Cyber Security First: Prioritizing Cyber Protection for the Future

This blog is part 4 of a 4-part series for National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2021. 

Last week, we covered the pros and cons of working with a cyber security service to enhance your security in 2021.

Check out the week #3 NCSAM article for complete insight into:

  • The pros and cons of working with a cyber security service
  • What to look for when choosing a cyber security company
  • How to determine if you are a good fit for cyber security services

This week’s focus of NCSAM is the future of cyber protection. 

Cyber threats are constantly evolving, and cyber attack protection methods must also evolve to keep security protection methods one step ahead. 

COVID-19 expedited the transition to increasingly online work, with essentially millions of connected offices. 

Whether you are working from home or back to the office, cyber security must be a priority. At Proven Data, we are committed to providing you with information on the cyber security products and services and cyber security best practices you should be using to stay on top of the evolution of cyber protection solutions.

In this blog, you will:

  • Learn about the role Covid-19 played in the transition to remote work
  • Understand how cloud migration impacts cyber protection
  • How to improve cyber protection to secure the future

How Covid-19 and remote work has changed cyber protection

The COVID-19 pandemic created a perfect storm of circumstances for cyber criminals to capitalize on fear and uncertainty to carry out COVID-related scams

Disguising themselves as trusted government and healthcare organizations, cyber criminals carried out a reported 241,342 phishing complaints according to the 2020 Internet Crime Report.

COVID-related phishing scams weren’t the only cyber crimes that took advantage of the pandemic. When the COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented quarantines, organizations were forced to rethink the way they worked. The most practical option to work during a lockdown? Work from home. 

These work-from-home setups employee’s utilized to continue working during COVID lockdowns were often fraught with vulnerabilities as organizations did not have previous experience securing this kind of workforce. 

According to the Pew Research Center, before the COVID pandemic, only 7% of employees reported the ability to work remotely. 

By May of 2020, the number of remote workers peaked at 35% and has yet to drop below 20%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

A year later, in May 2021, according to Mercer’s U.S. Flexible Working Policies & Practices Survey, 70% of companies indicated they were planning to adopt the hybrid work model.

Remote work isn’t going away anytime soon. How do you secure your organization members who are working remotely and storing data on the cloud? Next we will discuss how the evolution of cyber protection solutions can prevent your organization from falling victim to cyber crime.

Cyber security solutions to secure the cloud

The use of the cloud has skyrocketed to accommodate employees working in nontraditional locations across the nation. 

With tech giants like Microsoft citing two years of digital transformation over the span of two months as cloud solutions were implemented, it’s no surprise that organizations are struggling to keep up with securing their cloud data.  

According to the 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 73% of reported cyber security incidents were related to external cloud assets.

For the sake of speed, organizations make the mistake of bypassing critical security features to protect cloud-based apps.

Once your organization has completed cloud migration, it is essential to verify your data is protected from potential intrusions with cyber security solutions. 

For example, a cloud penetration test could benefit you. 

A penetration testing service employs cyber security professionals (‘ethical hackers’) with experience permissibly hacking cloud platforms to detect vulnerabilities.

A professional cloud pen testing expert will be able to provide you with the most thorough evaluation possible to set you on the path to cloud security success.

How to improve cyber protection for remote workforces

Despite efforts to return to everyday life, the effects of the COVID lifestyle remain. With over 20% of workers clocking in from home, ensuring their devices are secure is critical. Below are four methods to secure your remote workforce

Implement endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions

When employees work remotely, the traditional cyber attack protection implemented to safeguard the office network is no longer viable. 

Monitoring potential cyber threats that could occur on individual endpoints that are in various remote locations is difficult. 

According to the Third Annual Study on the State of Endpoint Security Risk conducted by Ponemon in January 2020, 68% of respondents disclosed that their organization experienced one or more endpoint attacks that successfully compromised data assets and/or IT infrastructure over the past 12 months.

An endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution can allow organizations to track cyber threats like malware across individual computers and endpoints in remote locations. 

Use email security to protect inboxes

Email communication is a staple of work from home employees. With a chaotic inbox, increasingly sophisticated email scams can easily catch workers off guard. 

According to Proofpoint’s State of the Phish Report, 74% of organizations in the U.S. experienced a successful phishing attack in 2021. 

Email protection services use a third party to filter emails before they are received. These services can catch sophisticated email compromise attempts that could be missed even by a well-trained eye.

Learning how to recognize and respond to phishing emails is key to avoiding cyber attacks like ransomware and fortifying the future of cyber security.

Install firewalls

According to Statista, in 2020, 155.8 million individuals were affected by breaches in security that led to sensitive data exposure. 

With COVID-19 hastening the transition for organizations to shift to remote work, the traditional firewall that protects sensitive organization data is no longer applicable.

Organizations can implement a virtual firewall hosted on a cloud service provider and protect remote workers across various locations. 

Cloud-based firewalls are a vital to prevent the future of cyber crime, preventing malicious actors from gaining unauthorized access to data.

Utilize vulnerability assessments for remote work

Considering the numerous ways COVID turned traditional security protection upside down and inside out, unknown vulnerabilities lurking within your organization are inevitable. The future of cyber security involves understanding this increasingly connected world and implementing the cyber security solutions to protect yourself against cyber threats.

Security Magazine reported that work from home setups had increased attack surfaces due to the expanded use of collaboration apps, citing Google, SpaceX, and NASA as examples of organizations that have banned such applications to lessen the risk of data breaches.

A vulnerability assessment can provide insight into the gaps in your security that leave you at risk to cyber attacks like ransomware. After the assessment is conducted, you will glean expert recommendations on how to patch these vulnerabilities. 

Using an external network scan can prevent your organization from outside attacks. Network scans target specific IP addresses and detects open ports and other loopholes that a cyber criminal would target. 

Next steps to securing your future

Implementing cyber security solutions in your organization for the future doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. Times are changing, but there is no wrong time to #GetCyberSmart. 

Check out our comprehensive cyber security costs guide to help you understand how to budget for your specific organizational needs. This National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we encourage all businesses and consumers to reevaluate their cyber security and #BeCyberSmart. 

At Proven Data, we assist businesses with creating custom-tailored preventative cyber security solutions. We are standing by to help you discover and resolve your network vulnerabilities before a cyber criminal takes advantage of those vulnerabilities.

Simply put, we are passionate about helping people get cyber serious (we even produced a documentary about it). Together with Fmr. FBI Special Agent Patrick Gray of the Computer Crimes Squad, we created Operation Cyber Aware to encourage people to #GetCyberSerious and protect themselves from ransomware and other cyber attacks before they happen.

Want to learn more about cyber security solutions?

Talk to a cyber security expert today!

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