Posted & filed under Industry Insights.

Are you losing sleep over cybercrime and your company’s IT security? Is your business adequately protected from cyber criminals? Are your employees fully educated about cybercrime and the security measures that can prevent it? Cybercrime is on the rise and all over the news the past few years because of headline-making breaches like those at Target, Home Depot, and Neiman Marcus. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are also very vulnerable to cyberattacks. SMBs are often gateways to larger companies and they are generally not prepared to defend themselves against an attack. Cyber criminals attack SMBs for their data, clients and vendors. New technology is also making companies more vulnerable to attack. Big data, cloud computing, and BYOD have all increased security demands.

When we talk about cybercrime we are referring to malware, which is malicious software installed on your machine to perform unwanted tasks for a third party. Malware consists of viruses, trojans, spyware, ransomware, worms, adware, and scareware, and others. Your best line of defense against malware is prevention. You should use anti-virus and anti-malware software and perform regular penetration testing and vulnerability scanning to identify potential risks. Below are some essential strategies you can take to mitigate your cybercrime risks.

  • Update your anti-virus and anti-malware software regularly. It is not enough to just have this software in place; you must update it on a continual and consistent basis to maintain the highest level of protection.
  • Keep your firewall upto-date. Your firewall configurations must be reviewed and audited regularly to ensure that only the necessary configuration is active. Your firewall should not be more than 3 years old and needs an active intrusion detection subscription.
  • Use strong password policies. Best-practice password policies must be enforced so that only suitably complex passwords are used. These passwords must be regularly tested to ensure they are appropriately strong and updated regularly.
  • Scan your website and web applications regularly. Weaknesses in web applications are becoming main attack points for cyber criminals. Make sure you scan your website and web applications for viruses and malware regularly. Web applications should be penetration tested and securely coded.
  • All employees must be educated. Make sure your employees understand the most common cybercrime tactics, such as phishing and packet sniffing, and remain vigilant of possible attacks at all times.
  • Maintain reliable backups of all your critical data. If you do suffer a cybercrime attack, these backups will help you restore and recover more quickly.

These steps can reduce your risk of attack, but ideally you will want to hire an IT security expert to assess your specific needs and vulnerabilities and prevent cybercrime. We are currently looking for someone to fill a Security Analyst position at AAI. The security analyst will focus on performing vulnerability assessments, scans, investigate findings, and work with IT and business owners at AAI. If you are qualified for this position or need an IT security expert at your company, contact AAI today.

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