Recent attacks on businesses such as Travelex and SolarWinds have proven that cyber criminals can have a damaging effect on even the most solid of businesses.
However, whilst the situation may sound grave, there are many steps you can take to protect your business from cyber attacks and secure your data.
In the latest episode of Elite Chat, our Chief Revenue Officer and host, Adam Turton sat down with our Commercial Director, Phil Scanlon, and our Head of IT – Cloud Services, Ian Grobler, to discuss the importance of businesses investing in cyber security solutions and how you can safeguard your business.
Adam Turton | Chief Revenue Officer
Adam oversees Sales, Marketing and Customer Experience at Elite Group and is one of its longest standing board members, with almost 20 years of experience within the B2B Technology and Communications sector.
Find Adam Turton on LinkedIn.
Phil Scanlon | Commercial Director – IT services
Phil’s skills, knowledge and experience in the sector span some 35 years. His background in managing IT support and solution companies, as well as providing organisations with complete technology solutions, has earned him a solid reputation in the industry. Phil is passionate about helping businesses to understand cloud technology and improving their cyber security.
Find Phil Scanlon on LinkedIn.
Ian Grobler | Head of IT – Cloud Services
Ian has over 30 years of experience in the technology industry. His knowledge is second to none and he has spent the past 5 years working closely with Microsoft on Microsoft 365 and Azure Services. His expertise includes designing cloud and IT infrastructure and solutions to enable businesses to perform more productively and profitably and protect them from the threat posed by cyber attacks.
Find Ian Grobler on LinkedIn.
What are the most common cyber security threats that are impacting businesses at the moment?
Technology – whether you love it, hate it or you fall somewhere in between, there is no denying that it is becoming a bigger part of our lives. Our digital world is expanding as more people work from home and companies are, increasingly, taking their businesses online. Unfortunately, as our digital activity increases, it opens up more opportunities for cyber criminals, leading to new advancements in cyber security threats and digital crime.
“I’d say the most common [threats] out there today are targeted ransomware and extortion attacks”, Phil explained, “where cyber criminals steal your business data and then publish the stolen data on the web or use it to hold businesses to ransom.”
Phil continued to explain that the threat of a ransomware attack is absolutely real and the risk should not be ignored.
Ian Grobler agreed saying:
“The key precaution for businesses is to accept that it is only a matter of time, rather than when an attack will take place.”
With so much of our data being stored online through social networks, criminals are taking advantage and using your information in order to construct attacks that are more targeted. Phil outlined that one of the most common methods cyber criminals are using is ‘social engineering’. This involves criminals using data stored on social networks to send personalised messages to individuals to gain access to data or hacking into emails directly. As emails are a big part of every business system, the threat is most certainly real.
What is the best way for businesses to assess the strength of their cyber security protection?
So now we know that cyber security threats are becoming more advanced, targeted and frequent, businesses need to know if their security measures are up to the task of protecting their data. Gone are the days when businesses could simply rely on antivirus or smart software on desktops.
“The first thing any organisation needs to do is perform a simple cyber security risk assessment on your own business.” Phil explained.
Business owners can conduct this risk assessment themselves or if they are worried that they are not sure how to achieve this or that there may be gaps in their assessment, then they can employ an external organisation, such as Elite, to complete this for them.
What technologies should businesses be looking to invest in?
Traditional security measures, such as antivirus, still have a role to play when it comes to protecting your data. Although they may be simplistic, they can make a good start in keeping your business information and platforms secure. However, as we’ve mentioned, cyber attacks are becoming more advanced and targeted, so it is important that businesses go the extra mile and add other solutions to strengthen their security.
“Multi-factor authentication is still one of the single most effective ways of mitigating security risk”, Ian explained.
Ian went on to talk about investing in other effective security solutions, such comprehensive EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) tools and traditional perimeter security, which all play a role in effectively defending your data from cyber attacks.
Cloud technology is also a beneficial innovation, with most businesses taking a hybrid approach using both traditional and cloud solutions. One of the main benefits of utilising cloud technology, is that it has a lot of security technology and tools already embedded in their infrastructure. So, moving to a cloud provider space may bring a lot of security benefits, which you can then build on to create an impenetrable security defence.
In essence, having security tools and solutions is better than having no tools at all, so businesses need to ensure that they are investing in some sort of security solution. However it is most beneficial to look at your business’s security from an end point of view and investing wisely in tools that are a good fit for your business and its needs in order to provide a strong defence against cyber criminals.
“There’s a number of cyber security solutions a business can invest in from a technical point of view to improve GDPR compliance. One of those for example, is encryption – which is something that, technically, is seen as a very good mitigating factor in terms of protecting data.”
“You will find that, inherently, most cloud applications, these days, have a lot of security built into the services that would traditionally cost a small business a lot of money to deploy internally or on your own servers or on your own systems.”
“To demonstrate how real this is, we’ve had businesses come to us who’ve had total loss of their entire systems – fully encrypted, including the backup. So these kind of ransomware attacks are real. They cripple a business. Just to recover from those can take weeks, months – some businesses don’t recover.”