How To Guard Your Business Against Cyber Threats Amid the Pandemic in 2021

The challenging times spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that no corporation is immune to cyberattacks. Even the largest and seemingly secure companies have suffered from system vulnerabilities

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Cyberattacks are more common than ever and can happen at any time. These attacks are not only damaging to business continuity, they can affect a company's bottom line and brand image. Since all companies are potentially vulnerable to an attack, we must consider the implications of losing all our data. Is there anything worse than not being able to access your business files and/or financial records?

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A Cyber Attack Trends: 2021 Mid-Year Report states that global cyber attacks increased by 29 per cent as hackers continue to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic and shift to remote work. Along with this alarming statistic, the report also states ransomware attacks surged by 93 per cent in the last six months, fueled by innovation in an attack technique called “Triple Extortion”.

In 2020, one of the most notorious cyberattacks happened on the social media platform Twitter. Around 130 accounts were targeted after a tweet went out to millions of followers, requesting donations in cryptocurrency from official celebrity accounts. The cyber criminals received hundreds of transfers, which totaled more than $100,000. The stock market value of Twitter dropped, as well as its reputation and any followers who fell for this scam, lost their money.

The media tends to report more stories on well-known companies targeted by cyber criminals because they are newsworthy. However, 43 per cent of cyberattacks are also directed at small to medium-sized businesses.

The impact of COVID-19 on cybersecurity

The challenging times spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that no corporation is immune to cyberattacks. Even the largest and seemingly secure companies have suffered from system vulnerabilities.

Liberman Networks, Inc. was founded in 2005 with the intention of economizing IT service for the SMB and SOHO space, largely in the healthcare and financial industries. These two fields are particularly prone to cyber threats, especially during the pandemic as hackers look to steal social security numbers, patient medical records and other personal data. With over 15 years operating in the cyber security space, LNI is a significant and highly trusted player. The company has developed strong partnerships with the likes of Microsoft, Dell, Datto, Lenovo, N-Able, SentinelOne, Crowdstrike, Horizon3 AI and Cisco. With their ability to protect and safeguard businesses, they were quick to provide security upgrades for companies that were caught flat-footed during times of hardship.

Backup your data

Data backup is critical for any business in order to preserve its security and continuity, as well as protect the brand's reputation.

According to CyberCrime Magazine, 60 per cent of small companies go out of business within six months of falling victim to a data breach or cyberattack. A data breach where information is stolen and accessed by a cybercriminal without authorization is one way to destroy a company's bottom line and brand reputation. 

Jason Liberman, founder of Liberman Networks, Inc. shares, “It is recognized and accepted that data backup is a necessity, but are you backing up all of your data? Your cloud-based data in Microsoft 365 and Google Apps is vulnerable to attack and corruption. Backup of SaaS data is crucial to a disaster response plan. Testing of the backup sets should be done regularly. Instead of solely backing up, look to business continuity solutions such as Datto.”

Having only one copy backup of your data stored on-site is not an adequate measure for data protection, nor is having paper copies of business data. Keeping either two or three copies stored offsite is a safer protection method. Cloud backup services are now becoming increasingly popular for businesses in need of cyber security solutions.

Use multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an additional layer that makes hacking even more difficult by requiring access beyond a username and password. Some ways include entering codes from apps on smartphones into logins screens.

According to research from LastPass based on data from 47,000 orgs, approximately 57 per cent of businesses around the world are currently using multi-factor authentication (MFA), with a 12 per cent gain over the stats from last year.

Because MFA is an access control component that requires users to authenticate their identity with at least two distinct verification factors before accessing a website, mobile application, or another online resource, if one of the factors is compromised, the attacker has at least one more hurdle to overcome before gaining access to your data. According to Liberman, “Multi-factor authentication is no longer optional. Passwords are easily compromised through a variety of methods including phishing, social engineering and brute force. Not using MFA is akin to relying on your brakes to protect you while driving. Although brakes do reduce the likelihood of harm, seatbelts are more appropriate.”

Deploy an EDR

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is an advanced security system that provides an integrated solution for securing computer hardware devices from potential threats.

EDR includes real-time monitoring and detection of threats for those that may not be easily recognized or defined by standard antivirus. It helps to eliminate threats quickly and minimize the impact of an attack. Since the software is installed on the device and monitored constantly, the user gets notified almost immediately when a threat is found. This is a crucial tool for business owners to have in their cybersecurity toolbox.

Liberman Networks, Inc. founder Jason Liberman advises that relying solely on antivirus solutions of yesterday will make any company vulnerable to new attacks. He adds, “EDR solutions like SentinelOne, Sophos and Crowdstrike offer robust protection to emerging threats. It is the next generation of protection."

Technology is complicated and dangerous, yet it is a necessary part of modern life. The security flaws of a business could potentially cause greater repercussions in 2021. It is critical for everyone to understand how to prevent and manage the risks involved.