What steps can companies take to improve their protection against cyber attacks?
Before you even begin to think about the security solutions you need, you should evaluate and define what IT security really means to your organization, and what you expect to get from the solutions. Do you have sensitive information that you need to protect? Is high availability your biggest priority? Define your most important assets and what needs protection. Is it your website or application? You may handle sensitive information such as credit card details or personal data, which demand high security.
Once you have identified what you want to protect, you can start thinking about how to protect it. You might need specific security measures, or maybe the entire IT environment needs to be highly secure. For companies that handle credit card information and need to comply with the PCI DSS security standard, you might want to consider using a supplier with a PCI DSS certified platform. This will facilitate compliance with the security standard.
When it comes to protection against cyber attacks, we can divide the protective measures into three categories, Defense, Detection and Response.
Improve your defense against cyber attacks
There are a number of things businesses and organizations can do to improve their defense against cyber attacks.
Patch systems, and do it regularly – Keep your systems up to date and patch them on a regular basis. This will minimize your exposure to vulnerabilities.
Educate your staff – It’s important to engage the entire company in the protection against cyber attacks. Train your staff regularly on different types of cyber attacks, such as social engineering attacks and phishing, and how the human factor plays a role.
Have good Malware protection – Protection against malware can, for example, block emails containing viruses and prevent malware from being downloaded off the Internet.
DDoS Protection – A popular type of attack for hackers is DDoS attacks. DDoS stands for Distributed-Denial-of-Service in which the attacker tries to overload systems and make services unavailable. DDoS protection allows for early detection of attacks, which in turn minimizes the impact on your services.
Detect and counteract cyber attacks
It’s impossible to completely prevent cyber attacks from taking place, but there are technical solutions you can implement to detect and counteract attacks. Here are a few.
Web application firewall to protect your application – A WAF (Web application firewall) is a firewall that protects network traffic at the application level. It checks and filters traffic to web applications. One of the advantages of WAF is its response time against threats and attacks. It quickly learns what legitimate traffic looks like, and will detect unusual traffic patterns and block that traffic. A WAF can both detect and protect against attack types such as cross-site scripting and SQL injection.
Use log management to identify attacks – In case of an incident, log management can be used to prove if an attack did in fact occur, and it can provide details of how such an attack took place. Log management ensures traceability and facilitates reporting, and allows you to control and monitor who has access to your systems. Log management will also help you answer questions like when, who, how, where.
Response – Solutions to minimize the impact of cyber attacks
I know it’s not a pleasant thought, but if your company experiences a cyber attack it is important to have measures in place to minimize the damage.
Use backup services – Backup and backup services become very important measures to protect companies against data loss. A copy of your IT environment is created, and during an incident, you can minimize downtime and recover lost data. The backup itself should be stored in a different location from the data that you have copied, to ensure that the backup itself is not lost.
Continuous evaluation and testing of security – As an additional step, we want to emphasize the importance of continuously testing the security and the protective measures you have in place. This allows you to detect and fix vulnerabilities, to ensure a high level of security. There are a number of ways you can test the security of your application. A Vulnerability Scan scans internal and external IP addresses and identifies potential security holes. Penetration tests can be described as simulated cyber attacks where security experts test how far they can get into your systems. This allows you to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses and fix them.