A Beginner's Guide to Cybersecurity

Posted by Sam Bloedow on 12/13/17 12:57 PM

Cybercriminals are always looking for opportunities to take advantage of outdated business IT systems. This allows them to spread malicious software in order to steal sensitive financial or customer data. Bad actors (an industry term for cybercriminals) can also utilize denial of service attacks to overload business computers and prevent them from functioning properly, inhibiting productivity and profitability. Moreover, according to the US National Cybersecurity Alliance, these attacks are so devastating that 60% of small companies go under within six months of a serious data breach, which is why it’s imperative to invest in top-quality cybersecurity measures to keep your organization a step ahead of bad actors and their ever-changing tactics.

At Thriveon, we take pride in offering small to medium-sized businesses across Minnesota with all of the resources and support they need to grow and thrive. Our team provides industry-leading managed IT services and Information Technology security solutions that leverage our expertise to help clients mitigate the risk of cybercrime and achieve their business objectives. We also understand that it’s almost impossible to ensure optimal security without help from IT experts, especially when you’re busy juggling technology management with running your business. Today, we’ll be teaching you more about cybersecurity and what your company can do to bolster its defenses against cybercrime.

Is Your Business Prepared for a Cyberattack?

Many business leaders make the mistake of assuming that their current IT team already has the knowledge and time required to identify and manage potential threats. Regrettably, most small internal IT teams need to commit almost all of their efforts on putting out fires and keeping daily operations running smoothly, making it very difficult for them to research and implement the latest and greatest cybersecurity systems and practices. Bad actors often take advantage of this fact by targeting smaller businesses, knowing full well that their IT teams don’t have the resources to assemble a sufficient defense. To exacerbate matters further, the crippling effects of a successful cyberattack (including business downtime, lost productivity, loss of company assets and the costs required to clean up the breach) put even more strain on an internal IT team’s time and budget, inhibiting recovery and leaving the door wide open for the next threat.

It’s also important to note that each and every member of your business plays an important role in preventing successful cyberattacks. In fact, we’ve found that training employees on how to recognize and respond to potential cybersecurity threats is just as important as developing a solid technical defense. Many cybercriminals targeting businesses use tactics that hinge on tricking employees into opening the door to your company’s network for them. In many cases, hackers will use phishing emails and fraudulent telephone calls to manipulate employees into revealing their username and password, effectively getting them past your network firewall. From there, bad actors have access to any and all company assets, including product designs, customer records, company strategies and sensitive employee information, allowing them to steal, alter or delete any data they wish. Put simply, if your current internal IT team isn’t providing detailed security training and guidelines for your employees, then your business is at risk, regardless of how advanced or powerful its technical defenses are.

Strengthening Your Organization’s IT Security

There are four main aspects to developing a strong, secure cybersecurity system for your business. Here’s a brief rundown on each to give you a better understanding of what they entail:

  1. Technical Security Measures

This facet of cybersecurity involves key technical layers, such as firewalls, anti-virus programs, spam filters and intrusion detection systems. These applications are almost always large investments, which is why it’s critical to determine which ones will work best for your organization before purchasing them. If your internal IT team is too inexperienced or pressed for time to manage these decisions, then you should strongly consider partnering with a managed IT service provider like us. Thriveon’s team of IT professionals is always researching the most efficacious security software and practices, allowing us to support your internal staff with high-quality guidance and counsel.

  1. Backups and Recovery

No matter how strong your organization's current cybersecurity setup is, it’s impossible to provide 100% protection from every single threat. Hackers are perpetually developing new programs and tactics to attack businesses, which is why it’s imperative to develop an emergency plan in the event of a security breach. For example, Thriveon utilizes unrivaled recovery and backup procedures to guarantee that our clients’ critical data isn’t deleted. A partnership with us will allow your company to resume business operations quickly and effectively even if a hacker slips past its concrete security measures.

  1. Employee Cybersecurity Training

Once again, training your employees on how to identify and avoid potential online threats plays a pivotal part in decreasing your organization's risk of a successful breach. Luckily, cybersecurity awareness training doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive, especially when you work with Thriveon. Our robust employee education and training practices aim to develop consistent, predictable behaviors that keep your team safe from bad actor tactics.

IT Security Leadership and Guidance:

VCIOs (Virtual Chief Information Officers) are dedicated Information Technology professionals who work with businesses to develop smart, feasible IT strategies and initiatives to maximize the effectiveness of cybersecurity efforts, making them a huge boon for executives without the time or experience needed to manage and guide the organization’s IT systems. VCIOs can collaborate with your company’s management team to identify key security weaknesses and pin down opportunities to improve them without throwing your IT budget out of control. Thriveon provides a highly qualified VCIO for each client.

Interested in Learning More About Cybersecurity?

If you want to learn more about cybersecurity and what you can do to optimize your business’s current protection system, then be sure to check out our Knowledge Center. It includes helpful resources on a variety of IT topics, including a free e-book on how to optimize your organization’s cybersecurity infrastructure by establishing practical employee guidelines.download our cybersecurity ebook

Topics: Cybersecurity