It’s no surprise that the internet is an integral part of most Americans’ lives. We count on it for everything from scheduling dinner at our favorite restaurants to staying in touch with far-flung relatives. Few if any businesses can exist without it. In 2017, the United States had close to 272 million internet users and is expected to reach 283.5 million users by 2022.
It’s also not surprising that cybercriminals are loving — and exploiting — our online obsession. In the FBI’s 2016 Internet Crime Report, the organization reported that internet crime in 2016 led to more than $1.3 billion in losses. That number alone is a good reason to participate in Safer Internet Day.
Taking place Tuesday, February 6, Safer Internet Day is an awareness-raising campaign celebrated in more than 100 countries. While its focus is on building a better, safer internet for youth, Safer Internet Day also serves as a reminder of the importance of using technology responsibly and protecting your IT assets and data.
Tips for Strong IT Security
Here are some suggested ways to help protect your organization from cybercrime — and contribute to a safer internet:
Make firewalls your first line of defense, but don’t stop at the external perimeter of your network. Internal firewalls provide backup defense and keep suspicious, often malicious external network traffic away.
Employ the latest antivirus and phishing detection technology. Use the kind that constantly update in real-time to detect the latest threats. Make sure to keep it updated.
Use both IDS, a device or software that monitors a network or systems for malicious activity or policy violations, and IPS, which functions like a firewall with more complex guidelines for qualifying data flow. The combination strengthens your resistance to cyberattacks.
Restrict the use of USB drives, external hard drives, and similar devices. Removable media can easily be the source for a data breach.
Make employee security training a priority — especially in terms of using email and web surfing. Conduct training sessions frequently. Make sure employees are aware of all security policies — and the repercussions for not adhering to them.
Implement a BYOD policy that includes specific measures to mitigate business data risks. For example, encrypt business data stored on personal devices, and frequently update hardware and apps to the latest versions to mitigate the risk of known vulnerabilities being exploited.
Audit your systems regularly, and immediately remedy any vulnerabilities.
Limit administrative access to your systems, network and data. Administrative access for all users should never be the norm.
Document your organization’s security policies. Use analytics and quantifiable measures to evaluate them. Frequently review and update them.
Your DDoS Battle Plan
One of the most serious threats existing on the internet are distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. As we noted in a previous blog, DDoS attacks increased by 138% in 2016 and expected to keep growing in frequency and in the amount of damage they can cause. There are many ways to protect your organization against them as well. You’ll find several that we recommend in this free whitepaper, Distributed Denial of Service – Understanding and Mitigating Attacks.
US Signal’s solution architects are also available to help your company develop an IT security strategy best suited to its business needs and budgetary parameters, drawing from our robust portfolio of customizable cloud and colocation solutions, data protection services, and network services. To learn more, call 866.2. SIGNAL or email [email protected].