Do you have a cyber hygiene program in place? While physical hygiene has been top of mind of late, it’s important to consider cyber hygiene as well. Just like properly washing your hands, it’s critical to take the correct approach to protecting the security of your business’s digital and virtual assets.
The recent growth of teleworking creates even more vulnerabilities. Opportunities for ransomware attacks are increasing. But there are steps every business can take — whether small or enterprise in size — to prevent attacks and prepare their companies for the future.
What’s the best approach for your business when it comes to cybersecurity? Find out in this recorded IT Community Webinars conversation. This episode is part of the ongoing series of informative webinars brought to you by the experts at Virtual Intelligence Briefing.
GET PROVEN TIPS AND TACTICS
In today’s episode, Tom Riddle, Director of Survey and Research Solutions at ViB, is joined by cybersecurity expert Dr. Victor Berlin, President of Stacked-UP and founder of the Mission Critical Institute for Cybersecurity.
Also part of the conversation are panelists Eric Handy and Dr. Chrisan Herrod who are both cyber risk management experts with vast experience protecting organizations from breaches and ransomware.
Listen in as Victor, Eric, and Crisan share information and best practices, including:
- What are ransomware attacks
- The costs of attacks on your business
- How a cyber hygiene program protects your business
- Choosing the right cybersecurity approach
IMPACT OF RANSOMWARE ATTACKS
According to Victor, “Ransomware attacks may not be the most common” type of security breach “but they are very dramatic, and they can have a major impact.” He estimates that for 2021, ransomware may cost businesses $5 trillion globally.
Ransomware is malware that encrypts a victim’s files until a specified ransom is paid. “What the ransomware attack does is freeze your business,” says Victor. Every aspect of your operations can be shut down by a ransomware attack.
One case study is a global company with $1.5 billion in revenue. A web-based cyber attack encrypted their computer files, rendering everything unusable.
“They ended up paying 4.5 million Bitcoin” to the attackers, says Eric, to resume their business operations. He explains that it was “more like a business negotiation” even though a crime had been committed. But this attack, and the expense of the ransom, could have been prevented with good cyber hygiene.
PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS AND CUSTOMERS
Victor explains that cyber hygiene is not unlike physical hygiene. “You take certain actions like washing your hands, especially in this day and age, in order to prevent infection,” he says. “Cyber hygiene is taking on preventive acts in order to protect your system.”
A ransomware attack costs money but victimized organizations also pay a PR price. “A ransomware attack could create a bad image” for your company. What’s more, “it could actually hurt your customers if they get breached as part of this.”
In addition to securing your data, systems, and networks, companies must also protect their staff. “You want to keep your staff,” says Victor. “You don’t want them to become disillusioned.”
SPEND YOUR TIME AND MONEY WISELY
Chrisan cites FBI estimates that indicate there are “approximately 4,000 ransomware attacks launched every day.” That means that “every 40 seconds, there’s an attack launched.” Preventing these attacks requires “a number of different prevention-type implementations” rather than just depending on one solution. “Putting in firewalls, for example, is not going to prevent ransomware.”
Open-source solutions are available, offering different levels of cyber hygiene depending on the size and nature of your organization. For example, the NIST cybersecurity framework can help establish proper risk-control methods for enterprises.
But for small businesses with a limited budget? Chrisan says that the “low-cost, high-impact” steps of “education, training and awareness” should be at the top of your cyber hygiene list.
She explains that “40% of all spam contains ransomware, and that’s an extraordinary number.” For companies of all sizes, it’s critical that employees “have knowledge of what a phishing attack is, what damage a spam message can do.”
CREATE A CYBER SECURITY PLAN
According to Victor, the key element of cyber hygiene is planning. “You need to set up a cyber hygiene plan,” he says. The best plans include “methods and procedures so you are well-positioned to recover data and recover your systems.”
A good plan will prevent a breach in the first place. But if one does occur, your plan should include methods to help you “minimize the impact.”
Eric points out that more than just having a program in place, you must actually follow it. “Make sure you have continuous monitoring throughout the process,” he says, including regular backups and testing. That way, “you can feel protected and that you’re doing due diligence.”
STAY INFORMED AND SECURE
Find out more by listening to the entire episode, “IT Community Webinars: Block Ransomware Attacks and Protect Your Assets with Cyber Hygiene with Dr. Victor Berlin” Learn from experienced cybersecurity experts and take steps to protect your business, customers, and assets.
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