Businesses in Canada continue to embrace the internet and digital technologies. Although it is a necessary trend, it has the potential to expose them to damaging cybersecurity risks and threats. Both large and small enterprises must take steps to protect themselves from cyberattacks, as they never know when they will become victims of such crime.
The recent ransomware attack at Simon Fraser University (SFU) is a pointer that hackers are working round the clock. The attack affected about 25,000 students, faculty, and alumni, putting their personal information at risk. A similar attack could happen on any other business, which is why it’s crucial to take protective measures before it happens. Statistics show that approximately 21% of organizations in Canada were affected by cybersecurity incidents in 2017. A report by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre shows that cyber-related fraud incidents skyrocketed in 2020, thanks to the pandemic. They exceeded the incidents reported in 2019 by more than a third.
This tells you that you must invest in making your online systems secure. Here’s an outline of the crucial steps you must take.
Email is the most targeted entry point for cybercriminals. About 80% of the businesses affected by cyberattacks in 2020 said the incidents were via phishing attacks and email scams.
Beyond using strong passwords, having password policies in place, and training your staff on cybersecurity awareness, there’s more you can do for the security of your emails. Consider using SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and anti-phishing filters.
What is SPF?
The Sender Policy Framework is a reliable authentication technique for email. It serves to prevent spammers from sending messages from your domain. With the tool in place, you can publish authorized mail servers, alerting the receiver how trustworthy the email source is. SPF uses Domain Name Service, allowing you to specify the email server permitted to send emails on behalf of your domain.
What is DKIM?
Domain Keys Identified Mail is another email authentication method that lets the receiver check the source of the emails they receive. They can verify that it is indeed coming from the authorized owner of the domain in question. This happens by adding a digital signature or a header to the message and securing it with encryption. With this signature, there is a guarantee that the email body and attachments are not compromised.
What is DMARC?
Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance is also another crucial email validation system. It works to protect your company’s email domain from use in phishing scams, email spoofing, and other cybercrime. DMARC works by adding a layer of protection to the other email authentication techniques. It also adds an important function of reporting, allowing you to gain insight into anyone sending emails on your domain’s behalf.
What is an Anti-Phishing Filter?
Phishing emails can launch viruses, steal credentials, and lock up your data, holding it ransom. Anti-virus software does not stop such attacks and doesn’t see the threats coming. This is why you need anti-phishing filters that block spam, phishing attacks, and malware. The software identifies phishing content hidden in email, websites, and other forms that hackers use to steal data. The filters block the content and issue you with a warning to prevent fraudulent websites from posing as legitimate websites.
These email security measures are easy to implement within minutes. Anti-phishing measures are available with services like Google G-Suite and Microsoft Office 365. If you’re still using your own email server, consider switching to these services.
All your critical services, including VPNs, email accounts, financial accounts, and all applications that store sensitive information, should have MFA. Having an additional layer of authentication for account access is a reliable mechanism that stops hackers in their tracks. If they succeed in getting hold of your account login credentials, they won’t have the second factor required to access the accounts.
Having a backup strategy is vital to protecting your data. It creates a copy of your data, which you can easily retrieve if you lose your primary data. With a regular data backup strategy, you will reduce the chances of primary data loss in the unfortunate event of malware infection, system crash, or hard drive corruption. Backing up data keeps your crucial files safe and makes it easy to restore files after an incident.
Regular data backup can help you retrieve almost 100% of your files without much effort. It also minimizes the amount of data you’re likely to lose in between backups. It saves you time and resources that you would otherwise spend on data restoration. Without backup, you may spend several weeks recovering lost data. Data recovery is an essential factor that determines how likely your business is to survive after a successful cyberattack.
Are you in the habit of postponing the software updates that pop up on your computer? If yes, you might be putting your systems at risk unknowingly. Software updates are crucial for cybersecurity and digital safety and offer several benefits.
Updates are all about revisions of your software, which include repairing security holes and removing computer bugs. They can also add new features and remove obsolete ones.
Software updates also help in patching security flaws, which hackers thrive on when attacking your systems. A weakness in your software gives hackers a chance to write codes targeting that vulnerability. They then package the code into malware, enabling them to steal data from your device when you click on a compromised message.
The other importance of software updates is to help protect your data. You store a lot of personal information and documents on your devices. You also have financial accounts and other personally identifiable information that belongs to your clients. The last thing you would want is to expose it to fraudsters. Once they get hold of it, they sell it on the dark web to facilitate further crimes. By updating your software and operating systems to the latest versions, you can keep hackers out.
When your business becomes a victim of a cyberattack, the consequences can be heavy and costly. Stress, financial loss, and compromised financial and personal information create negative impacts on business relationships.
While investing in cybersecurity measures is costly and time-consuming, it has a high reward on investment. Working with a professional in cybersecurity issues assures you that your systems are well protected.
Compunet works with businesses in Vancouver to provide IT support for enhanced cybersecurity. We jump into immediate action if and when we detect a cybersecurity issue. Contact us today for around-the-clock cybersecurity monitoring of your systems.
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