Get free advice on all things IT


How Do Companies Protect Against Hackers And What They Should Be Doing


If only there was a way to stop these virtual barbarians from getting over the wall and snatching our data. It’ll be a joyous day when that happens - if that day ever comes - but the sad reality is that cyber attacks are on the rise. Criminals continue to stoop to new lows and create newer methods to breach data, steal crucial, sensitive information and files and, in some cases, they have the balls to demand a payment in return for files you already own. So, how do companies protect against hackers? And what should they be doing?

Backlit Keyboard

Source: Wikimedia Creative Commons

Any business or organisation can fall victim to a cyber attack. It might be the florist around the corner whose online business has been booming recently, or it could be the NHS. That’s quite a leap, but it has happened in 2017.

How Are Companies Stopping Hackers?

We can’t just sit here and accuse companies of not doing anything. They just might not be doing it effectively. Businesses have adopted certain tactics and methods to do what they can to stop getting hacked.

Employees are receiving training. This is still a crucial step, as employees need to know how to separate a genuine email to a fake one containing an attachment filled with malware. If the person who opened the email during the NHS attack had received training, perhaps they wouldn’t have been in that situation.

NHS WannaCry Ransom NoteSource: Twitter 

Rather than storing data on their servers, some companies are now using the cloud instead. A platform placed away from the premises where companies store data on the internet, rather than the hardware tucked away in the server room. It’s easy to see why companies are doing that, as server rooms won’t need to be monitored 24/7 which saves money; it’s cheaper, it’s environmentally friendly and you can work from anywhere.

An important first line of defence that many companies use is antivirus software. There are many types of antivirus software on the market, so it can be difficult for businesses to choose which is best for them. Every company is different, meaning every company needs IT security that’s going to defend computers effectively.

For those taking cyber defence to the next level, companies even hire in-house teams dedicated to monitoring their security systems. This means companies invest in the latest hardware and software to place in server rooms so they can always stay on top of things and see a potential attack coming their way.

Major companies like Microsoft are also fighting back. As they have skirted the legal issues by securing approval from courts to shut down the sources of malicious attacks.

What Companies Should Be Doing

Luckily for some companies, they’re always protected and don’t have the added headache of worrying about a cyber attack coming out of nowhere. Why? The smartest businesses are outsourcing their security and hire other companies to monitor security for them.

This method allows companies to avoid having to spend additional salaries on an in-house team who can only monitor security for a set period. When they’re out of the office, there’s not much else they can do. However, external companies offer resources that monitor security 24/7, meaning any attack on the horizon is wiped out before you can even worry about it.

When an external company is monitoring security, it allows companies to focus on other issues and departments. This leaves the complex security issues to be dealt with by trustworthy third-party experts who live and breathe these situations and make it their top priority. This is important for any company, as it saves them a lot of time, money and resources while staying confident that a bunch of experts always have their back, ensuring that similar attacks never happen again.

Why Antivirus Simply Isn't Enough

Despite going to those lengths, that doesn’t mean companies are always going to be safe as the methods they have employed simply might not be enough to stop cyber attacks.

Employees that have been trained might not always remember what to do when placed in an uncomfortable situation. One wrong click can send the whole infrastructure crumbling down and they can’t be blamed as cyber security isn’t their area of expertise.

The cloud might have its benefits, but that doesn’t mean companies using it are 100% secure. Hosting confidential data with cloud service providers involves the transfer of a considerable amount of a business’ control over data security to a provider, which is risky. Cloud systems are reliant on the internet, and companies will never know when there might be a sudden outage where they can’t access their data, giving attackers a clear window to swoop in. Even with security measures in place, hackers can still gain access to the data stored on the cloud, they might shut down your servers, take control of your data, sell it, leak it or erase it completely.

Cloud ComputingImage Credit: Pixabay

Free antivirus software comes with limitations. There’s no way a free piece of software is going to protect your entire network from an attack. Even if your business has paid for an antivirus, that doesn’t guarantee you protection either. Relying on static software will rack up the expenses with the high subscription fees and it can still be catastrophic. While there are companies spending lots of time in creating the best antivirus software available on the market, hackers are adapting and learning new techniques just as quickly to pounce, especially since software gets out of date relatively quickly.

The in-house teams that are hired might not be experts in the field either, they might just have a slight interest in IT. Again, attackers don’t work the regular 9-5, and the in-house team will go home at 5 like any ordinary employee and forget about work until they’re back in the next day. That’s the prime time for attackers to do as much damage as possible, as in-house teams can’t monitor security 24/7, unlike external companies.

Still, having the correct defence measures in place doesn't mean your business is 100% safe at all times. In fact, it's being claimed that global spending on cyber security products and services are predicted to exceed $1 trillion over the next five years, so it's an issue that companies need to remain on top of as the costs continue to increase rapidly.

What Is The Modern Day Hacker?

When you bring up the term ‘hacker,’ you might think it’s some teenage kid in his parents’ basement sat at his computer in the dark. Locked in battle with their other hacker friends in a competition to determine who can be the biggest nuisance possible. That might still be the case, but these modern attackers are growing more and more tech-savvy by the day and that’s dangerous for businesses with data just waiting to be taken.

One type of a modern day hacker is known as a black hat hacker - criminals, in other terms. This is the type of hacker that is in it to steal money or data to hurt you and your business, which is the case in ransomware. They’re seen as intelligent coders who are difficult to stop and simply don’t care about who they’re hurting.

The hackers you probably don’t need to worry about are white hat hackers (or network security specialists, if you want to give them a less cool name). These are clever programmers who expose and repair security flaws before criminals can find the backdoor. They’re usually well-paid and are hired by companies to make sure their systems are always protected and can’t be attacked successfully.

The type companies should be worried about are those looking to make a financial gain, so it comes as no surprise that ransomware is on the rise with more and more companies falling victim to this popular method. They’ll try different, new methods too. These can include point of sale attacks, banking malware, logic bombs along with ransomware.

Learn How To Protect Your Business From Cyber Attacks

With the ever growing threat of cyber and ransomware attacks, more and more businesses are getting worried. But too many aren’t doing anything about it.

See how big the issue really is and how much needs to be done to protect your business. Check out this free eBook to make sure you understand how to defend your company and its valuable data:

button to get a guide

FREE Case Consultation

Recent Posts