Running a business is no walk in the park, even on the best of days. But technology has worked its magic on most industries. Everything from cloud-based e-commerce companies to the Internet of Things, technology has changed our lives in wonderful ways. Despite all its positives, the world is marked with the risk of cyber crime in all sectors. Anyone working in the IT or security arms of a given organization should be ready to tackle and secure their attack surfaces. In this article, we’ll dive into five critical areas—known as attack surfaces—that demand your company’s constant vigilance.
Email and Phishing Attacks
Email—particularly in the remote work era—can be a significant attack surface. Phishing attacks, typically delivered via email, remain one of the most common forms of cyber breaches. They happen quickly and are surprisingly effective. In these types of attacks, criminals pretend to be trusted entities for one purpose: to manipulate individuals into revealing sensitive data. Professionals in any industry must be aware of the potential dangers associated with emails, especially with any innocuous-looking message that could contain a hidden threat. Defending against phishing and email remains begins with training your employees on how to spot potentially dangerous emails. Training should also cover not clicking on suspicious links and reporting suspicious emails to the IT department. Companies can also use specialized software and other technology to guard against phishing, spam, and other scams that occur through this method.
Cloud and Data Storage
With the rise of remote work, cloud services have become a necessity for most businesses. However, they also present an attractive target for cybercriminals. A misconfigured cloud service or poorly protected data storage area can lead to problems. Breaches, hacking, and intrusions are only a few of them. To counter these threats, professionals should ensure their cloud services are properly configured and limit access to sensitive data. Using encryption and regular automated backups can safeguard data stored in the cloud, providing an additional layer of protective armor against such threats. But sometimes, the best way to handle cloud and data storage threats is to integrate cyber risk management solutions into your overall security plan. These services can provide continuous monitoring and other features to help propel your cloud—and organizational—security to much higher levels.
Web Application Vulnerabilities
Another area that presents an attractive attack surface for businesses is their web apps or web portals. Web applications form the backbone of many businesses and serve as not only a way to interact with customers but also to do business in a high-tech world. So, of course they’re a major entry point for attacks like viruses and ransomware. Every organization should have some way to manage the security of their web applications. And the absence of strong security measures, SQL injection attacks, xss attacks, and DDOS attacks can all rear their ugly heads and cause all sorts of problems. Mitigating these threats requires continual monitoring of your applications for unusual activity. Organizations should also perform audits (proctored by experienced cybersecurity professionals) to identify vulnerabilities in your web applications, offering solutions to fix them before they are exploited.
If there’s one pervasive threat in the modern corporate world, it’s insider threats. While often overlooked in favor of other cyber security measures, insider threats can be terrible and insidious for the organizations that fall prey to them. Employees with access to sensitive information can often become a problem. Whether they intentionally or unintentionally giveaway crucial data, it can impact the business in a negative manner. Fighting back against insider threats requires a few different approaches. First and foremost, teams must be trained and thoroughly vetted to ensure they know the importance of data security. There must be a system in place to continuously monitor networks for abnormal activity, which can alert companies to insider threats. Insider threats affected a whopping 34% of businesses in the past few years alone and continue to grow. Fighting back against them requires vigilance and strong security measures, and they should not be overlooked.
Mobile Devices and IoT
The Internet of Things is a network of interconnected devices that help make our daily lives easier. Businesses have adopted them just as heavily as consumers have. More mobile devices and IoT devices in corporate settings means more attack vectors. And that only leads to the need to protect these precarious attack surfaces. When improperly managed, IoT devices can provide an entry point for cybercriminals into otherwise secure networks. To tackle these threats, companies should consider implementing Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies and use Mobile Device Management (MDM) software. Regular patching, vulnerability testing, and secure network practices should also be encouraged while using these devices. Cybersecurity is a dynamic threat that requires continuous vigilance. While each attack surface demands specific protective measures, remember that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Ensuring a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy is critical for protecting your business’ attack surfaces and keeping your digital assets safe.