Cybersecurity is a billion-dollar industry – and we’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars! That means there’s a solution for every company, even if you’re looking for budget-friendly options. You can’t shy away from choosing one now because threat actors are always around. So, how can you pick the perfect cybersecurity solution?
Companies looking to pick a cybersecurity solution should consider their budget, compliance requirements, and risks, among other things. They’ll have to look for a defense that includes monitoring, recovery, and proactiveness. Other measures, such as audits and pen tests, are a must.
It’ll seem like there’s too much information thrown at your face if this is your first time looking for a cybersecurity solution. Have no fear! We’ll walk you through the entire process, including the characteristics and features you need, what you can do right now, and what to do after picking the right security solution.
- 5 Things That’ll Determine Your Security Solution
- 4 Elements That Define a Cybersecurity Solution
- 3 Ways You Can Improve Your Cybersecurity Now
- The Many Threats That Could Hurt Your Company
- Who’s Behind Cyberattacks?
- How Can You Test Your Cybersecurity?
- What Do Companies Tend To Overlook in Cybersecurity?
5 Things That’ll Determine Your Security Solution
The very first thing you have to do is look at how much money you want to spend on cybersecurity. You should know what happens when a breach takes place before doing that: customers leave, the government fines you, and lawsuits are at the door.
In other words, spending a little extra on cybersecurity will ensure you don’t have financial issues after a cyberattack.
The government will demand different things from you depending on your business. It’s not the same to run an e-commerce website as owning a healthcare company. There are different rules and regulations for each sector.
You’ll have to do more of an effort when you handle sensitive data – because that’s what the law will ask from you. Doing so will benefit your company too.
Your cybersecurity posture has nothing to do with standing straight: it’s all about the role you want to take against possible cyberattacks. Will you have a more relaxed posture – or be on high alert at all times?
The context your company is going through usually dictates its posture. For example, you’ll have to switch things up if you’ve suffered constant DDoS attacks lately.
Your preferred cybersecurity solution will be related to the risks your company faces. Do you handle sensitive data? Money transactions? Are you a contractor providing services to the government? Each one of those things comes with risks that you’ll need to deal with.
Fortunately, no risk is too big when you choose the perfect cybersecurity solution. You need to make an informed decision to make that happen.
There are a lot of threats you may face online. We know it’s not a pretty picture – but you shouldn’t give up because of that. Setting your defenses and being on top of your game will be enough to stop all threat actors in their tracks.
We’re talking about dealing with malware, phishing attacks, and other tactics we’ll discuss in the second part of this article.
4 Elements That Define a Cybersecurity Solution
- Defense. The first element in cybersecurity is what you would expect from this area. It needs to defend your company from any attacks by threat actors or anyone else. It seems silly to point it out, but your cybersecurity solution should focus on that.
- Monitoring. Paying attention to what happens within your company is pretty much one of the cornerstones of cybersecurity. Monitoring will let you know when there’s a spike in suspicious activity, which could signal an attack, a misconfiguration issue, and other dangerous stuff.
- Recovery. You need to be prepared to face a worst-case scenario. We’re talking about losing your data or worse. The best way to do so is to have backups ready and waiting for this scenario.
- Proactiveness. We recommend having a proactive cybersecurity approach. As we’ve explained above, you need to be ready for every scenario. You will have poor results if you wait until an attack happens to figure out how to act.
3 Ways You Can Improve Your Cybersecurity Now
1. Encrypt and Backup Everything
Threat actors often go after money and data. You have to protect both to the best of your abilities, and the best way to make that happen is to use encryption as much as you can.
Imagine a hacker manages to gain unauthorized access to your servers and downloads tons of sensitive information. You could be out of luck and face a data breach if you’ve done nothing before that. In contrast, encrypting that information could save you from exposing your customers or company.
At the same time, you may suffer data loss from using faulty hardware or any other issues, so backing up data is always the smart move.
2. Create (And Enforce) Guidelines
It’s difficult for employees to know how to act online: cybersecurity is far from easy for beginners and not-so-tech-savvy people. That doesn’t mean you don’t have the tools to guide them in the right direction.
Your company should have cybersecurity guidelines that are simple and straightforward to follow. Focus on how to use something and briefly explain what dangers are out there to create the perfect security guidelines.
We recommend avoiding using jargon and difficult concepts. Your guidelines should be simple enough for everyone to follow – and straightforward so you can avoid people falling into bad habits.
3. Outsource Your Cybersecurity
This option could help big and small companies alike, though it depends on how much you want to spend.
Big companies can benefit from outsourcing their cybersecurity to cut costs and have an efficient approach to dealing with threat actors.
Small companies could benefit from doing the same by spending their security budget on an option that’ll show better results than if they had an in-house security department.
Medium-sized companies could also benefit from going down this route. Outsourcing your security often means scaling your cybersecurity efforts with little trouble, which is perfect for companies that want to expand their operations.
The Many Threats That Could Hurt Your Company
One small breach can cause huge trouble, costing more than 8 million dollars on average – but the problem won’t stop there: customers will stop doing business with companies that don’t take proper care of their data.
The main focus of cybersecurity is to stop data breaches, most of the time that is. You can do so by having a proactive and reactive security approach, shifting left, and using a few more strategies we have talked about before.
A data breach is the worst thing that could happen, though it’s far from the only thing – as you’ll see below.
Malware has been an issue since the late 1970s – and this threat hasn’t stopped growing since. We know because studies show that half a million new malware variations pop up daily. That’s close to 200 million new malware roaming around online every year.
The thing about malware is the effect it has on devices and networks: it could be close to harmless to absolutely devastating. Unfortunately, companies that handle sensitive data deal with the latter more often than the former.
There are pieces of malware so dangerous we’ve decided to talk about them separately on this list, as you’ll see below.
One ransomware attack could render your entire network useless – until you pay the ransom.
How does ransomware work? A piece of malware infects your device and encrypts the data hosted there. Chances are it’ll spread around your network while it encrypts every file it stumbles upon. The threat actor behind the infection will ask for a ransom to release your system from its clutch.
Follow cybersecurity best practices if you want to avoid a ransomware infection. Containing and eliminating the threat is what you must do in a worst-case scenario. Sometimes, there’s nothing left to do but pay the ransom.
Hackers send countless emails every day, hoping users will fall for their scams. Sometimes, they don’t rely on a numbers game to find victims but target specific people.
What does that mean? One hacker could target your employees to compromise them. They’ll send a fake email impersonating an IT employee to get their login credentials – and manage to gain unauthorized access to your network that way.
We often think of phishing scams as the silly spam we receive daily – but the best in the business create incredible emails people can’t help but fall for.
Hackers don’t need to fool your employees into giving up their login credentials in certain scenarios. These cybercriminals can look online for details that’ll help them guess or crack the passwords they want.
Hackers look for personal information that people often include in their passwords (we recommend not doing this) and work from there. That’s what social engineering is. The worst part is most people don’t realize they’re giving themselves up when sharing information online.
Social media profiles make you the perfect target for this attack. We recommend setting your accounts to private for that reason. Deleting inactive accounts is a must too.
What if the threat doesn’t come from the outside? Certain employees are in the perfect position to cause as much damage as possible – and a few of them will take the opportunity to do so.
Insider threats are often disgruntled or former employees looking to hurt a company or steal money from them. The best way to reduce the chance of this happening is to limit employee access on a need-to-know basis.
Threat actors compromise employees and turn them into insider threats in certain cases. Other times, hackers will frame employees using their login credentials.
Monitoring for suspicious activity helps detect these cases.
You may experience what seems to be an insider threat – but it is only negligence. It happens more often than you think.
Misconfiguration is self-explanatory: using the wrong system configuration. It could mean a lot of things, from leaving the wrong port open to forgetting to update software.
Yes, misconfiguration comes in many shapes and forms, though it often ends up the same way: hackers take advantage of those mistakes.
Fortunately, you can run automated scans to figure out the many misconfiguration issues you may suffer. Make sure you right those wrongs as soon as you find them.
More and more companies are handling sensitive data. Governments around the world are creating new laws to protect their citizens’ privacy for that reason – but that doesn’t mean all companies toe the line.
We recommend not entertaining the idea of noncompliance – because it can cost you millions of dollars in fines if you go through with that thought. It also puts you at a greater risk of suffering a data breach.
In other words, non-compliance with regulatory laws puts a target on your back: both criminals and law enforcement will go after you, putting you in a very vulnerable position.
Who’s Behind Cyberattacks?
The poster boy for cyberattacks is always a threat actor. They come from all over the world and have different skill sets, though they’re always in it for the money. Your company will brush against more than one threat actor – and, hopefully, come out on top each time.
You shouldn’t fear threat actors but respect them. They know their way around technology. Unfortunately, they use their skills to cause harm rather than help people. You have to be prepared for their attack regardless of their intention.
Do you know the difference between a cyberterrorist and a threat actor? Threat actors go after money, while cyberterrorists want to instill fear in people’s lives.
That’s far from the worst part. Cyberterrorism is often state-sponsored to wage cyberwarfare. Unfortunately, every country in the world is involved in cyberwarfare to some degree, though the usual suspects are Iran, Russia, and North Korea – but western nations don’t shy away from it either.
Companies that handle sensitive data (such as financial or medical information) or work in infrastructure should be on high alert regarding cyberterrorism, which often targets these companies.
We have talked above (and in other articles) about how your employees can compromise your cybersecurity: they can become insider threats, commit misconfiguration mistakes, and cause other issues.
What’s the best way to mitigate staff issues? Schedule regular training for them. The more they know, the harder it’ll be for them to make a mistake or have a hacker compromise them.
We recommend training your staff at least once per quarter. It’s easy for employees to forget cybersecurity best practices or fall into bad habits after a while, so your company should make an effort to help everyone remember those concepts.
How Can You Test Your Cybersecurity?
An audit sheds light on your company’s cybersecurity: from outdated software to poor programming practices and beyond. It’ll deal with things like compliance too, so you have no trouble with law enforcement while you protect your customer data from criminals.
It also adds a certain degree of transparency to your company. Most companies hire third-party auditors to do the work – because it’s rather untrustworthy to have your own people audit your own projects.
An ethical hacker will look at the way your network works and your source code (if we’re talking software or websites). In other words, it’ll look at your system from the inside.
You could do that yourself or have your IT department do it for you, though it’s always a good idea to have a fresh pair of eyes take a look at whatever you’re working on.
It’s similar to an audit – but not quite. A cybersecurity audit will take a comprehensive look at your company’s cybersecurity, while an ethical hacker will only deal with tech (and not things like compliance, for example).
A penetration test is a way of doing black box testing: a third-party security analyst will play the part of a threat actor and try to gain unauthorized access from the outside.
Your security analyst of choice will have no knowledge about your network or system, unlike an ethical hacker would. Doing so helps you understand how a threat actor would perform an attack in real life, so you can shed light on your network’s issues.
Experts recommend doing pen tests once or twice per year, though we recommend doing it once per quarter for larger companies and those expanding their operations.
Real-life events will put your cybersecurity to the test sooner rather than later. It could be a great opportunity to show your cybersecurity solution – or a catastrophic situation that shows how unprepared your company was.
We recommend putting effort into finding your company in the first scenario rather than the second one. It’s difficult to see how your defenses will react during a real attack, no matter how many pen testers and ethical hackers you hire – because real life has unexpected twists and turns.
You can simulate a cyberattack to get as close as you can to seeing your company’s cybersecurity defense.
You don’t have to wait for a real cyberattack to know where your cybersecurity stands. You can hire hackers to simulate an attack to test the waters. It’ll be a mixture of ethical hacking and pen testing.
This test is what we often call Red vs. Blue team exercises. You’ll have hackers on either team: the red team will attack your system while the blue team defends it. This type of exercise is a great way to shed light on your defense system, cybersecurity guidelines, and more.
Of course, it costs money and time to do so. Certain companies do so every once in a while – and others disregard it entirely. We recommend picking the first option.
What Do Companies Tend To Overlook in Cybersecurity?
It’s almost impossible to create software in a vacuum anymore. Most projects are so advanced and intertwined that you’ll probably need to borrow a library or connect to other software (or both).
Unfortunately, that leads to certain issues. You can’t control what’s happening inside the many dependencies you use, exposing you to possible trouble in the process.
So, how can you deal with third-party dependencies? The best way to do so is to choose them right – or, even better, replace them with software your company develops (though we understand that’s far from a choice sometimes).
Are you taking the time to research the vendors you do business with? Most (if not all) companies do business with several software and hardware vendors – and it only takes one bad apple to cause serious trouble.
Why would vendors compromise your company? They can do so for money or out of negligence. The result is the same either way. Imagine if your cloud provider suffered a data leak: the very same thing would happen to you.
We recommend vetting vendors the same way you do employees for that reason: take the time to research their backgrounds and recent activity.
Did you know that almost every website has the chance of running outdated software? This scenario is catastrophic – and we hope your next project is not part of that statistic.
Let’s make an important distinction here: outdated software is a project no longer supported by developers, meaning no patches will be released. In contrast, unpatched software are products you need to update today.
Outdated software puts your projects at risk because vulnerabilities will pile up and be made public. In other words, hackers will have a great resource of attacks to target you if you’re using this type of software – and no cybersecurity solution can deal with that.
Picking the right cybersecurity solution involves many factors, including your budget, customer data, and external threats. You shouldn’t disregard other things, such as what you must expect from your solution of choice. After establishing your security model, you need to continue working: regular audits and pen tests are a must.