Cyber Security – How Safe is Your Business?

We all know that cyber-crime is an ever increasing worldwide threat, one with a series of notable incidents occurring throughout 2019, which prove how easily a data breach can affect any organization or establishment.

One of the most memorable hacks that occurred this year must be when Quest Diagnostics, a clinical laboratory announced, “that an unauthorized user had accessed data on nearly 11.9 million patients, including credit card information and social security numbers.”

Another incident we cannot easily forget must have been when the City of Johannesburg was held ransom in October by a group known as the ‘Shadow Kill Hackers’ where they sent them a Bitcoin ransom note which effectively shut down their website and e-services.

These attacks unfortunately occur at any time and therefor, companies should be adopting an holistic approach to protect any and all relevant assets pertaining to their customers and clients with the most advanced malware tools available.

A period of the year that has a notable increase in cyber threats would most certainly be during the festive season. This is a time where companies should implement additional efforts in securing company data.

Many companies shut down for a week or two which leaves data unmonitored for an extended period, leaving valuable assets left at a greater risk of infiltration.

Fortunately, there are a few measures one could put in place before shutting down for the holidays that may help:

Risk Assessment

Ensure a thorough security audit of your IT infrastructure has been done before closing shop. This would usually involve a physical assessment done by penetration testing. A ‘pen test’ involves a professional ethical hacker simulating a cyber attack on your IT system.

You should have a penetration test performed at least once a year, but the period between tests would depend entirely on the nature of your business and your company’s budget.

The Contingency Plan

Things could of course still go wrong and if they do, you need a plan B in place. Having a plan B in place ahead of time ensures a better method of dealing with the attack before it escalates out of control.

Tools and Software

There are several tools and applications out there which could assist you in properly shielding your company from various threats.

The HTTPS protocol enables the delivery of content without interception, a firewall should always be installed, and you should tighten up your access control to the business domain by changing passwords and limiting the amount of login attempts on your website.

If your website was constructed with a CMS (content management system) in place, you may be able to install additional security plug-ins – for example, WordPress would have Wordfence and Bulletproof Security on their CMS plugins list.

Additionally, you should make sure all relative updates are done on all your software applications before you leave for the holidays so that they have the most up-to-date defense in place.

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In Summary

We should all be making sure that we have taken the appropriate steps to properly secure our businesses as cyber-attacks are very real and they aren’t going anywhere (well at least, not yet).

Conduct an audit to ensure your internet security is well equipped, have a great contingency plan ready and use those great available tools and software programs out there to strengthen your website. Lastly, update everything and go on that well-deserved break!

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