3 Tips To Minimise The Risk Of Vulnerabilities to Your IT Infrastructure
2021 has been a year of hacking, ransomware and significant data breaches, with more anticipated.
We are acutely aware of the havoc created by ongoing and increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks, both here and worldwide. As a result, Australian businesses are spending millions of dollars locking down their IT security in the wake of these much publicised and sometimes catastrophic breaches.
A Cyber Security strategy has never been more of a necessity, and Australian businesses need to ensure that their IT infrastructure is secure to remain operational.
A vital first action in preparing your IT Business Continuity Plan is to identify and rectify underlying vulnerabilities before someone else does!
While there are many ways for companies to minimise the risk of vulnerabilities in their IT infrastructure, this blog will explore 3 key strategies that you can start to implement today.
What is a vulnerability when it comes to IT infrastructure?
A vulnerability in your IT infrastructure is a hole or weakness or misconfigured area that hackers use to breach your network.
A vulnerability might be an unpatched operating system, unprotected passwords or untrained staff susceptible to a phishing email containing a virus with a strain of ransomware that can then spread itself across your network.
While a vulnerability is often hard to identify – especially if you don't understand where to look, it can significantly increase the risk of a cyber-attack if left unfixed.
3 Tips to minimise the risk of vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure
1 – Identify potential technological, policy, and process issues
First and foremost, you should never start any IT Audit or project without identifying your current position. It's essential to build an understanding of what is under the bonnet of the car before you take a drive.
Performing a vulnerability scan and assessment should be an annual occurrence to uncover any pre-existing technical or policy issues occurring within your servers and networks. This can be done using a third-party scanning product, but it is highly recommended to utilise a professional and unbiased technical specialist in this area, like Netway Networks.
Depending on how your business operates, there can be endless amounts of potential vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure. We have identified three main key categories to start with:
Hardware & Software
Out of date & unpatched software and/or operating systems
Anti-Virus software that is misconfigured, out of date, or illegally acquired
Loose password and overall security policies
Firmware not updated
Weak password policies
Processes and policies:
Lack of regular audits
Lack of business continuity plans
Lack of security
Undocumented & enforced policies
2 – Identifying and fixing non-technology weaknesses
Performing a vulnerability scan and assessment is only half of the battle as this scan focuses on the technological and processes side of your IT security. However, where most businesses fail is their education of staff members.
Approximately 95% of all cyber incidents are caused by human error. In other words, 19 out of 20 cyber attacks could potentially be avoided if employees didn't unknowingly cause these breaches.
We understand that no one is perfect and sometimes phishing emails are so sophisticated that most people can't tell the difference. As 2021 has shown us, even the biggest and most secure companies can get attacked. However, a continuous staff education plan focusing on best practice security awareness and threat identification can significantly reduce the margin for error (and your bottom line).
As remote working is now the new normal, it is now significantly more important than ever to reinforce proactive and best practice online security
3 – Test, test and test
Now that you have successfully patched pre-existing vulnerabilities and implemented a regular staff educational process, it's critical to test if these areas are effective and if these lines of defence are going to secure your business.
Phishing simulations and targeted attacks:
Phishing simulations are email attack simulations targeting your employees, their knowledge of fraudulent emails, and, most importantly, if they can spot real-world examples.
Businesses should focus heavily on email attacks as they make up over 80% of overall cyber attacks. In fact, in 2020, 1 in every 4,200 emails was a phishing email, affecting over 88% of organisations worldwide. With Australia being the 6th most targeted country by cyber-criminals,we need to be vigilant with email policies.
Think of this process as mystery shopping. Your employees won't know when they will come and who they will come from, but we test their understanding of best practice security and how they might respond to the attack.
These simulations are designed to identify if employees are questioning suspicious emails to recognise, avoid, and report potential threats that can compromise critical business data and systems through phishing, malware, ransomware, and spyware.
Dimitri Margaritis – Head of Sales, Marketing & Client Relations
Dimitri has held a number of Business Development and Relationship/Account Management roles, primarily within the financial services industry. Dimitri has extensive experience assisting private businesses through to global, ASX listed entities amassing a breadth of experience that Dimitri draws on daily to assist his client’s attain their efficiency aspirations.
Dimitri has an Executive MBA (Monash University) and is a sales professional with a passion for spending time with clients to understand their business needs and working collaboratively to uncover solutions that specifically address clients pain points.
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