The Key to Stopping Cyber Attacks

Let me tell you something. The thing that people most often misunderstand about cyber attacks is that they don’t happen at the speed of light! In fact, it often takes months or years to get the right level of access in a network and ultimately to be able to push the trigger and cause a destructive act.

The key is this: if you want to stop a hacker, you got to think like a hacker!

By thinking about the network and how an attack could exploit it, security teams could uncover unexpected means that hackers could use to exploit the network.

That means deep knowledge of your network and being able to detect any suspicious or unexpected behaviour can go a long way to detecting and stopping intrusions.

So here are 11 things you can do to prevent, minimize or stop a cyber attack on your business:

#1: Enable Multi-Factor Authentication

One of the most effective ways to prevent cyber attacks is to enable multi-factor authentication for all applications that access the internet in your organization. This will require employees to provide several pieces of information instead of just one.

The reality is that although having only one password login for employees will definitely be more convenient, it is simply not enough!

I mean, can you imagine if let say an employee’s one password is compromised through a hack or phishing scam, cybercriminals will be able to easily access your systems. It’s like only having one lock on your front door – once that lock is compromised, your home will be open and free for all.

On the other hand, having multi-factor authentication will heighten the security of your business. It will be much more difficult for any unauthorized person to access your systems in this case.

#2: Create Robust Internal Controls

Believe it or not, having control over who can access your network is really, really important! I mean, somebody can simply walk into your office or enterprise and plug in a

USB key containing infected files into one of your computers, allowing them access to your entire network or infect it. Dramatic stuff, huh!

Hence to prevent cyber attacks in your organization, it is crucial to have robust internal controls in place – i.e. you need to outrightly and strategically determine and control who has access to your computers and network. Access controls will help ensure that system access is updated immediately once employees, contractors, and vendors leave your organization. And by monitoring who has access to your systems, you’ll ensure greater security and will prevent security threats and potential problems in the future.

In addition, when someone leaves your organization you need to revoke access for security reasons. If you don’t revoke the access of former employees, contractors, and other relevant parties, they may be able to access your system later on.

#3: Responsibilities of Third-Party Security

Here’s the thing. Third parties are good – they are cost-efficient, manpower-efficient, and allows you to focus on the core of your business. But they are another gateway for hackers to access your systems!

So if you want to prevent cyber attacks and security threats, it’s also critical that you take measures to manage third-party cyber risk.

It’s important to understand the responsibilities you have when it comes to third-party security. If there are any vendors or third parties who need to access your system, it’s crucial to be aware of the risks and to ensure heightened security.

Creating tight security controls, identifying potential cyber threats, and monitoring your network are all crucial to ensuring your system is secure. Be sure that you fully understand your responsibilities. You need to prevent third-party vulnerabilities if you want to make sure your business is as secure as possible.

#4: Educate Your Employees with Cyber Security Awareness Training

The sad reality is this – did you know that one of the most common ways cyber criminals get access to your company’s data is through your employees? They’ll send fraudulent emails impersonating someone in your organisation and will either ask for personal details or for access to certain files. Links often seem legitimate to an untrained eye and it’s easy to fall into the trap. This is why employee awareness is vital.

Therefore, one of the most efficient ways to protect against cyber attacks and all types of data breaches is to train your employees on cyber attack prevention and ensure that they know what are and what aren’t considered normal requests via email and other correspondence methods. Simple as that.

They need to:

  1. Check links before clicking them

  2. Check email addresses from the received email

  3. Use common sense before sending sensitive information. If a request seems odd, it probably is. It’s better to

  4. Check via a phone call with the person in question before actioning the “request”

You also need to conduct thorough cybersecurity awareness training when onboarding new employees, and provide extra training for current employees at regular intervals. Holding annual training sessions can help ensure that your entire staff is aware of how to guard against security threats.

And by having a well-informed team, you’ll be able to create a business that is much more secure overall.

#5: Create Data Backups

In the event of a disaster (often a cyber attack), you must have your data backed up to avoid serious downtime, loss of data and serious financial loss.

This is because, while the other actions you take to prevent security threats should be enough to protect your business, sometimes no matter what measures you take, breaches still happen. That is the reality in this technology-advanced world. As a result, you may find that data has been erased or corrupted due to a cyber attack.

It is therefore important that your organization makes regular backups of important business data. By creating regular data backups you’ll ensure that no matter what happens, your business won’t be at a total loss. You’ll prevent your business operations from being stalled. You’ll be able to get back on track more easily after a cyberattack or security breach occurs.

#6: Keep Your Systems Updated

More often than not, cyber attacks happen because your systems or software aren’t fully up to date, leaving weaknesses. Hackers exploit these weaknesses to gain access to your network. Once they are in – it’s often too late to take preventative action.

And yes, I feel you. Constant updates are frustrating, annoying, disruptive – but they are very very necessary! This is because hackers are smart. They like to constantly dig and pry to find new problems and vulnerabilities in softwares which they can exploit.

But the thing is that, these software companies are smarter – they constantly provide the latest updates to patch software vulnerabilities and to guard against potential security threats. But if users do not make use of these regular updates, your old version will be prone and left open to hackers to exploit.

Therefore, keeping your systems and business software up-to-date is a very critical part of protecting your business. Your systems should always be running the latest software if you want your data to be secure.

Furthermore, it is also smart to invest in a patch management system that will manage all software and system updates, keeping your system resilient and up to date.

#7: Install a Firewall and Antivirus Software

Putting your network behind a firewall is one of the most effective ways to defe