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How to Reduce Your Cyber-Attack Risk and Protect Your Business Part 1

Follow these strategic actions to reduce your organisations’ cyber attack risk.

As the risk of cyber-attack increases and hackers evolve new methods to breach your security measures it becomes vital to take steps to mitigate the risk of data breaches. The first thing you need to do is be aware that you are a target.

While many organisations may feel, they are not a target this thinking can lead to complacency and make you a soft target. While your organisation may not be among the most popular targets, such as financial institutions and companies that deal with credit cards, you could still be targeted as part of a strategy to target these companies.

This is because an email from a legitimate company such as yours will not be nearly as suspicious as from an unknown company. A hacker may initiate a cyber-attack on your company as a way to get access to your email accounts in order to send phishing emails from your server to the target. This can be especially effective where your company already works with the main target of the attack.

The above example of a cyber-attack is one of many as cyber-attacks can be simple or highly sophisticated and they may last for a short period or be rolled out over a period of years. Your best defence then starts with awareness and continues with a cyber-attack strategy or Protection Plan.


Cyber-Attack Risk Mitigation Strategic Actions


  1. Create a Cyber-Attack Protection Plan

Depending on your organisation and industry, your plan may vary according to the type of data you keep and your connections to other organisations. At the very least a plan should outline possible sources of attack, types of attack, security measures to both protect against and detect attacks and of course damage control actions should an attack actually occur.


  1. Be aware that Cyber-Attacks can originate from both External and Internal sources

While many people will naturally expect hackers to be from an outside source, sometimes they come from within. Remember that guy called Bob, who caused all that raucous a few months back? Well, Bob still has login details for a number of your systems as well as email accounts. While hackers from outside your company will have to do a little work to get hold of login details and access email accounts, former employees and even current ones already have access.

A simple method to reduce and in most cases prevent an internal attack is to make sure that anyone leaving the company has their login details revoked as soon as they leave and that they hand over any company data and assets they may have. For more security measures see, ‘How to Reduce Your Cyber-Attack Risk and Protect Your Business Part 2’.

Taking the time to identify all possible sources of attack and include them in your Cyber Protection Plan can mean the different between a minor breach and a disaster.


  1. Identify the types of cyber-attack

Cyber-attacks come in many different forms and variations, so it is not possible to go into details or even list them all in this article. Therefore, you should take the time to read up about them for yourself and include them in your plan. A good place to start is with our article, ‘Cyber-Attack – The Why and How’.


  1. Train employees on how to handle sensitive data and detect cyber-attacks

According to Da Vinci Forensics, a high percentage of data breaches are in fact due to human error. With this in mind, it makes sense to train employees on how to not only recognise cyber-attacks and properly handle them but also to handle sensitive data so as not to put it at risk.


  1. Have a damage control plan to limit the fallout from your data breach

For the most part, good security and risk mitigation plans will foil most attackers and allow you to carry on with business with peace-of-mind. Unfortunately, sometimes even the best security and plans are not enough to stop determined and highly skilled cyber-criminals to gain access to your systems.

When the unthinkable happens, you need to make sure you act swiftly. Therefore your Cyber-Attack Protection Plan is not complete without having a plan of action for handling both public relations and repairing the damage.


Next Steps


Iron Mountain is one of Southern Africa’s leading Records Management Specialists. As such, we offer comprehensive records and data protection solutions and have a wealth of experience when it comes to securing our client’s data. To learn more about some of the steps you can take you protect yourself from cyber-attacks, including some of our solutions, be sure to read, ‘How to Reduce Your Cyber-Attack Risk and Protect Your Business Part 2’.


Image Credit: Copyright: honzik7 / 123RF Stock Photo


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