Cybersecurity Best Practices Small Businesses Should Adopt in 2021

by | Oct 29, 2020 | Security

Whether you are a large enterprise or a small business, cybersecurity should be a top priority for your company in 2021. Not only because of the significant increase in cyberattacks this year but also because companies are changing how they conduct business. From adopting cloud-based applications in favor of deployments via on-premise servers, to remote collaboration instead of sit-down meetings, to issuing laptops and mobile devices instead of tethered PCs. New vulnerabilities and network infiltration methods are on the rise because of these shifts, and IT staff are working harder than ever to prevent successful data breaches.

According to a study by the CyberEdge Group, 81% of surveyed companies reported being impacted by a cyberattack in 2019. The University of Maryland says that there is a hacking attempt in the U.S every 39 seconds. With statistics like these, it’s more important than ever that robust cybersecurity defense solutions and best practices are put into place to minimize the risks from attacks on your business.

In honor of National Cybersecurity Month (and because we’re all working on our 2021 plans), I’d like to share several cybersecurity best practices that small to medium enterprises should implement to safeguard their data and protect against cybercrime.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) offers a reliable method for verifying that the people and accounts accessing proprietary business data are valid and authorized. MFA solutions use secondary forms of validation, such as a text, phone call, email, or biometrics to authenticate a user’s identity before allowing access to the file or application.

Solutions like Cisco Duo offer increased security, compliance support, and enhanced productivity for remote and in-house staff. Duo gives security analysts and engineering staff the ability to confirm user identities almost instantly and offers a way to protect the various devices used in today’s BYOD environment.

Secure Web Browsing

Cloud applications and decentralized networks are on the rise in favor of local data centers that route traffic through a central point for branch locations. The traditional method of backhauling traffic is costly and can result in numerous latency and performance issues that negatively impact application stability and user experience at a business’s edge locations. However, shifting away from this secure data transfer method in favor of cloud-based browsing comes with some security concerns, including gaps in protection, the potential for picking up malware from an unsecured site, or a data breach from compromised login credentials.

A secure internet gateway (SIG) like Cisco Umbrella offers IT administrators a way to protect their users from a single, intuitive dashboard. This comprehensive solution includes DNS-layer security, cloud access security broker (CASB) functionality, cloud-delivered firewall services, and correlated threat intelligence, making it an excellent tool that provides almost instantaneous value.

Malware Protection Across the Board

Connecting unprotected devices to your company network opens it to vulnerabilities like ransomware, malware, and phishing scams. Threat actors leverage gaps in security policies on network equipment, endpoints not on the latest software patches, and socially engineered email campaigns to attempt to infiltrate company networks and spread malware.

The need for an intuitive, advanced solution that protects businesses from end to end against malware attacks is more prevalent than ever. Cisco Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) leverages the power of Cisco Talos to analyze millions of malware samples from around the world, creating a virtual database of behaviors and traits that is applied to the solution regularly.

Cisco AMP can detect malware within your network in real-time and does so by analyzing and tracing each file as it enters the network. From there, the AMP solution will continue to monitor the file periodically to recheck for suspicious activity. This solution can be applied to endpoints like laptops, mobile devices, and tablets, network equipment like firewalls and switches, and email and web security solutions.

Defined Standards Make a Difference in Cybersecurity Management

The biggest threat to your business infrastructure is the one you don’t see coming. Adopting clearly defined best practices and standards is the best way to safeguard your infrastructure from cyber threats. At ZAG Technical Services, we’ve compiled more than 200 standards we use with every client to ensure their environment is optimized and protected. To learn about one of the ways we use these standards to protect clients, visit our network security assessment page.

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