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Important IT Security Risks to Address in 2021

system monitoring are foundations for any strategy. Regular cybersecurity assessments look at the newest methods of attack, dangers that are increasing (like mobile malware), and pinpoint any new vulnerabilities based on them. 2020 was a particularly dangerous year for IT security, with hackers organizing with criminal cartels to take advantage of the disruption of the pandemic. Some have even called the year a “cyber pandemic” due to the significant increase in attacks. During the midst of the pandemic, the FBI reported a 400% increase in cyberattack reports. Where do you start when it comes to looking at new and emerging threats to prepare for? We’ve sourced two important reports. One is from McKinsey and is related to where SMBs and enterprises are planning to increase IT security spending this year. The other is the Sophos 2021 Threat Report that looks at the attack types seen last year as emerging threats. From there, we’ve put together a list of the top threats you’ll want to address this year to ensure your business is protected from a devastating cybersecurity incident.

Recommendations for Beefing Up Your Cybersecurity This Year

Add Endpoint Security & Management One area where all sized businesses, from small to large, agree they need to increase budgets this year is for endpoint security. There are a few factors that make having an endpoint security and management app a must.

  1. Many employees are now remote, and companies need to ensure their devices used for work are secure and updated.

  2. Companies need a way to monitor all those remote connections to their data to ensure only authorized devices are getting in.

  3. Mobile malware is on the rise according to the Sophos report, and getting increasingly difficult for app stores to detect. Endpoints that connect to your network and cloud data are no longer behind the same firewall in many cases. Even Texas businesses that don’t have remote teams, most likely have employees accessing work email or apps from home or when out of the office.

Focus on Ransomware Protections In the four key threat areas from the Sophos report, Ransomware is listed first and is the only form of malware mentioned in its own section. By mid-year 2020, ransomware had already grown 72%. And it’s not just the volume that’s increasing. The cost of remediation and ransom demand average are also both going up significantly. A big reason for this is that ransomware has been adopted as a money-maker by large underground criminal organizations. It’s being evolved for more sophisticated attacks and being run more as a business profit area than just one-off attacks from various hackers. Some of the core ransomware protections to put in place, many of which are included in a managed IT services plan, are:

  1. Email spam/phishing filtering

  2. Managed antivirus/anti-malware

  3. DNS filtering

  4. Backup & recovery application

  5. Employee cybersecurity awareness training

Reinforce Remote Team Security Remote teams don’t appear to be going anywhere even after the pandemic is over. The number of worldwide employees permanently working from home is expected to double this year. Two of the technologies related to remote workers that were increasingly hijacked by hackers last year were remote desktop protocol (RDP) and virtual private networks (VPN). With a shift to remote teams, it’s vital that you put the proper network protections in place to ensure device connections are secure and that logins for RDP and VPN are also secured with protocols like multi-factor authentication and user whitelisting.

Review Your Identity and Access Management Hackers have been going after passwords with increasing frequency over the last few years as most business data has shifted to cloud accounts. When businesses are using major platforms like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365, it’s harder for a hacker to breach platform security, so they go after user login credentials instead. With the right login, a criminal can change user permissions, access company data, and send out spam and phishing on company email accounts. You can strengthen your identity and access management with a few different tools and policies:

  1. Use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a must.

  2. Explore different forms of MFA, such as adding challenge questions for those logging in from outside a specific geographical region.

  3. Implement the Rule of Least Privilege, which means users are given the lowest possible privilege that still allows them to do their daily tasks.

  4. Use of a dedicated admin account to further protect a high-level cloud or system account.

Get a Security Assessment to Identify Any Network Vulnerabilities Texas I.T. Pros can work with your Denton or Wise County business on a cybersecurity assessment that identifies weaknesses you should address to ensure you’re fully protected. Contact us today to learn more! Call 940-239-6500 or reach out online.

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