Posted by Tyler Chancey, GCFA on

Tyler Chancey is a seasoned cybersecurity professional currently serving as the Director of Cyber Security at Scarlett Cybersecurity Services, With a solid foundation in Computer Software Engineering from the University of Florida, Tyler holds a repertoire of certifications that underscore his expertise. These include the prestigious Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert and Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate, showcasing his mastery in Microsoft's enterprise solutions. Tyler's commitment to comprehensive security is further evidenced by his CompTIA Security+ certification, demonstrating proficiency in core cybersecurity principles. Additionally, his GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA) credential attests to his advanced skills in forensic analysis—an invaluable asset in today's complex cybersecurity landscape. Tyler's dedication to staying at the forefront of industry standards is evident in the active pursuit and maintenance of these certifications, making him a trusted authority in the field.

How to Prevent Cybersecurity Attacks

Companies and organizations can easily fall victim to a cyber attack. There’s no denying that attackers are constantly finding new ways to breach sensitive information. Whether it’s a government, educational, health, bank, or law firm, every entity can be a target. These are a few of the reasons why preventing cybersecurity attacks is critically important.

Preventing your company from a cybersecurity attack involves a lot of solid methods. The ones who provide cybersecurity services for your company should be familiar with all these methods. They feature quality leadership, collaborative efforts, controlling access points,  constant visibility, and improvements. Your cybersecurity company needs to train its staff, keep every end up to date, ensure endpoint protection, and much more.

According to the Data Breach Report of ITRC, from 2015 to 2021,  there’s an enormous increase in the total number of data compromised. With 785 compromises in 2015 to 1862 compromises in 2021. The same report states that there were 928 attacks in 2019, and the number shot up to 1613 in 2021. The stats show that the Healthcare business is at the top in terms of the average cost of data breaches.

All these stats and facts suggest that every business should opt for solid preventive measures against cyber attacks. Let’s dive into this guide and learn how you can secure your organization.

Ways to Prevent Cyber Attacks

Securing your business and organization from a cyber attack involves a lot of small efforts. All these efforts and ways are quite necessary to maintain your system’s security. Let’s take a look at a few of these steps.

Raising Awareness

The very first objective is to build effective communication with your employees. Educate and train your staff about the possible cybersecurity threats. 

People-Centric Approach

If organizations only focus on a technology-centric approach, the risks of falling victim to a cyberattack are still there. Hackers often use people/employees as their entry points. Using a people-centric approach will assist your organization in mitigating human-connected risks.

In this approach, employees are given the autonomy to try and adopt different security measures. They handle information, and use devices, organizations put their trust in them. Employees are made responsible for the security of all the corporate data that they use.

There are two main things that you must do in a people-centric security approach.

Keep in mind that your employees can be your strongest security defense or biggest security risk. So, invest in your employees and go for a people-centric approach.

Training and Informing the Staff

Training your staff members and making them understand the ways these cyberattacks occur should be your top priority. Your untrained employee can make your system vulnerable. Because mostly, cybercriminals target company employees by sending them fraudulent emails. This is called a phishing attack.

Such emails are made to look legit as if they are sent by the authentic company and that makes untrained employees fall into this trap. So, every company employee should be trained and given awareness of the current trends. Here are a few precautionary steps that your employee should take.

  • Check email and links for authentication
  • Check the receiver’s email address
  • Never share personal information/credentials with anyone

A report from the Identity Theft Resource Center shows the increase in the number of phishing attacks. In 2019, there were 490 phishing attacks and the number got up to 572 in 2021. This shows how common phishing emails are.

Reduce Employee Negligence

It’s vital that your employees understand the significance of following cybersecurity policies. 2022 Ponemon Cost of Insider Threats Global Report states that it was employee errors and negligence that caused 62% of all data breaches.

  • Let your employees know about the cyber threats your company faces.
  • Ask for employee feedback.
  • Take lessons from real-life security breaches. Let your employee know the consequences and the difficulties a company have to face after a cyber attack.
  • Explain the importance of the security of each computer. Install only trusted applications and software.

Controlling Access and Protecting Critical Assets

An ideal organization keeps track of everything. The company should know about all the employees that have access to critical assets. Review the access management practices whenever required.

Monitor Access to Your Systems

Any cybercriminal will be able to breach your system if you don’t control access to your systems. Don’t promote a loose environment where anyone can come into your enterprise and access your system. Install a perimeter security system and put a stop to the cybercrimes.

Monitoring the access to your systems also includes that your employees don’t install any unnecessary software. All the business-owned devices should have managed admin rights. There are certain data that you can’t allow the employees to access for the sake of your business.

Strong Endpoint Protection

A company should have solid endpoint protection for all the networks that are remotely connected with mobile devices. For example, if you have connected devices like smartphones to your corporate network, you need to ensure their protection. 

If your organization has BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, the chances of security breaches increases. Make sure that your employees understand the significance of securing their workplaces. Making all the employee sessions visible will help you prevent employee negligence.

Password Management

Handling the passwords securely is an integral part of corporate security. If we look at the largest online leaks of emails and passwords, we’ll notice that there were 3.27 billion credential pairs leaked in 2021 alone. These credentials are from LinkedIn, Gmail, Yahoo, Netflix, Bitcoin, and many other services.

The above number suggests why password management is so necessary. The best way to do that is through specialized tools. For instance, you can password vaults or PAM solutions. Let your employee know about the basic tactics of making their password secure.

  • One password for one account.
  • Use memorable phrases, don’t go for short strings.
  • Make passwords long and complex.
  • They should be easy for you to remember, but too complex for others to crack.
  • Changing passwords after some time.
  • Enable automatic password rotation.

Principles of Least Privilege

The fewer people with access to sensitive data, the better. You should not grant all privileges to your new employees. Doing that will increase the risk of an insider attack. It will make the job easy for the hacker because all they need is to compromise a single account.

The 2021 DBIR issued by Verizon states that privilege abuse is the leading reason for security breaches. So, assign the new accounts with the fewest privileges and escalate with time accordingly. Revoke privileges when certain sensitive data is not required. 

Handling privileges and managing everything will secure your organization. Keep a close eye on third-party vendors and users with high privilege.

Protecting The System and Data

The safety of the sensitive data of your organization depends on how well you are backing up your data. It also depends on how well you are monitoring all the activities associated with the personal data. Let’s not forget that keeping the systems up to date plays a vital role as well.

Monitoring the Privileged Users Closely

Well, you have the idea of the principles of the least privilege already. But, keeping an eye on your privileged employees is a must in order to increase the security of the system. There’s no stopping such users from stealing sensitive data and going unnoticed. Even if they don’t intend it, some users could make a malicious mistake.

  • Privileged accounts should be deleted upon the termination of such employees.
  • Invest in smart security solutions. They use advanced AI and machine learning concepts to find out the dangerous privileged activity.

Control and Monitor Third-Party Access

Cybercriminals can easily make their way into your network through third-party actors. They could be your vendors, contractors, and partners. They can easily become the victim of supply chain attacks. If we look at the stats in the ITRCR, there’s a drastic increase in the number of supply chain attacks through third parties.

There were only 119 organizations that went under the third-party attack, the number went up to 559 in 2021. These numbers suggest that organizations should restrict the access of third-party vendors. Organizations should implement the use of One-time Passwords and Manual Approvals. They should keep a separate list of access rights.

Always Back Up Your Data

You must have your data backup plan in action. In these unfortunate events, backing up your data will save you your data, serious downtime, and financial loss. Make sure that there is thorough protection. The organization’s data should be encrypted and the systems should be updated regularly.

Handle backups by dividing duties and using offline endpoints. Implement privileged access management. Online backups may work but they are not that great, so don’t rely on them fully. Don’t use the same password for backups that you use for the production environment.

Keeping the Systems Up to Date

A system or software that is not up to date is vulnerable and weak. Hackers will see such systems as a golden opportunity to breach and gain access to your network. Once a cybercriminal is inside your network, it’s already too late to prevent a cyber attack.

So, keeping your system and software up to date is a must. For assistance, you can invest in the patch management system. It will keep your system resilient and strong. It will update the already existing system. You’ll be able to manage your system in patches and keep everything stable.

Ensure Firewall Security

Every legitimate corporate business has firewall security. But they are still attacked by sophisticated data breaches. So, your organization should invest more in putting the whole network behind the firewall. This security system will push back any brute force designed to damage your network.

Focus more on Wifi Security

These days, you can’t imagine a workplace without a Wifi. It can be a great gateway to hack into your systems. Anyone with the infected device can connect to your Wifi and it will put the entire network at risk. So, you need to secure your Wifi networks and hide them. Install more security features than just a password.

Have Personal Accounts Made for Each Employee

To increase usability and security, make personal accounts for each of your employees. If there are several users logged into your systems using the same credentials, it can be problematic. Personal accounts will reduce the attack fronts, will allow easy tracking, and will increase usability.

Building Robust Cybersecurity Policy

Companies should focus on improving their cybersecurity policies according to the current trends. They should build an easy-to-use infrastructure. It doesn’t matter how many servers, applications, and devices are associated, the infrastructure should be easy.

Hierarchial Cybersecurity Policy

Organizations should have a centralized security policy. It’ll be very beneficial and every employee can use it as a basic guideline for understanding everything. When we say hierarchical, we mean handling the security policies of each department separately. Organizations should allow the departments to come up with their own cybersecurity policies.

  • Security Policies for Sales Department
  • Security Policies for Accounting Department
  • Security Policies for Software Development
  • Security Policies for Management Department

There are several advantages to organizing your security procedures in this manner. By doing so, you can guarantee that the demands of each department are met and that your bottom line is not jeopardized for the sake of security.

Final Thoughts

At the end of this guide, you may have noticed that almost all of the points above are interconnected. So, follow one step with full focus, and you’ll end up with a full-fledge plan to prevent a cybersecurity attack. Following this guideline will assist you in implementing a modern cybersecurity structure.

Start with raising awareness in your company to build a robust cybersecurity policy. Assess your business and your employees and build your company policies accordingly. Generate a solution that’s right for your company.

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