Many Southern Colorado businesses don’t see the value of investing in cybersecurity tools and techniques – until after an attack on their network. As a long-time cybersecurity provider serving Colorado Springs and Denver, Amnet understands small companies’ concerns about the costs of implementing a firm cybersecurity policy.
However, we do not want to see cybercriminals successfully target our fellow small business owners. Below, we outline seven cybersecurity tools and techniques your business needs to continue working securely (and efficiently!).
Firewalls and Antivirus
Why Necessary: On average, hackers infiltrate unsuspecting users’ computers every 39 seconds. As cyber threats evolve, protecting sensitive data should be a top priority. Using the cybersecurity tools and techniques of a firewall and antivirus software is your first line of defense.
Steps To Take Now: Business-class, up-to-date firewalls keep hackers from accessing networks and destroying a business. Off-the-shelf products are not robust enough to ensure you are safe. We recommend that your business subscribes to high-quality, trusted brand solutions.
Pro Tip: Depending on your Microsoft licensing, you may have access to an antivirus solution: Microsoft Defender. Talk to your managed service provider to better understand what you have and what you still need.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Why Necessary: COVID-19 changed the way we connect to our business systems. Now, more than ever, your employees are connecting remotely. Having a VPN is necessary insurance to keep your employees safe online. VPNs protect your network by sending data through an encrypted tunnel. Hackers can’t access the information, and you’re safe from attack.
Steps To Take Now: Start with a secure setup. VPNs are only effective cybersecurity tools and techniques when correctly implemented. Because busy employees are thinking about getting their work done, you want the VPN’s mission-critical processes to run seamlessly and silently in the background without the requirement of user input.
Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) in One of the Simplest Cybersecurity Tools
Why Necessary: Relying solely on passwords to protect your network and critical data creates an opening for a cyberattack. Unless your users have especially strong passwords, you risk an attacker signing in with the username and password of a trusted employee. And even if they have a strong password, data breaches outside your system may make that password obsolete.
However, requiring a second form of authentication increases security because hackers can’t easily obtain or duplicate the additional factor.
Steps To Take Now: At a minimum, every small business should have multi-factor authentication for email. This is one of the most straightforward cybersecurity tools and techniques to implement to avoid phishing scams.
Then decide on the method of requiring your users to use MFA, and create a pilot group to test methods of MFA. Once the test group has worked out the kinks, inform your team that you will be implementing MFA, and then train them on how to use the technology to keep your company safe.
Pro Tip: Hiring a multi-factor authentication service provider like Amnet can make implementing MFA easy!
Why Necessary: While firewalls are a great starting place, they are not a bulletproof solution for cybersecurity. Cybercriminals continually find new ways to infiltrate your network security. Every day, you need to successfully fend off attacks. This requires comprehensive, dynamic cybersecurity tools and techniques, like an intrusion detection system (IDS).
IDS triggers notifications when suspicious inbound and outbound traffic is detected. Once alerted to a threat, you can quickly investigate the issue and resolve the matter before a criminal can steal your data or infect your systems with malware.
Steps To Take Now: Configure your chosen IDS solution to meet your specific needs. For instance, with Global IP address filtering, you can filter inbound and outbound traffic by geographic region. You can block IP addresses by excluding specific geographic regions. If you need to allow traffic from legitimate businesses from banned regions, you can allow (or “whitelist”) specific IP addresses.
Endpoint Security and Data Encryption
Why Necessary: The WiFi at a coffee shop, airport, hotel, or even in your home office is less secure than your in-office network. You need to mitigate threats wherever your employees and their devices happen to be at any given moment. This is where the cybersecurity tools and techniques of endpoint security and data encryption save the day. Security controls, like the ability to wipe data from devices and limit access, prevent information from falling into the wrong hands.
Steps To Take Now: Data breaches or stolen devices can result in identity theft, lost data and a downfall in revenue. Don’t let this happen to your business. Protect yourself by implementing a robust endpoint security solution, reviewing and testing your endpoint security plan, and completely encrypting business and client data https://www.amnet.net/penetration-testing/n devices. Finally, ensure that corporate data is never stored locally on mobile devices.
User Awareness Programs and Training Sessions
Why Necessary: Human error is the leading cause behind most cyber breaches. Taking the time to conduct training and provide a cybersecurity guide for your employees is the least expensive, most effective way to reduce your risk exposure.
Steps To Take Now: Use practical, hands-on exercises and penetration testing. Take advantage of training, either videos or quizzes, to create an awareness campaign on cybersecurity in your organization.
At the same time, educate your employees on their vital role in complying with the organization’s standards. Once your team knows what shape a threat will take and their responsibility to prevent them, they stop being a threat and become cyber smart assets.
Adopt a Cyber Standard
Why Necessary: The idea that businesses need to adopt and adhere to a cyber standard, like those recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST), is gaining a foothold in many industries.
Cyber compliance standards are regularly updated based on the latest threats, so the controls are dynamic to mitigate today’s cyber risks. The protections range from simple (like having access control on your server room door) to sophisticated (such as the solutions mentioned above).
Steps To Take Now: At Amnet, we recommend our clients adhere to NIST standards because they enhance our security and make obtaining cyber insurance easier. If you are not yet ready for cyber standards, prioritize cybersecurity tools and techniques that will protect your business, and then make a long-term plan for any regulations you need to comply with now or in the future.
Start Implementing These Cybersecurity Tools and Techniques Today
With Amnet’s time-tested approach to cybersecurity tools, you can take control of your security plan, meet IT goals and keep your spending in check. Call us right now. We’ll schedule a time to conduct a network and technology assessment and help you decide what approach works best for your organization. Schedule your network assessment and consultation with Amnet today.