Mid this year, Wired Magazine published an article which detailed the worst cyber breaches of 2018. The world of espionage and corporate takedowns now largely consists of hackers, state-backed or private, and the common fear is that corporate security may not be evolving fast enough. As these hackers become more powerful and grow bolder in their attempts, will your business be safe in 5 years?

This type of espionage by state-backed hackers led to 31 terabytes of stolen data in the USA from universities, private companies, government agencies, and even the UN. The cost of the stolen data was estimated at $3 Billion USD, but the damage that could be caused by the stolen data is impossible to value.

It is important to note however that this threat is not only to US companies, with Australian businesses also now at risk.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has recently published their report from Q2 of 2018, which stated that 242 breaches were recorded throughout the quarter alone. As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Australia is an attractive market for hackers to infiltrate; even if some may think the number seems small, those are just the companies that know they’ve been hacked.

In fact, John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, says “there are two types of companies: those that have been hacked, and those that don’t know they have been hacked”.

This can be disheartening to hear; how can businesses protect themselves from cyber threats when they seem to be evolving so quickly?

Data classification is a good place to start. Trying to prevent access by unauthorised people to all your data is very difficult. A better method of data protection is to define what data is the most critical and prioritise your prevention strategy.

But prevention is just one part of an effective strategy; detection is also crucial, and engaging a vendor such as Computer Merchants to perform a threat assessment can help assess your current situation and identify any weaknesses.

There are a lot of moving parts to consider in every security problem, including Network security and Endpoint Security.

Network security is a complex issue, and engaging the services of IT security experts will prove fruitful. It is especially important to remember to focus on detection as much as prevention, as knowing you have been attacked and/or hacked allows you to activate your data breach response plan – assuming you have one.

Endpoint security is critical. Your devices – desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, printers, scanners, Internet-of-Things devices – are all potential entry points for viruses, malware and other attack vectors. Strict control over the contents of these devices is mandatory, and could be the best investment you have ever made. Training early and often is vital to preventing employees becoming lax around passwords and phishing emails.

Assume that mobile devices will be lost or stolen and plan your preparation for those becoming the cause of a data breach. Consider sourcing devices that use fingerprint recognition and/or facial recognition, and always strive for 2-factor authorisation where possible.

With a vendor agnostic provider like Computer Merchants, you can rest assured that you are receiving the best solution for your security issues. Whether your business needs endpoint security or a fully-fledged network security plan, you can speak to the experts at Computer Merchants to help you make the safest, most secure and cost-effective security choices.

If you’d like to discuss these issues with Computer Merchants’ security experts, contact us on 1800 777 111 or info@computermerchants.com.au


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