No matter the size of your business or organization, your employees are likely connected to your business through multiple devices. These devices can pose inherent risks to your day-to-day operations. The average employee is connected to your business, on average, via 3-5 devices; some of these are personal while others are supplied by your business. So, the question begs, “How can I protect my business from cyber attacks through employee devices?” In this article, we’ll provide tips and resources to protect your business using endpoint security and best practices for mobile devices.
Your employees utilize a variety of connected devices and platforms to perform their tasks and duties. When we think about connected devices, we must consider all the ways that an employee accesses company data. It’s not just about the hardware (laptops, cell phones, tablets), but also about the data and authentication process through which they access data on cloud platforms. The first step to solving this problem is to take an inventory of all authorized devices that are connected to your network and the internet. Most businesses do not realize just how many devices are actually connected to their network or data. Every single device poses a potential risk. Endpoint security is a service that Conscious Networks provides to help businesses with this daunting task.
Monitoring & Authentication
Every device should have some type of security, that is monitored or maintained by your organization or technology partner, in order to adequately protect your business’ most important asset – namely your data. There are many types of anti-malware, monitoring systems, and security software available. One of our favorite platforms is Sophos. However, this is not a one-time “install it and forget it” solution. It takes diligence to monitor alerts, update software, and ensure new users are set up properly. Conscious Networks can help you set up these systems and monitor your ongoing network, with endpoint security protocols. In addition, we keep business leaders informed of the latest risks and threats.
What Size Business Needs Endpoint Security?
Cyber attacks can occur at large enterprise level organizations just as often as at small local businesses. Unfortunately, many small-to-medium sized businesses do not invest the time or resources to properly protect their data or networks and therefore, may end up being a bigger target for ransomware attacks. There are many examples of small businesses being held hostage and paying ransom just to get their business back up and running. Don’t be fooled – every business needs to consider the value of endpoint security. In addition, a strong backup and restoration strategy can help keep your business running in the event of any crisis. As we discuss in another article, it’s more critical than ever to have a cloud backup strategy and not just rely on your cloud provider for this important plan.
The Core Elements of Endpoint Security
Endpoint security is a dynamic and ever-changing methodology. As technology changes, so should your endpoint security protocols. The following core elements should be evaluated, on an ongoing basis:
- What devices are used to access your network OR the data on your network? Establishing an inventory of all devices that access your network is the first step. Ensuring that all devices have an authentication protocol is key. Requiring all devices that are connected to your network or data, to have monitoring software, is also critical. With many remote workers using personal devices, this is an especially important risk to assess and address.
- What data is more sensitive or mission critical to your business? Access to sensitive or mission-critical data should be restricted and require extra layers of security to access. It is also important to evaluate where this data is located and what redundancy measures are in place to ensure an effective backup and recovery strategy, if the data is compromised in any way.
- Isn’t my cloud data and/or my vendor responsible for securing data in the cloud? The cloud often provides a false sense of security. There are several things to consider when we think about cloud data specifically. Remember that each time one of your users accesses cloud data, there may be a vulnerability risk. The risk can be as simple as one user saving passwords in a browser where malware or bad actors can then access the login credentials, and subsequently your data. In addition, not all cloud providers guarantee or provide effective backup and recovery strategies. One client came to Conscious Networks after their cloud-based CRM was hacked. The cloud software provider advised them that it would take weeks to get their systems back up and running. Certainly, no business can afford this kind of downtime. So, it’s important to create an effective backup and recovery strategy for cloud-based systems. A hybrid approach can be a good solution for this type of security risk.
- How do I implement the right security solution? Conscious Networks can conduct a network assessment to survey and gather information about your current situation and provide recommendations for a more secure setting. We recognize that small businesses need the most effective solution carefully weighed by the associated costs and risks. Larger organizations may require multiple layers of security solutions for cloud protection, hardware & software, networks, and endpoints.
A Valued Technology Partner
Whether you are a large business with an entire IT department or a smaller business on a tight budget, a valued technology partner can be an invaluable resource for helping protect your business from cyber attacks through employee devices. A valued technology partner should have the talent and resources to stay informed on the latest threats and trends to help you protect your business. Conscious Networks provides a holistic approach to technology, when advising our clients, and revisits these strategies as technology changes. Contact us today to schedule a call or consultation.