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One of the most important areas of a technology infrastructure is cybersecurity. It’s an area that’s always evolving to match new and emerging threats and if IT security is not kept updated, a company could suffer a devastating attack.

The average cost of a data breach for a small business is between $120,000 to $1.2 million. Because of the risk involved with just one ransomware or spyware attack, it’s vital to review cybersecurity safeguards at least annually to see where upgraded may be needed.

Few years have been as impactful to IT security as 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The disruption caused globally led to a sharp rise in phishing attacks and online cybercrime across the spectrum of threats.

The FBI reported an increase in cyberattacks of 400% due to the pandemic.

We’ve looked at two important factors to identify where the best IT security upgrades for 2021 should be. One is a survey of small businesses to large enterprises on how the pandemic has shaped their planned cybersecurity spending plans for the new year. 

The second is the Sophos 2021 Threat Report that looks at the most prevailing threats of 2020, which give insight into new and emerging security challenges for businesses.

Cybersecurity Upgrade Considerations This Year

Defenses Against Ransomware

Ransomware attacks have been growing in both frequency and ransom demand costs. The Sophos report found that ransomware attacks have graduated from one-offs by hackers to becoming a lucrative undertaking by large criminal cartels.

With large criminal enterprises conducting ransomware attacks, they’ve become more sophisticated and efficient. Attacks that previously took weeks to complete, can now be executed in mere hours.

Important protections against ransomware include the following:

  • Email spam/phishing filter
  • Email security policies that block malicious attachments 
  • DNS filtering to block dangerous websites
  • Next-gen firewall with advanced threat protection capabilities 

Identity and Access Management

One area where both SMBs and large enterprises say they are spending more money in 2021 is identity and access management. With so much company data now hosted in cloud platforms, login credentials have become the “golden ticket” to breach a cloud provider.

Once a hacker is logged in as a user, they can conduct an insider attack to:

  • Steal files and sensitive data
  • Send targeted phishing from the company’s domain
  • Change permissions, add users, etc.
  • Plant spyware or ransomware
  • Have a user’s email forwarded to them (giving them access to password reset emails)

It’s vital to put access management at the top of your list of priorities for this year. Some of the things you can do to improve the security of user accounts at your Denver area business include:

  • Setting app policies that require strong passwords and reject weak ones
  • Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) on all user accounts
  • Use a business password manager 
  • Implementing advanced identity management to do things like add extra challenge questions if a user is logging in from outside your region

Security for Remote Teams

The number of employees permanently working remotely is expected to double this year. A legacy of the pandemic is the acceleration of a telecommuting workforce, and many companies are permanently adapting to this new reality. 

But remote teams have often been left without proper security due to the speed that companies had to adjust to stay-at-home orders, without getting much time to prepare.

36% of organizations say that they’ve suffered an IT security incident because of an unsecure remote employee.

Securing remote teams should be a big priority for your business this year. This includes putting things in place like device security and monitoring through a managed IT plan and implementing a business VPN to secure connections over those less secure home Wi-Fis.

Endpoint Security for Mobile & IoT Devices

Nontraditional platforms (mobile and IoT) are being attacked in higher frequency, and they’re often not as well protected by things like antivirus or DNS filtering as computers and servers.

Mobile devices now make up about 60% of the endpoints in an organization, leaving companies at a pretty big risk of a breach if they’re not tracking employee smartphone and tablet access to their data and business apps. 

IoT devices are also posing an increased risk to business networks because they’re usually last in line in security discussions and they often are defaulted by manufacturers to “over share” data.

It’s important to put a policy in place for securing mobile and IoT devices, including using an endpoint device manager, such as Microsoft Intune, which is included in the Microsoft 365 Business Premium plan.

Endpoint managers allow you to:

  • Monitor device access to your assets
  • Grant or revoke access remotely
  • Push updates and security patches automatically
  • Lock or wipe a lost or stolen device
  • Set standard security policies across all mobile devices

Get an IT Security Assessment to See Where You Stand 

Any cybersecurity upgrade strategy should begin with an assessment of where you stand and what vulnerabilities need to be addressed. B-Comp Services can help you with an assessment and an affordable plan to stay protected.

Contact us today to get started. Call at 303-282-4934 or contact us online.

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