Predictions from 2017 indicate an increase in the number of security breaches facing organizations globally. Leading on from some of the more notable cyber-attacks in 2017, cybersecurity experts anticipate more sophisticated threats targeting weak spots in organizations’ security processes in 2018.

It’s time to be proactive about your business’ cyber security. It is no longer enough to expect that your firewall will remain intact and hope for the best; anticipation of threats, and implementation of best practice procedures for your staff, will help strengthen your online security.

Here are FraudWatch International’s top tips for protecting your business in 2018.

1. DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance)

If you reviewed your typical working day, its a fair bet that most of your time would be spent answering emails. Have you, or one of your employees ever received a spam, or suspicious email? According to studies, over 10% of emails in 2017 were spam, or contained malicious content. Scams are becoming more intelligent, with hackers fraudulently impersonating people and companies in order to strategically target businesses and obtain sensitive data. With these statistics in mind, unsecured email seems like a serious gap in your online security. Enter DMARC. It works by validating emails to detect fraudulent communications, that appear to come from valid domains. It removes the element of human error upon which the creators of phishing scams rely, ensuring only legitimate emails are released. This is not just applicable to large-scale organizations; implementing DMARC is highly recommended for businesses of all sizes. DMARC not only includes monitoring and detection services, but guarantees the fastest removal of malicious content in the industry.

2. Security Awareness

You’ll often hear experts in the security industry say that your employees are the last line of defense against malicious activity, and it’s a popular cliché for a reason. You can have every security measure available in place, but if a malicious communication manages to get through these barriers, your employees must to be able to recognise the threat for what it is.

Cybersecurity education shouldn’t be set and forget, it must to be an ongoing campaign designed to build a sense of awareness and shared responsibility amongst your employees. Sending lengthy, hectoring emails nobody will bother to read is not the way to do this; invest in a concise, stimulating and relevant online course where employees can learn in real time the kind of threats they might encounter in their day to day work. FraudWatch International’s Security Awareness online course will help to build employee confidence and change behaviour by promoting the message that security is a collective responsibility.

3. Periodic auditing – Internal systems as well as vendors

Not unlike regularly servicing your car, periodically assessing your IT security is an essential part of ensuring your security is intact and effective. The threat landscape is evolving daily, and so should your security measures.

Internal systems

While there are measures you can take in-house to ensure your security is effective, such as: up-to-date operating systems, using secure tools with solid protocols, and ongoing employee education just to name a few, nothing beats having an independent company conduct a detailed review of your IT security. Regular audits offer the following benefits:

  • Make sure your security hasn’t already been breached unbeknownst to you – it happens!
  • Cyber security experts are across the latest threats emerging online, and can tweak your security accordingly to remove vulnerabilities
  • It helps to maintain a strong employee focus on online security, and increase awareness of possible threats
  • Show your valued customers that you’re committed to security and are taking steps to ensure their data is protected

Vendor audit

As a business, relationships with trusted vendors are second only to clients in terms of importance. They are integral in helping to shape your brand, and in most cases a close working relationship is key. Accordingly, this relationship is often overlooked when it comes to data security. A contract with a vendor should include provisions as to how they handle sensitive data, and what measures are in place to protect it. Periodic auditing ensures your vendors have the ability to safeguard your data and sufficient security measures in place to protect it.

4. Backups

In the event that something catastrophic happens during the course of your day-to-day business, (a malicious attack, natural disaster or even an update gone horribly wrong), you could find your entire business wiped off the internet for an undetermined period while you rebuild your network from scratch. Having secure, clean, data backed up allows you to react quickly if something goes wrong, and get back online with minimal downtime.

In the event of a malicious ransomware attack, having your data securely backed up takes the power away from cyber criminals. The reason ransomware attacks are so often successful is that the victim often doesn’t have a backup of the stolen data, and will naturally pay to get it back. If you ensure your data is backed-up regularly, there is no need to fear the loss of data.

5. Incident response plan

Speed is key when it comes to managing a security breach. Delays and mistakes only lead to further damage to your business, and risk to your clients. The idea behind a response plan is to outline the measures to be taken in the event of a cyber security incident, and ensure your employees know how to detect and respond to a theat. A good response plan should contain three simple steps:

  1. Detection of a threat
  2. Assessing the threat level, and its corresponding impact on your business
  3. Responding accordingly

In today’s digital landscape, a malicious attack is more of a when than if scenario and it’s a mistake to think it will never happen to you. FraudWatch International can help. From assessment to implementation, our range of services can help to secure your business.

Contact Us today about a review of your security protocols.