IT security threats cause businesses to lose billions every year in the form of stolen information, ransomware, and customer data breaches. In addition to the hard costs of fines and the need for IT staff to fix problems, there’s also considerable reputational damage. A serious IT security problem can hurt a brand’s reputation beyond repair. Thankfully, firms can reduce their exposure to IT security threats by following several best practices. While eliminating all threats is impossible, by partnering with a reputable IT services firm, using the latest tech, and training employees, companies can greatly increase their IT resilience. Here are three majority IT security issues impacting businesses, and tips for the ways an IT solutions provider can mitigate security threats:
- Preventing Phishing. As the name implies, “phishing” attacks mean an attacker snoops around and finds an opening. These attacks target people, who are always the weakest link of an IT security plan. Attackers use social engineering to trick people to share confidential information about the company, whether it’s network passwords, data about competitors, or other information that can prove damaging. Phishing attacks typically come via emails (but also SMS messaging) that mimic a reputable email from a legit source. The email might have the look and feel of a Bank of America or PayPal message, but it’s fake and contains links that can give hackers a direct route to the recipient’s login credentials. Some phishing schemes involve asking people for their login data, through for example a professional-looking form.
Stopping these attacks requires IT to train staff on the risks, teaching them how to spot phishing, and the steps they should take if they feel they were duped. IT security teams can also put in place monitoring and filters to better catch phishing content and ideally stop these messages before they reach an employee.
- Taken for Ransom. After hackers gain access to IT systems, they often hold the company’s data for ransom. They do this by encrypting content, so it’s unreadable without the encryption key. They ask for payment in order to decrypt the information, otherwise they might render it useless or release the information to the public. These actions are especially harmful when the hackers hold personal information such as social security numbers or credit card data.
Stopping ransomware attacks requires a number of strategies. Users should follow best practices for creating and using strong passwords, avoiding phishing schemes, not sharing their login credentials, and other efforts. The organization needs strong firewalls to block intruders, and put in place web filtering to stop users from accessing sites that might contain malware. Companies can back up their data to the cloud and segment their networks, so they don’t risk their entire operation if a ransomware attack occurs. They can also keep the most valuable data in a separate private cloud, making it harder to access. This is a job for an IT specialists firm, who can help companies manage risk and pick the best cloud and on-premises storage options for optimal security.
- Don’t get Caught in a Botnet. Botnets are a collection of devices connected to the internet that use malware to find other vulnerable devices. A hacker harnesses the computing power of a large number of devices to forward spam emails or create the needed traffic for denial-of-service attacks. Companies have multiple strategies for preventing botnet attacks. They can use monitoring to spot any odd network activities, while also keeping the OS updated so it includes the latest patches and protections. Phishing schemes can play a role in creating a botnet exploit opening, so IT security teams should remind employees to exercise caution and delete any suspicious emails. There are also several tools available that block bot-based viruses such as the latest antivirus programs that continually compile and check against the latest threats.
Managed IT solutions, such as those offered by Visual Edge IT can help companies mitigate IT security concerns. We’re an industry leader in office equipment and managed services, and help our clients to spot and manage security risks proactively and effectively. Complete our contact form at our Contact Us Page, or call 800-336-1642 to learn more about our expert IT security solutions.
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