It is the maximum time an organization can wait to recover files and resume normal functionality. Once the recovery time objective is over, enterprises cannot recover files. RTO is commonly referred to as the maximum downtime a company can afford. If a company’s downtime goes past its RTO, it will start losing business and start incurring a loss.

9. Install Filters on Browsers

Adding filters on browsers work like dedicated security guards, these filters identify and highlight dangerous mails and files to an expert. Since these filters are automated, they work round the clock and ensure all obscure mails are reported instantly.

Some of the additional benefits of installing filters:

They help create a better security system: Once a pattern is identified, the organization can add it to their literature and train their employees. A detailed report when analyzed and implemented can help organizations achieve greater security. 

Stops Threats from Becoming Tangible: With messages flashing on top of every mail coming from an unknown source, employees get alert and do not necessarily download files from such mails. By stopping employees from downloading mails these filters are helping avoid threats from becoming tangible. 

10. Create an Incidence Response System

All these filters, awareness, and mascots are good but organizations need to have a professional system in place that caters to incidents immediately. More than a team, organizations need a system through which such incidents can be reported and handled immediately.

Here’s what it takes to build an Incidence Response System

A centralized system: Every employee needs to be on the same platform to ensure an effective incidence response system. With one employee flagging an unprecedented development, the entire employee base will become alert and stop the threat from growing. 

An incidence response team: A well-trained team of cybersecurity professionals continuously monitoring mails from external sources and catering to the security needs of employees. 

A team to look after the hardware: Often hackers try to attack the servers directly and it occurs mostly with organizations that use shared hosting. By having a team looking after the main hardware responsible for storing data, organizations can stop all kinds of attacks no matter how big or small it is. 

Final Thoughts

23%of businesses never test their business continuity plan and almost 93% of them go bust within one year of suffering disaster or cyber-attack. With cloud storage becoming popular among enterprises, businesses have found a new way of safeguarding themselves against natural disasters but the threats from cyber-attack are still prevalent.

These actionable tips will help organizations get over challenges and successfully build a system that protects employees, data, and servers against all kinds of existing and upcoming threats. 

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