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Too many organizations don’t see the value of investing in cybersecurity until after they’ve been hacked. Or, leaders are reluctant to implement new layers of security and create productivity barriers for employees. We understand their concerns, but we don’t want to see cybercriminals successfully target businesses and nonprofits in Colorado’s Front Range.

So, we’ve outlined 7 essential tools, explained why they’re important and shared what you can do right now to better protect your business. With this list, you don’t have to choose between working efficiently and working securely.

1. Firewalls and Antivirus

Why it’s important: On average, hackers infiltrate unsuspecting users’ computers every 39 seconds. As cyber threats continue to evolve, protecting your sensitive data should be a top priority. Using a firewall and antivirus software is your first line of defense.  

What to check for now: Business-class, up-to-date firewalls keep hackers from accessing networks and destroying a business. If you go out and buy an off-the-shelf product, you’re still vulnerable. Subscribe to high-quality, trusted brand solutions. Depending on your Microsoft licensing, you may have access to an antivirus solution: Microsoft Defender. Talk to your managed service provider to better understand what you have and what you still need.

2. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Why it’s important: Now, more than ever, your employees are connecting remotely. Having a VPN is necessary insurance to keep your employees safe online. It protects your network by sending data through an encrypted tunnel. Hackers can’t access the information and you’re safe from attack.

What to check for now: Start with a secure setup. Your VPN is only effective when it gets implemented correctly. Because busy employees are thinking about getting their work done, you want the VPN’s mission-critical processes to run seamlessly and silently in the background, without the requirement of user input.

3. Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

Why it’s important: Relying solely on passwords to authenticate a user creates an opening for a cyberattack. If the password is weak or has been exposed elsewhere, you won’t know if it really is the user signing in with the username and password or an attacker. When you require a second form of authentication, security increases because hackers can’t easily obtain or duplicate the additional factor.

What to do now:  

  • At a minimum, turn MFA on for email
  • Decide on the method of requiring your users to use MFA
  • Create a pilot group and test MFA
  • Explain to your team MFA is coming 
  • Roll out MFA across your organization

4. Intrusion Detection  

Why it’s important: Firewalls aren’t a bulletproof solution. Cybercriminals continually find new ways to infiltrate your network. Every day, you need to successfully fend off attacks. This requires comprehensive, dynamic solutions, like an intrusion detection system (IDS).

With IDS, notifications are triggered when suspicious inbound and outbound traffic is detected. Once alerted to a threat, your IT expert can quickly investigate the issue and resolve the matter before a criminal has a chance to steal your data or infect your systems with malware.

What to do now: Configure your IDS solution to meet your specific needs. For instance, with Global IP address filtering, you can filter inbound and outbound traffic by geographic region. If you don’t do business in China or Russia, you can block them just by geographic region. If you do need to allow traffic from legitimate businesses from banned regions, you can whitelist IP-specific addresses.

5. Endpoint Security and Data Encryption 

Why it’s important: The WiFi at a coffee shop, airport, hotel or home office isn’t as secure as your in-office network. But, people no longer do all their work at the office. You need to mitigate threats wherever your employees and devices are located. Endpoint security and data encryption resolve this problem. Security controls, like the ability to wipe data from devices and limit access, prevent information from falling into the wrong hands.

What to check for now: Data breaches or stolen devices can result in identity theft, lost data and a downfall in revenue. Don’t let this happen to your business. Protect yourself by:

  • Implementing a robust endpoint security solution
  • Reviewing and testing your endpoint security plan
  • Completely encrypt business and client data on devices
  • Don’t store corporate data locally on mobile devices

6. User Awareness Programs and Training Sessions

Why it’s important: Human error is the main cause behind most cyber breaches. It happens when an employee accidentally clicks a malicious link or falls for a sophisticated phishing campaign. Taking the time to conduct security awareness training is the least expensive, most effective way to reduce your risk exposure.

What to do now: Use practical, hands-on exercises to illustrate what attacks look like. Take advantage of training, either videos or quizzes, to create an awareness campaign on cybersecurity in your organization. At the same time, you want to educate your employees on their vital role in complying with the organization’s standards. Once your team knows what shape a threat will take and their responsibility to prevent them, they stop being a threat and become cybersmart assets.  

7. Adopt a Cyber Standard 

Why it’s important: The idea that businesses need to adopt and adhere to a cyber standard, like NIST 800-53 or PCI, is gaining a foothold in many industries. Right now, the government is encouraging businesses to become compliant. Eventually, it may turn into a mandate.

Compliance standard are regularly updated based on the latest threats, so the controls will also mitigate today’s cyber risks. The protections range from simple (Is there a lock on the door to your server room?) to sophisticated (Do you require MFA on your line-of-business applications?).

What to do now: We advise our clients that across-the-board cyber standards are coming, and you need to start working on it now. At Amnet, we’re perusing NIST 800-171, because it enhances our security and makes it easier to obtain cyber insurance. If you aren’t ready for cyber standards right now, prioritize user awareness training and endpoint protection. Then, make a long-term plan for any regulations you need to comply with now or in the future.

7 Reasons to Partner with Amnet’s Team of Cybersecurity Professionals

  1. You want to protect your business investment 
  2. You don’t want to put your employees’ jobs at risk 
  3. Your business can’t afford extended downtime 
  4. Your clients’ confidential information cannot be compromised 
  5. You have a reputation to protect 
  6. You don’t want criminal syndicates to get their hands on your personal and financial data
  7. You want to work with one of the top managed service providers in the U.S.   

Start Mitigating Threats Today 

With Amnet’s time-tested approach to cybersecurity, you can take control of your security plan, meet IT goals and keep your spending in check. Call us right now. We’ll set up a time to evaluate your current cyber situation and help you decide what approach works best for your organization. Schedule your risk-free consultation with Amnet today.

When It Comes To Your Business IT Systems, Don't Blindly Trust The First IT Guy You Meet.

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