September 9, 2021

6 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Cyber Attacks

by: Align

The number of companies that fall victim to cyber attacks steadily increases every year. Cybint Solutions reports that 64% of companies worldwide have experience at least one form of cyberattack in the past year. The pandemic has also revealed an increase in hacked and breached data, with remote workers causing a security breach in 20% of organizations, according to Malwarebytes. What's more, 77% of organizations don't have an incident response plan. 

While falling victim to such attacks is not necessarily in direct correlation with an organization’s lack of security, there are ways to improve organizational and individual habits to help bolster security and significantly lower risk. In this article, we have outlined six ways to reduce the risk of cyber attacks.

Reduce Data Transfers

As the amount of employees who work remotely continues to increase, transferring data from business devices to other devices is inevitable.

While it may appear secure, keeping work data on external or personal devices may expose your data to hackers. Partnering or consulting with an experienced cybersecurity provider will help determine devices or endpoints that are exposed and how to better secure them.

Download Discernment

Downloading files from the internet without verifying their sources can expose devices to many types of security risks. Some of the common types of malware encountered after downloading files from untrustworthy sources include the following:

  • Ransomware: Malicious software that, upon downloading to a computer, encrypts files so they can no longer be accessed. Alternatively, it locks down the entire operating system, so anything is inaccessible to the user.
  • Adware: Unintended advertising that offers free downloads.
  • Scareware: False advertisements about viruses.

It is always important to verify sources and avoid unnecessary downloads to lower your device susceptibility from malware. 

Strong Passwords

Using good password hygiene is key to protecting against a variety of hacks. It's been reported that 63% of all organizational internal data breach is a result of compromised usernames and passwords.

Setting strong and unpredictable password using random strings letters and special characters for each account, changing the passwords on a regular basis and not writing them down or sharing them with colleagues is a practical way to protect company data. 

This can all be easily and securely done by using a reputable password manager that stores and generates encrypted passwords. 

Software Updates

While software updates are often free, like those that are regularly provided by Microsoft, end users may ignore or postpone installing those updates due to busy schedules. Software companies are continually providing these patches to make their products more secure, and not installing them can make devices highly vulnerable to an attack, so don’t make a habit out of skipping them. 

Monitor Data Leakage

Data leaks that compromise sensitive or proprietary data can be incredibly damaging to a company’s reputation. There are a variety of ways that data leaks can occur, including, but not limited to:

  • Sharing internal data with vendors who have risky security practices
  • Saving information on unsecured devices
  • Transmitting data over an unsecured Wi-Fi 

Retaining a professional cybersecurity team to regularly monitor where data resides and identifying and mitigating existing leaks will help you to lower the risk of data exfiltration.  

Develop a Breach Response Plan

Breaches can still happen for companies with security checkpoints and security guards. Establishing an incident management plan helps any type of organization determine how to respond in a real-life scenario and how to contain the damage. 

Align’s subject matter experts leverage over three decades of experience to provide award-winning Managed IT Services and Cybersecurity Risk Management Solutions.

Align’s Customized Cybersecurity Programs, Managed Threat Protection and Education Models can help your business identify and mitigate cyber risks. Our unique end-to-end cybersecurity solution and collaborative approach allow us to detect risks and identify threat points embedded in virtually all business functions across the cybersecurity risk management spectrum.

Interested in learning more?

Reach out to one of Align's cybersecurity and information security experts today, by clicking here or the button below. 

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