Cyber Security is an umbrella term that covers all the services and solutions that are implemented to protect computers, networks, data and cloud services from cyber threats. There are a number of types of cyber security measures and it is never a one solution fix. Robust cyber security requires a multi-layered approach and an overarching strategy.
So what are the various types of cyber security?
Network Security – protects against bad actors gaining unauthorised access to corporate networks.
Data Security – secures data, often which contains personal and sensitive material depending on the business, both where it is stored and in transit.
Application Security – identifies weaknesses in business applications that staff use daily that could be exploited. Often these weaknesses are dealt with by installing patches or updates from the application providers but frequently users fail to act on updates and vulnerabilities remain exposed.
End Point Security – ensures all devices that link to the network are secure.
Cloud Security – as more businesses use cloud services security in the cloud becomes more and more important. Read More.
Disaster Recovery and Backups – this falls under the cyber security umbrella as this is your insurance that in the event of a cyber attack your business can recover not just data but systems and applications readily. Read More.
The first step in understanding what your business needs to do to protect itself is identifying areas in which you are weakest. The best method to do this is to engage with an IT services company who are experts in Cyber Security and they can run a cyber security assessment to establish the current level of risk across your network. Most IT Services Providers will have a range of tests they can run which will identify current vulnerabilities. In doing so you will learn what areas of the cyber security umbrella (think of them like the spokes that hold the umbrella up) you are weakest in and where you need to invest.
Document your Cyber Security Strategy
Once you have a better understanding of you current cyber security posture and have allocated budget you should get buy in from all stake holders across your business. As cyber security is company wide you should involve someone from each area of your business as they may all have different concerns. For example some of them may use more cloud services that others. Some teams may operate more remote workers than others who may be permanently office based. Areas of the business may have strict compliance policies that they need to adhere to for example the finance department who hold personal financial information. All of these aspects should be carefully documented to ensure a comprehensive approach to securing your business.
Consider engaging with an IT Services Provider
Cyber security is a very specialised area. Most businesses won’t have the required skills inhouse which is why it is wise to talk to an IT Services Company who can best advise what solutions meet the needs laid out in your cyber security strategy. Look for an IT Services Provider that is expert in Cyber Security and partners with a leading cyber security company like Fortinet. They will have all the know how to make sure your cyber security is foolproof. Often they are experts in Cloud Services also which is essential for ensuring that not only on premise but cloud based IT Services are secured.
Train your staff
Cyber security awareness training is critical in any cyber security strategy. With all the measures in place cracks can appear at any moment and most frequently it is human error such as clicking on a malicious link in an email that leads to a breach occurring. Most IT Services Providers supply online cyber security training for staff which is convenient for all staff to complete. It is important that all staff right up to management undertake cyber security awareness training. It is also important that it stays fresh in their minds as time goes by so many companies will engage with cyber security training on an annual basis.
In an age where cyber crime is advancing at an alarming rate no business is safe no matter what size. The days were cyber attacks were reserved for bigger companies are long gone. All businesses need to be sure that their cyber security is up to scratch. To ignore it is leaving your business wide open to threats such as ransomware which can be both financially and reputationally damaging.
The recent cyber attack on the HSE has firmly highlighted the steadfast requirement for businesses and organisations of all sizes to review their current cyber security posture. The cyber attack on the HSE is by far the most devastating in this country to date but it’s certainly far from the first. Many many Irish businesses have been targeted by similar hacks in the last 12 months and a number of them have paid ransoms – they just all don’t make the media.
Often businesses feel they have no choice but to pay or risk going out of business if they don’t retrieve their data from the criminals. This is not a position any business wants to find themselves in.
Adequate cyber security is not a once off solution, it has many layers and touchpoints. It requires a strategic approach. IT Security needs to be managed and reviewed and most importantly it needs expert attention.
So where do you start?
Before you rush into buying and implementing various anti-virus or end point protection solutions you need to have clarity on what your specific business needs to protect your data and systems. Every business differs in this regard. You will most likely already have some cyber security measures and solutions in place – some of which may need upgrading, others may be suitable but only if complemented with solutions in other areas. The simplest and most efficient way to fully understand your IT security needs is to undertake a cyber security review.
Instead of advocating the benefits of cyber security risk assessments, of which there are many, let’s take a look at the risks of NOT conducting a cyber security review or a cyber security risk assessment.
Potential Risks of not conducting a Cyber Security Risk Assessment
No real understanding of your current cyber risk level: An audit will help ascertain your current strengths and weaknesses and identify paths to improvement. Determining where your maturity level lies in the cybersecurity scale is the quickest and most efficient way to improve cyber resilience.
High Maturity: Strong Risk Posture
Medium Maturity: Some adequate measures in place but more to do
Low Maturity: Lacking in many areas with significant work needed
Understanding your current risk level through practical testing and assessment gives true visibility on the security requirements. In short you identify the gaps but not only are they identified but proven through testing.
Inadequate Monitoring: Without clear understanding of which areas of the business represent the greatest risk it is difficult to allocate resources meaningfully, especially to those that need ongoing monitoring. As threats evolve and criminals learn methods to evade security measures, continuous monitoring has become a core principle of a robust cybersecurity program. In many industries compliance requirements enforce ongoing monitoring of threats. A security audit will identify the areas in your network that are weakest and where ongoing monitoring may be needed and to what level.
Inability to Determine Potential Impact: A Security Risk Assessment will identify how and where your current IT Security is weak. From this you can determine the potential impact that a cyber breach could have on your business and this will inform your Disaster Recovery planning.
Difficulty in Deciding on Level of Investment and how to Prioritise Response: If you don’t know the level of risk that your business currently faces it is impossible to prioritise your response. IT security is multi-faceted and different businesses will need different levels of protection depending on what they currently have in place, what compliance issues they face and what type of data they hold. A risk assessment will help you determine what level of investment is needed to adequately protect your assets and meet compliance requirements.
So Why Bother with a Cyber Security Risk Assessment?
As new and emerging cyber threats challenge traditional responses cyber security demands a more sophisticated approach. Putting in an anti-malware solution across corporate computers will no longer be your guarantee of security in the modern age of inside threats and targeted attacks. Even moreso in an age where remote working is becoming the norm and employees are logging into networks from many different locations and often on unsecured devices.
IT Risk Assessments have a significant role to play when it comes to securing digital assets. Knowing what is in place and what is not via auditing and what is and what isn’t a significant issue is at the very core of understanding and implementing the right security.
While assumptions can be made, in many cases, they’re wrong. Time is the enemy. To adopt a wait and see approach is to put your business organisation at serious risk. The unfortunate HSE attack has proven that point.
Unfortunately, it’s the general opinion of most companies, particularly at the management level, that their computer systems are secure. However, one of the only ways to determine whether this is actually true is by performing a thorough audit of computer systems.
If you carry the burden of IT security risk in your business I would have a serious think about how you measure the risk and consider if you are taking the best approach. An IT security or cyber security review carried out by an experienced Cyber Security Company is the most efficient way to really understand what your current Cyber Security posture is.
And remember whatever measures you physically put in place it is critical that your staff receive cyber security awareness training to further strengthen your defences.
We work with Microsoft and Fortinet, the leading global Cyber Security Company to provide Cyber Security Risk Assessments for businesses of all sizes. We can help you learn what you need to do to uplift your current IT security measures and help protect from the latest wave of cyber scams.
Phishing emails are still the number 1 entry point for ransomware attacks. In this webinar our Security Experts discuss how businesses can protect their email channel, especially important when employees are working remotely, with Fortimail’s award winning and independently approved advanced email security solutions.
Get Visibility into the Amount of Unwanted, Malicious, and Risky Email Reaching Your Users
As a Fortinet Select partner we see firsthand how email remains the most utilised attack vector for cyber criminals. At the same time, customers are increasingly moving to cloud email providers, like Microsoft 365 and Google G-Suite, and are struggling to secure their email traffic. The built-in, native security tools available in these platforms are by themselves insufficient to guard against attacks, protect valuable data, and ensure compliance objectives are met.
In a webinar on Thursday May 13 at 10 amwe will discuss how FortiMail is used by tens of thousands of customers worldwide to protect well over a hundred million mailboxes. FortiMail has been independently validated and was recently awarded a ‘AAA rating’, the top rating a vendor can receive, by SE Labs.
All attendees will be offered the chance to avail of a limited number of bespoke email security assessments in consultation with an NSE 7 certified Security Engineer.
You will learn what type of email threats are getting through your current filters, how much spam is landing in your user’s inboxes, your level of email bandwidth usage and more. Plus you will have an understanding of whether your email is protected sufficiently and if not what steps can be taken to improve it.
I sincerely hope you will be able to join us on Thursday May 13 at 10am.
Cyber attacks have doubled over the last 12 months as workforces around the globe moved to a distributed or remote working model. Now communication that would usually take place inside a corporate network is being conducted outside the existing security measures and frequently over third party platforms. The pandemic has presented cyber criminals with the perfect opportunity to exploit unprotected systems to access sensitive data. Many phishing attempts are related to the virus or now more so the vaccine in an attempt to allure people to click on a malicious link. And all are financially motivated.
Often phishing attempts utilise domain names that a user is familiar with which lulls the user into a false sense of security as they recognise the company or organisation that the email appears to be coming from.
If you are managing a remote team here are some steps you can take to prevent an employee falling for a phishing attempt.
Improve Email Security
Preventing suspicious emails from reaching staff inboxes is an effective way of minimising the risk of cyber attack. There is some level of security included in a standard M365 licence that can block span and standard phishing attacks but for truly reliable email security it is best to adopt a layered approach. Consider a solution from a dedicated cyber security provider such as Fortinet. Their Fortimail solution delivers advanced multi-layered protection against the full spectrum of email threats. Talk to an IT Service Provider who partners with Fortinet to learn more about this solution.
Utilise Web filtering
Web filtering involves preventing a browser from loading suspicious urls or webpages. So in the event that an employee clicks on a link in an email that connects to a suspicious url your web filter will prevent that site from loading. Your IT Services Provider will be able to set up web filtering for you adding another layer to your defence mechanisms.
2FA or Two factor Authentication is a simple step that can be used in the fight against cyber crime. Most users will be familiar with 2FA in some form as many banks and internet services such as payment platforms utilise it. 2FA involves inputting unique user information to prove your identity. Sometimes it’s in the form of a code that is sent by SMS to your mobile number. Or it could be your finger print or a piece of information such as your mother’s maiden name. 2FA is a form of identity management and means that access to systems is not purely reliant on passwords as passwords can be easily stolen or guessed. Again your IT provider can help set up 2FA across all users especially those who are working outside the security of the office firewall.
Adopt Patch Management
Patch management process involves identifying and deploying updates or patches to a variety of endpoints including PCs, laptops, mobile devices and servers. Automated Patch Management Solutions mean that known vulnerabilities are dealt with in a timely and effective way, reducing resource time by automatically updating endpoints as patches become available. An IT Services Provider will be able to advise you on Patch Management.
Engage in User Training
Email remains the dominant vector for entry for cyber criminals. And user error remains the number one issue in the fight against preventing cybercrime. The more savvy your employees are the more protection your business will enjoy. Cyber Security training is necessary for all employees at all levels. Even the boss can fall for phishing attempts. Online cyber security training is a great way to reach employees who are based remotely.
Watch out for Keyloggers
Keyloggers, also known as spyware, are a type of software that is designed to record keystrokes and are one of the oldest forms of cyber threat. Keyloggers are used to steal personal or financial information such as bank details. Some types of keyloggers especially those on mobile devices can record calls, messages and GPS locations. Many keyloggers now come with ransomware that can be activated at the attacker’s discretion.
Your IT Provider will be able to advise you on the best security measures for your business. There is no silver bullet when it comes to adequate IT security. The most effective approach is a multi-layered one that combines a variety of mechanisms to deliver robust cybersecurity to your business. With remote working looking set to stay in some capacity for many businesses and cyber crime at it’s most prevalent now is the time to act.
SD WAN stands for Software Defined Wide Area Network. It is a virtual architecture that allows businesses to combine transport services including MPLS, LTE and broadband internet to securely connect users to applications. Delivered through the cloud SD WAN reduces capital expenditure and simplifies network administration. A centralised control function intelligently directs traffic across the WAN delivering higher performance and a better user experience. The agility inherent in an SD WAN environment makes it a more cost-effective solution reducing ongoing IT operating costs and improving connectivity to branch offices and the cloud.
How does it differ from a traditional WAN?
A typical WAN uses conventional routers that were not designed for the cloud. They typically route all traffic including cloud traffic to a hub or data centre causing a delay that leads to poor application performance. Traditional WAN solutions use MPLS to assign preference and timelines for delivery of traffic and they usually leverage internet-based backup as a secondary transport should the designated path be unavailable. A traditional WAN may hinder growth and agility needs. For example failover is dependent on the state of the link which may be up or down and this can lead to outages and dropped video or phone calls. Configuration is distributed across each individual router making changes difficult to manage. New sites can take a long time to set up due to the complexities of the network.
How does an SD WAN work?
An SD WAN is designed to securely support applications in the cloud, on premise and SaaS services whilst delivering a high level of performance. An SD WAN delivers application aware routing across the WAN that is managed and administered from a centralised point. With single pane of glass management, policies can be set and maintained centrally and then pushed out across each SD WAN node. This hands off configuration makes it much quicker and easier to administer. Once the policy is set links are intelligently monitored and traffic is routed accordingly.
Why would you need an SD WAN?
Nowadays enterprises are using cloud and SaaS applications more frequently. A traditional WAN does not support a cloud first model as all traffic, including that destined for the cloud, is diverted from branches to the HQ resulting in lagging and poor performance. Traditional WANs are no longer meeting the needs of today’s modern digital business, that coupled with easier administration and lower capital expenditure makes SD WAN a more attractive solution. IT teams can quickly and easily define rules to prioritise the most important network traffic, such as voice and critical applications. SD Wan also allows new sites to be added to the network very easily.
The Benefits of SD WAN
Lower Networking Capital Expenditure
Improved Application Performance
Enhanced Agility and Responsiveness
What business is suited to SD WAN
SD WAN adoption is seeing significant growth across sectors and company size. Any business accessing cloud services would benefit but especially those with distributed locations, individuals and devices. Financial Services, Retail and Education sectors are seeing an uptake in SD WAN deployments as they increasingly need cloud services to function. Other needs such as secure networks to process sensitive financial information, fast and reliable access to databases to service customers, the ability to prioritise traffic and applications, lower costs and higher bandwidth makes SD WAN an attractive solution.
Our partner Fortinet have been named a leader in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for SD WAN Infrastructure. FortiGate SD-WAN tackles the most difficult challenges of secure SD-WAN deployment and was the only Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) security vendor to receive a “Recommended” rating in NSS Labs’ first-ever software-defined wide area networking report.