European Cyber Security Month may be coming to an end, but the valuable information and resources shared over the past four weeks will allow individuals and organisations to protect themselves moving forwards.
Here at BCN Group, we like to use European Cyber Security Month as a platform to help our partners better understand cyber security, the threats their businesses face and how they can protect themselves.
Of course, while Cyber Security Month is a great way of driving awareness, it must be remembered that cyber security should be an on-going consideration and remain front of mind for the other eleven months of the year.
This is because cyber security is constantly evolving and new threats emerging.
A new generation of threats
These new cyber threats take many forms, usually closely linked to the ever-changing ways businesses and individuals interact with technology.
Perhaps the most topical is the issue of data breaches, which can occur in the following ways:
- Phishing scams – hackers pose as other people in a bid to obtain passwords and sensitive information
- Lost devices – laptops left on trains and memory sticks that fall out of handbags are just two ways devices can fall into the wrong hands
- Human error – it is not uncommon for employees to send emails with sensitive attachments to the wrong people
- Mislaid documents – papers containing sensitive data such as bank account details are often left on desks where they can be read by unauthorised personnel
The recent introduction of GDPR has placed data security at the top of the agenda for most organisations, while also making ordinary users more aware of their rights.
Then there is cloud security. The vast majority of organisations have transitioned to cloud storage in some form. While this brings a number of benefits related to cost, speed and capacity, it has also raised issues around safety.
The risks with cloud storage are broadly the same as traditional data storage methods, so it is important to properly vet third-party cloud service providers and carry out proper due diligence – key things to consider are whether the data is secure and encrypted.
What’s more, our homes and offices are becoming increasingly connected, but the Internet of Things revolution must be accompanied by devices with in-built security provisions.
Elsewhere, last year’s WannaCry attack highlighted the potential devastation that can be caused by malware spread by worms.
The attack targeted computers running on the Microsoft Windows operating system and was spread through an exploit in the programme.
Microsoft had issued patches, but a large number of organisations had failed to apply the patch or were running on older Windows systems passed their end of life.
Securing the future of technology
This list of cyber security threats may make you want to unplug from the world, but businesses - not to mention individuals - can effectively protect themselves via a combination of education and best practice.
Of course, organisations of all shapes and sizes – from multi-national corporations to local law firms – absolutely must have security protocols in place.
Multi-layer security covering both cloud and on-premise IT systems is recommended, but firms should also take time to plan how to react to a breach, so as to maintain business continuity.
While the best protection systems can be easily rolled out across your organisation, it is worth remembering that the majority of security breaches are the result of human error.
Your team should be fully engaged with your security plan, and businesses must take the time to educate them.
This involves all employees being familiar with and able to identify basic security attacks such as phishing for passwords, bank details or access to files.
Security protocols must chime with the culture and practices of your organisation; there is no use only locking down your office computer network if most employees login via personal devices.
Start with the basics:
- Are employees aware of the importance of good password management?
- Do they always lock devices when they step away from their desk?
- Is anti-virus software regularly updated and are important files backed up on a daily, weekly or monthly basis?
These steps may seem common sense to many, but remember not everyone in your organisation is focused on security.
BCN Group can help in this regard. We host regular workshops, publish and distribute simple user guides and can also arrange for our experts to visit your business and speak to staff.
So use the information that has been made available this month to raise awareness among your colleagues, educate on the key issues, and ensure a safe, secure cyber future for your organisation.
That way you can have peace of mind that your business is safe and secure, and that your employees can make use of all the systems available to them with confidence.
If you would like to learn more, please feel free to contact us by clicking the button below.