8 cybersecurity technologies every business needs

by | Nov 21, 2018

Your next big cybersecurity breach could happen at any moment. If you don’t have the right technology in place, then your business is a sitting duck.

And let’s face it … It’s not just the “big” attacks you need to worry about, either. Chances are your organization is already being bombarded with attempted breaches every day. They come in the form of malware-infected spam, phishing attacks, drive-by downloads, system exploits and more.

As malware has evolved over the years, so has the face of cybersecurity. Businesses today need to keep up, or they risk becoming the next victim.

Here are the technologies you need to deploy.

 

1) Antimalware & virus protection

Let’s start with the obvious one. Every business needs a good anti-malware solution. Full stop.

Anti-malware software will generally fend off the majority of everyday attacks businesses face. If your users visit websites they shouldn’t, antimalware can block access. When users try to open malicious attachments or click questionable links, antimalware can stop an infection from dropping. When strains of viruses and other malware are detected, the software can quarantine it and alert administrators.

If you already have antimalware installed, then all of these defenses are probably already being triggered at your organization every day. That’s a good thing. You know it’s working.

Here are some things to keep in mind for your antimalware:

  • Schedule scans to run automatically on every machine / endpoint
  • Turn on active monitoring to prevent known malicious sites & web apps from loading
  • Set software to update automatically
  • Look for scalable solutions that allow streamlined management of all endpoints from a single pane of glass

 

2) Data backup & business continuity

Any surprises here?

If you are not actively backing up your data, you’re in for a world of hurt when the next big cyberattack arrives. Numerous forms of malware can compromise your data – the big one being ransomware. Whether your data has been encrypted, stolen or lost by employees, you need a way to recover it—fast.

An extended loss of critical data will disrupt your operations, skyrocket your recovery costs and make survival that much harder.

What should you look for in a business continuity solution these days? Here are our top recommendations:

  • Hybrid cloud backup, so that your data is recoverable both on-site and in the cloud
  • Inverse chain technology (Datto) for more resilient and efficient backups
  • Ability to back up your data more frequently without bogging down your system resources
  • Faster recovery options, including virtualization for instant access to your data and applications in a virtual environment
  • For added protection against ransomware, we like Datto’s BDRs, because they automatically detect a ransomware footprint at the first signs of an infection

 

3) Network appliances & firewalls

With the right networking technology, you can block a lot of threats from entering your network in the first place. Not only that, but your network configurations and firewalls can work in tandem with your antimalware to prevent dangerous outgoing transmissions as well.

Firewall appliances like the Datto DNA come with built-in firewall capabilities, as well as integrated 4G LTE Internet failover, so that your teams can still access the Internet even when your primary connection is down. Firewalls can also give you control over what’s happening on your network, like users sharing music, using multiplayer games or activities that put your systems at risk.

Network cybersecurity has come a long way over the years. Here are some key security features to look for these days:

  • Layer 2 protocol analysis for stronger intrusion prevention
  • Layer 7 deep packet inspection, so that your systems can detect potentially harmful data as it transmits through your applications
  • VLAN segregation to ensure that different levels of users/traffic remain securely separated from each other
  • Advanced protection against zero-day exploits, which take advantage of known network vulnerabilities

 

4) Intrusion detection & prevention (IDS/IPS)

Let’s break out this one into its own category, even though it’s increasingly built into network hardware.

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and their counterparts, Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), work to prevent threats from targeting devices or applications on your network. Whereas anti-malware software will analyze the data on your computers, IDS/IPS technologies will scan the data passing through your networks.

IPS goes a bit further than IDS by actively blocking threats as they’re detected, whereas IDS is typically more passive in how it monitors traffic and sends its results to an administrator.

IPS/IDS systems do the extra cybersecurity work that traditional firewalls do not by examining the actual contents of a network packet. So for example, even when a packet arrives from a benign IP address, an IPS system can analyze what’s in the packet to stop hidden threats in their tracks, preventing them from moving any further in the network.

 

5) Email scanning & filtering tools

Likely, these are already built into your antimalware systems or email clients. But we need to stress how important they are.

Email is by far the most common delivery method for malware. According to a 2017 report by Symantec, “a user is almost twice as likely to encounter malware through email than they are through the next most common infection method, exploit kits.” Additionally, 54% of all email traffic today is spam. So if you aren’t employing every tool possible to block these messages from hitting your inboxes, then you’re leaving the business at risk.

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As it relates to email, here are some of the tools and protocols you need to be implementing:

  • Scan all incoming and outgoing email to detect threats
  • Use strong email filters to prevent malicious messages from reaching users (this alone can help significantly reduce your risk of phishing and other attacks)
  • Prevent email spoofing by authenticating inbound emails with technologies like Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance (DMARC), and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
  • Filter executable files from reaching end users
  • Disable macro scripts from Office files sent by email and use Office Viewer tools to inspect emailed Office files without fully opening them in the applications.

 

6) Account controls, permissions and monitoring

If you’re an IT person, then you’re probably thinking, “These are hardly advanced technologies,” – and you’d be right. Tools like account access controls are nothing new. And yet, so many businesses are failing to utilize them, making their networks more vulnerable to sprawling cyberattacks.

Let’s take a ransomware attack, for example. By design, many strains of ransomware will attempt to spread outward as far as they can. If the user’s account has no limits to the directories it can access, and no restrictions on its ability to overwrite files, then the ransomware, too, will have free reign across your network.

On the flipside, if the account is limited to a single directory or even select folders, then the infection generally won’t be able to spread.

Using access controls is one of the most effective ways to prevent malware from compromising all your data. Be sure to configure accounts with the approach of least privilege: give users write access to only the folders and files they absolutely need.

Additionally, use account monitoring tools to manage both system and application accounts. This gives you more insight into new, dormant or suspicious accounts that could be exploited by attackers.

 

7) Data encryption

This one is especially important for any business that handles highly sensitive data, such as medical records, financial data and personally identifiable information. Even if your systems successfully encrypt data when it’s in transit (i.e. through email or over a network), you need to make sure the data is encrypted when “at rest” too.

If your data is just sitting on a server, or in a backup, completely exposed, then there is always the risk of that data being compromised.

Why take the risk? If you can’t afford to have sensitive data fall into the wrong hands, use encryption in your databases and in your backups.

 

8) Penetration testing & vulnerability assessment

How do you know your cybersecurity defenses will actually work? When an attack actually arrives, how can you be sure that all your deployments will effectively block the threats?

The answer is: with ongoing penetration testing.

You need to assess your infrastructure’s vulnerabilities on a regular basis. And with penetration tests, you can actually see how well your defenses perform against a mock attack.

There are numerous third-party penetration test service providers out there that can test your network from the outside. This isn’t a bad approach, as it creates a more realistic scenario for attack. Additionally, you can use software and/or cloud apps to perform the tests yourself and reconfigure them to meet your specific needs.

Regardless of which tools you implement, the important thing is that you’re actually verifying the strength of your cybersecurity as often as possible.

 

One final powerful defense that doesn’t involve another technology deployment

While the technologies above are extremely important for preventing a cyberattack, there’s one more component that’s perhaps even more important … employee education.

Any IT professional will tell you that employee education is one of the most effective cybersecurity measures you can implement. The reason is that most attacks generally start with unsuspecting employees opening an email or attachment that they shouldn’t.

You must properly train all personnel on several aspects of cybersecurity:

  • How to safely use email/web
  • Identifying suspicious emails, attachments and phishing attacks
  • Risks of installing unapproved software or connecting personal devices
  • Consequences and costs of a successful cyberattack when proper caution is not taken

You might not be able to prevent every attack. But by implementing this training along with the technologies above, you can significantly reduce your risk of a breach that devastates your business.

 

Leverage the best cybersecurity technologies: deploy the best data protection for your business

Protect your data from a cybersecurity disaster with business continuity solutions from Datto and Invenio IT. For more information, request a free demo or contact our experts today by calling (646) 395-1170 or by emailing [email protected].

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Tracy Rock is the Director of Marketing at Invenio IT. Tracy is responsible for all media-related initiatives as well as external communications—including, branding, public relations, promotions, advertising and social media. She is one busy lady and we are lucky to have her!