data security

Data security in 2021

Over the course of 2021, cyber threats will continue to increase as technology naturally evolves. In recent years, we’ve seen a significant development in technology and working practices. These changes leave plenty of opportunity for businesses to grow and innovate. Unfortunately, they also represent opportunity for cyber criminals to infiltrate our systems and carry out data and financially driven cyber-attacks. In particular, cyber criminals will target businesses who haven’t adapted to advancements in technology and working practices, exploiting the gaps in their cyber security strategies.

In fact, in 2021 cybercrime is predicted to cost businesses approximately £4.27 trillion. To put that into perspective, if cybercrime was measured as a country, it would be the world’s third largest economy!

This will not only cost businesses financially, it will also inflict serious damage on their reputation and brand, causing them to lose members of their valuable customer base. In fact, 59% of consumers say they are likely to avoid companies that have suffered a cyber-attack in the past year. And it makes sense, would you leave your sensitive personal data with someone who doesn’t prioritize data security?

With that in mind, we’ve put together 10 solutions to help keep your data secure in the modern world.

1. Device encryption

Your devices are the key to accessing your confidential data. Think about the number of devices used across your company and the amount of important data stored on them. Are you confident that this data would be protected if any of your devices were lost or stolen?

If your devices did end up in the wrong hands, the consequences could be very serious. For example, cyber criminals can easily sell yours and your clients’ data on the dark web. This would severely damage your valuable client relationships and deter other companies from working with you.

To protect the data on your devices, you can implement Device Encryption, managed by your IT Support partner. Then, if a device is lost or stolen, your IT Support partner can quickly encrypt all data on that device. This will convert all business data into ciphertext, making it completely nonsensical and meaning cyber criminals cannot use it maliciously. Then, if your device is found or returned, all your data can be decrypted, giving you instant access once again.

2. Multi-Factor Authentication

Traditional passwords are no longer secure enough to protect your data. Cyber criminals are continually creating more sophisticated attacks and using more advanced technology. This means that no matter how vigilant your employees are, their password details could still become compromised.

Multi-Factor Authentication will add an extra layer of protection to your passwords, preventing criminals from gaining access. It requires employees to verify their identity in more than one way before being granted access to a device, application, or system. This usually consists of something you know, something you have, or something you are. Typically, employees will be required to firstly type in their password (something they know) and then confirm their identity using an authentication app on their mobile phone (something they have). With Duo (Netstar’s chosen Multi-Factor Authentication app) employees will receive a pop-up when someone has entered their password to login to a system. They can then simply approve or decline the login attempt, without having to enter any lengthy passcodes or wait for a text message to come through. This, therefore, allows you to elevate your password security companywide, without impacting productivity.

3. Cyber security awareness training

The majority of cyber-attacks are caused by human error, simply because employees aren’t educated on what threats are out there and how to deal with them. A sure-fire way to enhance the security of your data is to ensure your team are cyber aware. And it’s easy to do so… You can quickly and easily roll out Cyber Security Awareness Training across your entire company. All employees will then be enrolled in a selection of short, concise training videos that will teach them about real-life attacks and threats. For example, they will pinpoint how to recognise whether an email is from a legitimate sender and whether you should click. Employees will also be required to complete mini quizzes to assess their cyber awareness and ensure they have the skills to tackle potential cyber-attacks. This will prevent cyber-attacks occurring due to human error, enhancing your cyber security.

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4. Password Managers

One of the reasons employees can be such a big risk to your business is because they tend to reuse the same, weak passwords across multiple personal and business accounts. Weak passwords are extremely dangerous. Cyber criminals now have the technology to predict weak passwords and run them against your email addresses until they gain access, leaving your business extremely vulnerable to attack.

The best way to encourage employees to use strong, secure passwords is to introduce a Password Manager. A Password Manager will make it easy for your employees to create, store, and access complex passwords in a secure encrypted vault. In fact, most good Password Managers also include an automatic password generator that will generate secure, complex passwords for them. With Netstar’s Password Manager, employees will also be alerted if their current passwords are too weak. They can then easily identify and amend weak passwords, helping to keep your data secure.

Click here to learn more about Password Managers and how they can help protect your business.

5. Email Security Solution

Most cyber-attacks are carried out through email. Cyber criminals can use viruses, spam, phishing and identity theft via email to gain access to your systems and data. For example, they can use CEO fraud to impersonate senior members of your organisation and trick employees into giving them important financial or personal data. This kind of attack could be detrimental to your business, leading to financial loss, reputational damage, and potential fines from authorities.

An easy way to avoid email-based attacks is to implement an effective Email Security System. This will manage all the emails you receive, filtering out any harmful or unwanted emails before they reach your inbox (e.g. fraudulent emails and spam). These emails will then be quarantined, so you can review all emails that have been blocked and release any that you know are legitimate. Having this in place will massively reduce the risk of a cyber-attack, as well as reducing the amount of spam your employees receive, helping to boost their productivity.

6. Managed Malware Protection

If your employees click on the wrong link or accidentally download malicious content, your data security could be compromised. Having Managed Malware Protection in place will help protect against cyber-attacks such as phishing, malicious links, and hacked legitimate websites. Regardless of whether your employees are working from home, on the go, or in the office, Managed Malware Protection will filter all internet traffic, blocking any potentially harmful links before a connection can be established. This will prevent your employees from accessing malicious websites and content, helping to keep your business secure.

7. Dark Web Monitoring

If your employees are using weak passwords, cyber criminals may have already gained access to them and sold them on the dark web. In fact, even if your employees have always been using secure passwords, their login credentials could still end up on the dark web if websites they’ve been logging into have been hacked. Once your details are on the dark web, they can be sold to people who will use them maliciously, launching a cyber-attack and potentially leaving you with irreparable reputational damage and financial loss.

If you have Dark Web Monitoring in place, it will continually search the dark web for all login credentials associated with your company, e.g. by searching for your email domain name. If any are found, your IT Support partner will be alerted immediately, meaning they can take action to prevent your compromised details from being used maliciously. This will prevent any compromised passwords resulting in a fully executed cyber-attack.

8. Link Protection

How often do your colleagues share links via email? Either with each other or with external contacts? It’s likely that the answer is often, if not every day. Sharing links is an easy and efficient way to direct other people to certain websites, files, forms etc. But, to prevent a cyber-attack, you need to be sure that the links your employees are receiving are always legitimate.

And how do you do this? You implement Link Protection. Link Protection will instantly scan and test all incoming links as they’re clicked. If the link is genuine, employees will quickly and safely be granted access to the relevant site. However, if the link is malicious, they will be blocked from the website and informed that the link is not legitimate. This will prevent your employees from accidentally accessing malicious content and help keep your business protected from phishing emails.

9. Managed Antivirus

Computer viruses and malware are always evolving and becoming more sophisticated, meaning they could be penetrating your devices without you knowing. Standard antivirus software is not enough to protect businesses from this increasing threat. Instead, you need to implement an effective antivirus solution that is managed by a team of experienced IT professionals.

At Netstar, our Managed Antivirus solution is industry leading and known for its extremely high detection rates. It will continuously scan all your devices, identifying and quarantining any viruses quickly and reliably. It’s also really lightweight, so it won’t slow down your devices or impact your productivity. Because it’s fully managed by us, you and your team can continue to work as normal without having to worry about potential viruses.

10. Partner with IT specialists who make cyber security simple

Because there are so many new and evolving threats out there, there are also so many different cyber security solutions that you can implement to protect your business. We’ve listed just a few examples above, but please note that none of these solutions are conclusive. At Netstar, we always recommend a multi-layered approach to cyber security to ensure there are no gaps in your security strategy, maximising the protection of your business.

To help our clients better understand cyber security, we offer them simple and concise cyber security packages that are split into three categories based on the most common threats: Device Security, Employee Security and Email Security. Having cyber security solutions explained in this way has helped our clients understand what threats are out there and what solutions are needed to protect their businesses, as well as offering them better value for money.

If you’d like to discuss how we can simplify your cyber security strategy and help to keep your data secure, please get in touch today.

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