Unfortunately, cybercrime is a growing security threat facing everyone in the digital landscape, and it’s never been more imperative that businesses take the appropriate action to thoroughly defend their own data, and that of their customers.
New research shows small businesses in the UK were the hardest hit by cybercrime in 2018, with overall damages reaching £17 billion. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of small businesses were affected by cybercrime, and the average cost of a cyberattack totalled £65,000 in damaged assets, financial penalties and business downtime.
To avoid falling victim to hackers, businesses must start strategising a multi-layered cyber security defence. But what should this look like? In this blog post, we will explore some good options in creating a layered security defence that could work for your business.
A great method of strengthening security is through employing multi-factor authentication. This means users will be required to authenticate themselves more than once via independent processes such as passwords or pins, fingerprints or ID cards. Stealing or forging more than one of these different authenticators makes a hacker’s job significantly more complex.
Being more selective over administrative access and other privileges such as software installation means less avenues and opportunities for malware to exploit vulnerabilities. Also, for those select users with admin access or access to sensitive information, you can employ multi-factor authentication to further decrease the potential for a security breach.
When data is sent, it is at risk of being intercepted and stolen. Encryption ensures the data is encoded using a complex algorithm and effectively rendered useless to any party or individual without the decryption key. Encryption may be used between specific connections or limited to specific sets of sensitive data. An effective decryption key management system is also essential to prevent loss or theft.
Essentially, the function of a firewall is to sit on top of a network and monitor traffic, detect malicious or unauthorised activity and block anything unwarranted that is flagged up. Firewalls are categorised into seven layers, with standard three to four layer firewalls protecting against network level attacks, whereas layer seven Web Application Firewalls (WAF) are more complex and protect against application level attacks.
A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is one of the most common threats in cyber security. Basic attacks aim to disrupt operations by overloading and crashing networks with traffic or requests. More complex DDoS attacks can see hackers disguise themselves as legitimate users and exploit web applications, such as overloading online baskets with products for example. DDoS mitigation platforms can detect and prevent such attacks.
Patches, or code changes, ensure existing applications and software are up to date and not venerable to any security threats. It can be a long and tedious job to identify patches and mitigate them, but it is an essential job as without it, it potentially leaves systems open to be exploited. Smaller businesses may not have the time or resources on-hand to regularly run an efficient patch management solution, and therefore passing this responsibility onto a hosting provider may be a more suitable option.
If a network is distributed and access to its data and applications is spread out or remote, keeping tabs on who has access to everything is increasingly challenging. This is where an intrusion detection solution can help. It monitors networks for anomalies and identifies any potential unauthorised users. Basic IDS’s alert users to intrusions, but more advanced platforms can act against any malicious activity it finds.
A log is effectively a time stamped record, outlining all of the actions carried out on a computer system. Effective log management is an essential component of any security strategy, as it provides complete viability to everything that has happened and allows for complete monitoring of everyone using the system, so any unauthorised action is immediately flagged up. Log management can be atomised through log management software.
We hope this blog post has been helpful and you’ve learned about some of the different options available when formulating an effective cyber security defence strategy. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Image credit: BlueIsland/SamranWonglakorn/Shutterstock.com
Matthew is Secura's content specialist, producing gripping, emotionally complex, edge of your seat, cloud hosting articles and videos.
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