Last year was the worst year to date for cyber attacks, but many predict 2018 will be even worse.
Given how 2018 is going so far, that’s not hard to believe. The frequency of high-profile breaches is only increasing, and the payouts hackers enjoy are getting bigger. In an environment where cybercrime prevention can feel like a losing battle, how can you help your company stay secure?
Don’t let IT security take a beating
Cybercrime is big business, and 2017 was a good year for those making a living as threat actors. The Online Trust Alliance, an arm of the nonprofit Internet Society, released its 2017 Cyber Incident and Breach Trends Report in January, which found that breaches of personal data and cybercrime incidents hit record highs globally.
Among the high-profile victims were Equifax, with a massive breach affecting the personal data of 8,000 Canadians and 145 million Americans; Uber, with its belated reveal that 57 million of its driver and rider records were held ransom by hackers in 2016; and Yahoo!, with its even more belated revealed that its 2013 breach was far worse than originally reported, ultimately affecting 3 billion accounts.
In 2018, the hits just keep on coming. Several high-profile brands disclosed their cybersecurity woes in the first quarter. The big one, of course, was the revelation that big data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica improperly tapped into Facebook to harvest more than 50 million user records as part of its efforts to support the Trump presidential campaign. Expedia-owned travel site Orbitz also announced a data breach that put 880,000 credit cards at risk, and a number of notable regional health organizations in the United States reported compromises of patient records.
Long story short, the state of IT security is concerning, and IT professionals everywhere are up against some scary obstacles. But if you throw in the towel now, the hackers will win. It’s up to you and your team to put the proper defences in place to protect cybersecurity and rebuild it into an impenetrable force, so your company can outlast any hacker onslaught.
Prepare your cybersecurity strategy for war
The first half of the year certainly supports BlackBerry CSO Alex Manea’s belief that 2018 will be the worst year to date for cyber attacks. The primary reason this is the case, which he explained in a blog post earlier this year, is that the fundamental issues that spurred the majority of recent breaches haven’t been addressed.
Increasingly complex networks, new types of endpoints, and more sensitive data that needs protection are putting pressure on IT teams. Meanwhile, legacy systems are still entrenched in many organizations, with well-known software vulnerabilities essentially acting as open doors for hackers.
Manea’s not alone in thinking 2018 will be the year of cyberwar. You need to be prepared to fight battles on your company’s front, and the best defence is often a good offence with the right tools and best practices, including:
- Training: Hackers often target employees, tricking them into clicking on phishing emails or visiting compromising sites. You need to teach everyone about the social engineering tactics they may face. The culture of your organization should encourage every employee to identify and report anything that looks suspicious.
- Outsourcing: Given the complexity of contemporary IT security, outsourcing certain aspects to a dedicated IT managed security services provider means you’re not completely on the hook for knowing about every single threat or vulnerability rearing its ugly head. Managed print services, for instance, will help you shore up your print security, an often overlooked aspect of IT security, and protect your print environment from threat actors who want to compromise it.
- Threat assessments: One of the many services a managed security services or managed print services firm can offer is a threat assessment. They can help you conduct evaluations of your print environment, your BYOD policies, your various cloud services, and even your IoT deployments.
- Backups: If your critical business information is replicated regularly and securely, you won’t risk data loss if a hacker tries to hold it hostage.
- Automation: Even with the resources of an IT security partner, cybercrime prevention can’t succeed if everything needs to be done manually. You can use new tools and services that take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning to give your infrastructure its own intelligent immune system to fight off threats. Having a modern operating system that automatically takes care of some endpoint security issues is also important.
There are plenty of other ways you can reduce risk, but first and foremost, you must internalize the idea that cybercrime prevention is now an essential part of doing business. By adopting a proactive mindset, partnering with managed services, and taking steps to secure your organization, you can emerge from this cyberwar victorious.