5 Cyber Security Lessons Learned in 2015

by Brad Garland

vulnerability assessmentsIt’s no secret that 2015 was another challenging year in cyber security. While fallout continued from the Sony hack, new threats emerged and each one offered a lesson for the future. Here’s what can be learned from the past year as you plan for 2016.

1. Keep Backups

One of the biggest cyber security stories of the year was the rise of “ransomware,” computer-hijacking software that literally holds its victims' data hostage unless a ransom is paid. If the victims fail to comply in time, their data is destroyed.

While antivirus and other security software has since learned how to combat much of that ransomware, it’s still possible to be infected by the newest versions. Fortunately, combining vigilant use of compliance software with automatic data backups provides the best solution, since a threat to delete the data on your hard drive is neutered when that data is already backed up elsewhere.

2. Manage Your Privileged Users Effectively

A privileged user is any account that is able to perform security-critical functions to any part of your systems. Administrator accounts are typical examples of privileged users. Under managing or underestimating the impact of that privilege can lead to increased vulnerability to information security breaches.

Accordingly, it’s important to have effective policies in place to reduce your risk, such as logging privileged user activities and limiting log-in durations along with the privileges given to each account.

3. Don’t Underestimate the Need for Security in ALL Networked Devices

In the Internet of Things, you need to secure more than just your computers: any networked device is capable of being compromised, and hackers have grown very creative about doing just that. It’s important not to underestimate the potential vulnerability of all your devices and to ensure you’ve taken steps to secure them.

4. The Need for Visibility Is at an All-Time High

A crucial lesson from 2015 is the increased need for visibility into your company’s potential environmental and security vulnerabilities. If you don’t already have procedures to actively monitor every user, device and program connected to your systems, now’s the time to implement them.

5. Security Problems Aren't Going Away Anytime Soon

With nearly 1 million new malware threats released every day, it’s clear that security problems are going to remain a fact of life. Fortunately, robust network security partnered with good vendor management and proper compliance software goes a long way toward mitigating most threats.

Contact us today to learn how a vulnerability assessment can help you keep your systems and devices secure.
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