Cyberattacks are a major nuisance that aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Growing at an estimated 15% year over year, cybercrime costs to organizations worldwide are forecast to reach $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. This is a significant increase from 2015, when the global toll from cyberattacks was $3 trillion, as reported by Cybercrime Magazine.
The threat of cyberattacks has soared since businesses around the world adopted remote work in the wake of the pandemic. But the mechanics of cyberattacks have more or less remained the same, redirected on a new, weaker target: the remote workforce. This increase in attacks highlights just how unprepared many organizations were when workforces around the globe shifted to remote work.
The silver lining, however, is that because cyberattacks themselves haven't changed much, you can implement basic security measures to mitigate this rising threat to your remote workforce. Apart from antivirus solutions and VPNs, we'll be looking at a few cyber best practices that are often overlooked when hybrid work scenarios are adopted by an organization.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security feature that provides additional protection beyond passwords. MFA requires two or more forms of identification, such as the use of two passwords, an authenticator app, or a password with biometrics.
With MFA enabled, user accounts will have an added layer of security. For example, say your organization uses a combination of a username and password along with a one-time password (OTP) sent to the user's cell phone or an authenticator app. Even even if a user falls for a phishing scam and an attacker obtains their credentials, the attacker won't be able to log in without also having access to the user's OTP.
Traditional network access, through a VPN for instance, considers a device trustworthy once it passes the security layer. On the other hand, Zero Trust network access (ZTNA) considers every network device hostile until it is proven to be trustworthy. As a result, the network is continuously monitored for potential threats by a ZTNA controller.
The ZTNA approach of "trust no user or entity by default" has been gaining traction in the IT community. It can be applied to VPN and proxy services, and to other services that rely on trust between the client and server.
Data encryption means making information, like your passwords and sensitive data, unreadable to anyone who shouldn't have access to it—like hackers or snooping spouses. Data encryption is a preventive measure that protects users from the disclosure of sensitive information during a ransomware or other type of cyberattack.
Endpoint protection prevents unauthorized access to machines. Endpoints can be office computers, mobile phones, tablets, routers, and other devices and they can be accessing your network from both on-premises or remote locations. Endpoint protection is a broad term that includes multiple facets such as vulnerability management, browser security, and application control. When you use an endpoint protection solution like ManageEngine Desktop Central to manage your endpoints, you can bundle all endpoint security features in a single security add-on.
Regular training and security audits
While securing your organization, a fresh perspective from a third-party security company is helpful. If your boardroom budget can afford it, it is wise to periodically conduct an unbiased evaluation of your organization's security process. This analysis can detect weak areas, determine if your security training is adequate, and provide clarity on regulation compliance.
Automating patches and software updates
Applying patches and software updates is crucial for overall cyberhygiene, but do you have these processes automated? If not, it's high time you do. Installing patches and software updates as soon as they are released may sound mundane and trivial, but considering unpatched systems remain a major target of cyberattacks, applying patches and updates quickly is essential. Automating the process helps you reduce your attack surface with minimal human intervention.
Following the above practices will not make you impervious to cyberattacks, but it will reduce the chances of an attack by a considerable extent. After installing state of the art cybersecurity hardware and software, there's one last thing to consider—human error. A solution like Desktop Central can minimize human intervention and automate regular IT tasks while also securing your workforce. You can explore ManageEngine Desktop Central, try its features on unlimited endpoints with a free 30-day trial.
So as we continue to adapt, evolve, and grow our cybersecurity arsenal, the key to implementing and utilizing these sophisticated systems properly is employee education. Without proper employee education on security measures and recommendations, threat actors will continue to come up with creative ways to put you and your organization at risk.