Cybersecurity defense is a daunting concept: how are you, as a business owner, supposed to make the right choices about how to secure your business against hackers, when you don’t even know how or when they’ll be attacking?
With threats ranging from ransomware to phishing and techniques with names like “zero day exploits” and “privilege escalation,” Cybersecurity feels like a journey where each step gets you deeper into a quicksand of confusion. Many companies have a hard time figuring out what to do: Do you depend on your current IT resource to get you through? Do you hire a separate Cybersecurity firm? Do you just do nothing at all, because it’s probably not going to happen to you?
Well, you’ve probably seen all of the statistics. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when your company will suffer a loss due to an attack at the hands of a hacker. So doing nothing seems like a bad idea, and it is. But what can you do while you try to understand your options?
Well, here are three things that every business can do to keep the hackers at bay while you formulate an approach for your business.
Turn on 2 Factor Authentication for Everything
Two factor authentication (2FA) is used as a second layer of defense if you log into a service with a new device that the service hasn’t seen before. It’s a great way to make sure that even if a hacker gets your password, either through phishing or finding hacked passwords from other sites, they can’t actually login and steal your data—or worse yet, use your email account to get access to more sensitive things, like bank accounts or your company’s social media accounts.
Most cloud-based services today support 2FA, including Google, Microsoft Office 365, Facebook, Hubspot, Evernote, Slack and many others. You should go through to each and every service, particular ones that you have your entire staff using, and turn on 2FA. If you can’t force it to turn on 2FA for all of your employees at the same time, then you should also make sure—however you can—that all of your staff does so as well.
When you turn on 2FA, if you have the choice between Token-based or SMS/Text, make sure you use Token-based. Using applications like Google Authenticator or Authy to keep all of your 2FA tokens in one place will make sure that even with 2FA turned on, you won’t be inconvenienced very much by it.
This one isn’t as easy to do as 2FA, but if you have a good IT provider, you should work with them to make sure that all of your servers and services have detailed logs and all of them go somewhere. Logs provide all kinds of information about your systems—for instance if someone has logged in, successfully or unsuccessfully, a log will know about it. Similarly, some logs might tell you who deleted a file on your server or when an upgrade to a piece of hardware happened.
While logging everything won’t protect you from cyberattacks, they can help to understand how and where you’re exposed—and in the case of disaster, how you were hacked. Of course, if you don’t have logs to review, then you might never know any of these things.
Logging is easy to turn on for most services, and for a good IT provider, easy to store and backup to a central location. It’s a good step that will help you gain traction with cybersecurity defense in the future.
Cloud-Based DNS Protection
One of the best preventative measures to put in place sooner rather than later is cloud-based DNS protection, like Cisco Umbrella DNS. DNS is a simple concept—it’s the Internet service that lets people find servers based on a domain name (like google.com or facebook.com)—like an index for an encyclopaedia. However, if you put an intelligent system like Cisco Umbrella in as the index, then it can block people from going to places that are known as sources of malicious files or phishing links. Cisco Umbrella is one of the most effective ways of blocking all kinds of activities that might lead a hacker to your company: phishing emails, many forms of malware, and fake links all use DNS to either spread or activate.
One note of warning: DNS protection means that you know what sites your staff are browsing. You won’t see the content itself, but DNS will tell you where they started. For some companies, this may be a privacy or policy issue, but for others, this Big Brother approach is justified to keep your business safe.
Bulletproof digital security is hard, but doing nothing isn't the right answer. Any one of our top three actions to secure your business will help fend off attackers, and all three will significantly decrease your attack surface. Still not sure where to start? Contact us at TSP—we can show you where to take the first steps to secure your company against a cyber attack.