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Cyber Security Strategies to Protect Your Business

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John Boykin President & CEO BHI Insurance

How to Protect Your Organization From Ransomware
 
According to cyber security firm Emsisoft, 205,280 organizations around the globe reported experiencing a ransomware attack in 2019—a 41% increase over 2018. This fact not only illustrates that ransomware attacks are on the rise, but it also underscores the need for organizations to act to prevent such attacks from impacting their operations.
 
What Is Ransomware?
 
According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), ransomware is a type of malicious software cyber actors use to deny access to systems or data until a ransom is paid. After the initial infection, the ransomware attempts to spread to shared storage drives and other accessible systems. If the demands are not met, the system or encrypted data remains unavailable. In some cases, data may be deleted altogether. Ransomware attacks are particularly damaging, as they create massive business interruptions and can lead to significant reputational harm for the impacted organization.
 
Examine Your Ransomware Exposures
 
A strong commitment to cyber security is crucial to protect your organization from ransomware attacks. CISA recommends examining the following questions to determine if your organization is prepared to address the risks presented by ransomware:
  1. Backups—Does your organization back up all critical information? Are the backups stored offline? Has your organization tested your ability to revert to backups during an incident?
  2. Risk analysis—Has your organization conducted a cyber security risk analysis of the entire organization?
  3. Staff training—Has your organization trained its staff on cyber security best practices?
  4. Vulnerability patching—Has your organization implemented appropriate patching of known system vulnerabilities?
  5. Application whitelisting—Does your organization allow only approved programs to run on your network?
  6. Incident response—Does your organization have an incident response plan in place for ransomware attacks, and has it been tested?
  7. Business continuity—Is your organization able to sustain operations without access to certain systems? If so, for how long?
  8. Penetration testing—Has your organization or a trusted third-party attempted to hack your own systems to test the security of your systems and your ability to defend against attacks?
Protecting Remote Employees From Cyber Attacks
 
Although implementing a work-from-home program can provide a wide range of benefits for your business, allowing staff to work remotely also comes with unique risks and challenges. Specifically, having your employees work from home can increase their vulnerability to cyber attacks, which could result in costly consequences for your organization. With this in mind, it’s vital to ensure your work-from-home program is secure by utilizing top-notch technology and providing employees with adequate cyber security resources. First, it’s important to assess your workplace technology to ensure it possesses proper cyber security features to combat work-from-home risks. At a glance, your organization’s software should have these key characteristics:
  • A virtual private network (VPN)—Having a VPN allows your employees to utilize a private, protected network connection. VPNs provide numerous cyber security features, such as hiding users’ IP addresses, encrypting data transfers and masking users’ locations. If you don’t already have a VPN, you are missing a crucial step in implementing a secure work-from-home program. If you do already possess a VPN, make sure it’s fully patched.
  • Restricted access controls—Remote work technology should be equipped with the same account access restrictions as your on-site software. Furthermore, you should only allow competent, qualified and trusted staff to have access to sensitive company data.
  • Anti-virus and malware protection—To protect your system from cyber threats, it’s critical that all remote work technology has the latest anti-virus, malware and firewall protection software.
After you have prepared your technology, it’s time to provide employees with robust resources and training to ensure a secure work-from-home program. Consider providing staff training on the following topics:
  • Taking care of technology—Encourage employees to log out of their devices when they are finished working for the day and store all workplace technology in a secure, protected location.
  • Utilizing personal devices—If you allow staff to use personal devices for work purposes, be sure to enforce a Bring Your Own Device policy.
  • Conducting regular updates—Make sure employees know how to conduct regular software updates on all workplace technology. If you allow staff to use personal devices for work purposes, ensure they know how to conduct software updates on that technology as well.
  • Detecting signs of phishing—Educate your employees on how to detect phishing scams.
  • Reporting cyber concerns—Ensure that remote employees know how to report any cyber concerns that they might experience. Staff should report these problems to their supervisors and the IT department, if needed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John  joined  BHI  in  2006  as  a  part-time  advisor,  became  a  partner  in  2010  and President/CEO  in  2016.  His  primary  role  is  that  of  an  insurance  advisor,  working  with industry leaders to implement insurance and risk management strategies that are a best fit for each client. In addition to John’s role as an advisor, he oversees all financial and strategic initiatives for BHI. He has experience dealing with multiple insurance strategies, including   guaranteed   cost,   loss   sensitive   and   captive   insurance   programs,   for organizations and businesses across most industries. John is licensed to sell insurance in 43 states and to date, has sold over $100,000,000 in Property & Casualty Insurance premiums. Most  recently,  John  has  been  honored  by  Delaware  Business  Times  as  one  of  their  40 Under 40 Leaders. DBT presents this award to “role models who are striving to make a difference in our community.” Under John’s leadership, BHI was also named a Fastest 50 award winner, signaling BHI’s growth and placement as a premier brokerage in the Mid- Atlantic region. A lifelong Delawarean, John resides in Hockessin with his two children, Jack and Bailey.
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