July 19, 2021

Reda Menčikovaitė: Security will become a business priority. Thank God and hackers

In the wake of the data theft wave, we have encountered public examples of what might happen if we write off security as an unnecessary expense .

Practically a year ago, companies were forced to reorganize their operations and adapt to remote work. The daily office routine and the usual culture of the organization have been replaced by online platform for: meetings, goal settings and forecast and performance sessions. The home office has become the norm, while the technical issues have been resolved and forgotten. However, many businesses have yet to find the balance between remote work and security.

Access restriction and monitoring solutions

COVID-19 has dramatically affected all aspects of cyber security. The rate of change in today’s workplace has accelerated. It has become crucial for employees to have secure access to critical operational systems, and applications required for work, despite using multiple devices, and multiple employees’ locations.

It must be realized that the employee carries the responsibility for data security, therefore it is a top priority to recognize and if necessary, control what goes inside and outside of the organization. Proactive monitoring and access control help to prevent and deter threats. It also allows to see if unexpected guests have tried to visit organization’s infrastructure.

Email – an open gateway to organization’s infrastructure

Email is one of the company’s most vulnerable access points, where social engineering, in other words, the human factor, plays a crucial role.

As often as not, you are not the only one receiving critical business information through the email. With ease, it can be taken over by hackers, giving them involuntary or unintentional access to your business contacts, financial documents, business intellectual property, passwords and personal data.

Unfortunately, it only takes one careless click on a malicious email (phishing attack), to open the door to malware.

To prevent being caught in the epicenter of information theft scandals and reduce the likelihood of data leakage, installing anti-spam, anti-malware protection and email encryption, is simply not enough. Alongside,developing cyber-vigilant employees is your best protection against information security threats.

The human factor

Without a doubt, the human factor remains the weakest link in cyber security. When among employees there is confusion about the culture of cyber security and there is a lack of e-hygiene habits, the company’s information systems become vulnerable to cyber attacks. Accidentantly downloading malicious file and exposing to other threats, the organization’s employee becomes the primary target and the epicenter of the attack. The most common example of a company opening the front door to hackers is improper storing and sharing of passwords.

Even with the essential cybersecurity measures, human error is still the cause of many cyber attacks. Bad habits by the employees such as: loud talking in the public places, unattended access to computer, a loss of a personal equipment are examples of the weak security links which need to be addressed.

Workplace security and its’ management

How to protect company’s data? Especially when everyone is working remotely. How to strike a balance between user-friendliness and data security?

The problem arises when employees working from home do not always have access to their work equipment. Additionally, working in flexible conditions, it is common for company’s management to allow employees usage of their personal computers. And that is one of the examples of the security threats.

If the company does not have a unified IT infrastructure management policy, then it is difficult to recognize which workstations are missing operating system updates, which are using older versions of software or which antivirus software has stopped working, Or perhaps an employee’s computer is infected and is participating in the “extracurricular activities”. To capture and eliminate such interferences, a centralized workplace management is recommended.

Microsoft has thought about this by offering collaboration tools with built-in IT security and management services.

BTT Armour, a unique security solution and the only one of its kind in the Baltic States, combines: monitoring, control and security plan implementation tools, which allow to have automated monitoring of changes. It is an effective and automated management security system for the software.

In other words, if you inadvertently engage in the “extracurricular activities” and your organization has already applied security policies, you can relax and be assured that the system will identify, inform, and prevent any potential threats, while dealing with them automatically.

Mistakes almost everyone makes

A business does not take advantage of the security tools available with the software package. This happens due to a lack of expertise or information.

Organization‘s management tends to think their organization is of no interest to anyone and is “too small to catch” to be a target. But security threats are the same for everyone, only the intentions of hackers are different. If your company‘s financial documents are locked with a cryptographic key, you most likely will be willing to pay dearly to restore access to them. If you are a data controller – an attack could undermine your reputation and customer trust.

It is not a secret that managed Cloud and IT services providers put a lot of  focus on educating their customers, convincing them that spending on cyber security should be their top priority.

It is important to remember that “I trust my employees, they are loyal” is not the same as “an employee recognizes a cyber attack and is vigilant to inform the IT department about the potential risks”.

When a “listener” without a photo and a name tag unexpectedly appears during a Teams call, participants in a large meeting do not even notice such a “guest”.

When a sender‘s header is a well known Lithuanian bank, and without checking their email adress a link to an „important document“ is clicked and immediately closed, many believe there will not be any consequences.

Unfortunately, the greatest damage caused to the company is often done by their former employees. Therefore,  taking into account: data encryption and security strategies; automated security management solutions; constantly updating security policies; and monitoring user behavior are the essential steps to a more secure organization.

An effective vulnerability assessment is a critical first step in the effort to protect data and your organization. Feel free to contact us for more information.