It Takes One Weak Link for Hackers to Gain Access

It Takes One Weak Link for Hackers to Gain Access

We are in a constant war against hackers, day in and day out as we find new measures to protect ourselves, hackers are already a step ahead of us. This conundrum can seem frustrating and endemic as individuals now have to be mindful of what they do online. Beyond the annoying and at times childish measures individuals have to take in order to avoid hacking, there lies a very dark consequence to not adequately be protected from possible hackers. As an individual there are a number habits that can be built in order to become essentially hack proof. The main problem is that the most desirable targets for hackers are not individuals but companies.

Time and again, it has been seen on news outlets where countless companies had been victims of hacking and not only that, but have had customer information leaked. Companies such as Bupa and Three have both been targeted by this particular strategy where their customer databases were hacked and scores of information including credit card numbers, names, and pins were leaked. Even online companies which have to be more tech savvy in order to prevent hacks, are being successfully attacked by hackers. Amazon which is the largest e-commerce company in the world was hacked and as a result had 80,000 customer ID’s leaked in one of their latest security breaches. Unfortunately no business is safe and businesses both large and small are just as likely to be targeted by hackers. According to a survey done by PwC of 9,600 IT executives, 41% had experienced security breaches within a one year span. These breaches were not benign either as roughly 37% of those breaches cost the companies financial losses. Monetary gain isn’t the only thing that hackers will target a company for either. On occasion companies will be hacked simply to be blackmailed or to be given specific orders like with what happened to dating site, Ashley Madison which was hacked under the pretense to have it permanently closed with customer data being held as ransom.

Hackers are ruthless and will stop at nothing to get a hold of any information that may seem profitable or strategic to find their own ends. Any way in, any weak link is all it takes to be targeted immediately, and because of the many dangers that hackers pose and their unpredictability, it is an absolute necessity to be at the ready in order to prevent all possible security breaches regardless of how small or big the business is. Prevention is key and it is better to implement safe practices than to try to salvage company information after an attack. Here are a few proven techniques that will fortify your business and remove all possible weak links that could be taken advantage by hackers.

Employee Personal Devices

One of the most vulnerable points in business security comes from employee personal devices. Personal devices such as company phones, tablets, laptops, etc. can be docking stations for malware which can affect much more than the personal device. These devices can potentially work their way in to the corporate network depending on the malware and your levels of security. The biggest issue with personal devices is that the employees don’t have to be consciously aware that they are putting the company at risk. Many employees will unwittingly download apps and programmes that may seem like they could potentially be used for work but realistically add a liability to the company. Apps, especially free apps can prove to be a double edge sword as they can harbour ads and other gateways into unprotected territory in the platforms. The best way to counteract these weak links is to create company policy that focuses on preventing downloads of apps that have not been previously evaluated. Having a list of helpful optional apps that have been proven to be safe is a good approach to keep malware at bay. Company policy isn’t enough however and other additional measures would have to be implemented in the cases where protocol is being ignored. A worthwhile investment would be to purchase web protection software that strategically blocks all irrelevant websites or apps unless that are specifically unblocked. It’s better to block even benign platforms as long as you make sure that every personal device is safe.

Awareness Training

It’s extremely important to make sure that employees are fully aware of what they’re doing and the possible consequences that may ensue if they do not follow company protocol. While firewalls and specific software is very effective to prevent malware, nothing beats employee cooperation and with awareness, even more disasters can be avoided. There are many tactics that hackers use in order to gain access to company information and surprisingly, one of the most common tactics used is to extract it from unwitting employees. Regular training sessions given to employees can be used to help employees identify possible customers and hackers. It is important for employees to know how to spot differences and to catch any possible errors in order to keep information from being accidentally leaked to people outside of the organisation.

Hire specialists

Sometimes it’s not enough to train the workforce when leaks are being hemorrhaged from the server. It’s also not enough to just rely on IT as there are many variables and elements that can be overlooked by even the best teams. Hiring specialists is the best value to cover all of the possible holes in the company’s network. Another advantage is that cyber security consultants can instill workplace culture with IT in order to create a much more knowledgeable environment to further cement network safety.

Find your most vulnerable/valuable assets

A way to safeguard your company but at the same time be intelligent about spending is to focus on the most sensitive information and protect it. There are many aspects of the company that undoubtedly have to be secured but by strategically analysing the companies most vulnerable and valuable assets, then other preventive measures can be effectively taken to secure the rest of he company’s information.

Implementing strong authentication for everything

Security at the smallest level is extremely important. Although most employees do not have access to the highest levels of company information, they do have access to sensitive sales information. Double encryption is a great measure to prevent hackers from gaining access to to someone’s account. By setting up every employee with a two-step process to log on to the server, then even stolen company devices could become impossible to hack. A two-step process where employees have to authenticate logins via SMS can greatly reduce risk.

Cloud Service

Because everything runs on the cloud, businesses have been able to take advantage of this quick and easy way to move storage and services. This is why it makes it so dangerous for companies. It is essential to find the correct cloud service for your security needs to keep information safe. The Cloud Controls Matrix is an excellent place to see the most adequate services which conform to your security needs.

Whether you have a large or small company, cyber security should always be a priority and any methods that you can use in order to prevent breaching are an investment worth having to protect future endeavours.

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