You show up to work — and get the worst sort of surprise.
Your business’s credentials have been compromised.
Somehow, a bad actor gained access and your passwords, data, your customers’ information — and all your sensitive documents are now in the hands of a hacker. You wish that there had been some kind of warning that this would happen. Anything.
You wish that the fortune cookie you ate after dinner last night had a message like “Your IT credentials will be compromised soon. Get prepared.” Then things would have been different.
You didn’t think you’d ever be a target— so you weren’t expecting a cyberattack.
But you’ve realized too late that just because you don’t think a data breach will happen…doesn’t mean that it won’t.
It’s just a matter of time
The truth is, you don’t need a fortune cookie to tell you that protecting your credentials should be a priority.
We’re not trying to scare anyone, but data breaches happen more often than any of us would like to think.
Whether it’s ransomware, phishing, or hackers — chances are good that this year, it will happen to you or someone you know.
The good news is that you can take steps to make sure your business recovers quickly and reduce the negative impact.
How are credentials compromised?
Sometimes a business’s data is “easy pickings” because they lack basic protections — like firewalls to keep unauthorized users from accessing information. Some companies don’t have current antivirus software or haven’t installed software updates to keep protections up-to-date.
However, even with effective, up-to-date equipment, current software, and the best firewall — a business is still at risk.
The reason is simple…people.
Although inadequate infrastructure and outdated software are absolutely risk factors, information breaches aren’t always break-ins. Often, someone (usually an employee) opens a door and lets the hacker in.
The truth is, some people are more susceptible to scams than others. Even with cutting-edge technology, users are the most vulnerable point in your IT’s protection.
When data is compromised due to human error, it usually happens in one of several situations:
- Phishing scams:
Emails pretending to be from legitimate senders to trick users into giving information or access is a common way that scammers get to your information. There are easy ways to spot a phishing email, and training helps employees become proficient in protecting your credentials.
- Scareware and Malware are another tactic to get an unsuspecting user to click on a phishy link. Messages like “your computer has been infected” can fool someone into calling a number or downloading malicious software. Ransomware programs can hold your data hostage and cost you a lot of money (without assurance that you’ll get the data back — even if you pay!).
- Weak Passwords
People often use (and reuse) common or easy-to-guess passwords. A bot can crack a password like these in seconds, leaving your data open to anyone.
Prevention is the best cure
Often, it is not IT that fails in protecting your credentials — it’s a failure of business processes!
People are the weakest link in your company’s IT armor.
But as it so happens, they are also one of the strongest defenses!
At Varay Managed IT, we help our clients learn how to be a “human firewall” to avoid data breaches. Our 411 emails keep your employees in the loop about software updates and help them use new tools like web filters and multi-factor identification, providing great insurance against data loss.
Do your employees know how to identify a phishing email, and what types of websites frequently harbor malware? When a company goes through Varay’s onboarding process, we work with you and your team to identify bad and inefficient processes that put your data at risk.
And using a managed IT service provider (MSP) like Varay automatically puts your business in a more prepared situation. Where break/fix IT services just repair what’s broken, MSPs proactively address issues and anticipate your company’s evolving needs. A quality MSP evaluates and addresses gaps — including business processes and cybersecurity.
However, even with great protections and diligent training, protecting your credentials can be a challenge.
Sometimes hackers access vendors’ accounts and monitor email transactions — and get your data. Sometimes credentials are stolen from other databases that have access to your information.
Employee training and up-to-date software are powerful tools in protecting your credentials. But up-to-date antivirus programs aren’t enough to fend off every kind of malware. Data breaches can happen to even the most conscientious business.
What can you do when (despite your careful preparation) your credentials get compromised?
Prepare for the worst, and get the best
Compromised credentials and data loss will probably always cause disruptions. But— if prepared— a business can still recover.
Taking precautions and protecting your credentials can make the impact of a disaster much less severe.
Hopefully, your business won’t ever face a data loss situation of catastrophic proportions. But when you are prepared with a business continuity plan — you’ll be prepared to work through crises and their after-effects.
Varay’s V-Care Complete coverage provides top-of-the-line cybersecurity to give your business protection and confidence — whatever may come your way!
And a disaster recovery plan (DRP) mitigates the IT risks that rear their ugly heads when you least expect it. A Varay DRP specialist can help identify the pieces vital to your company’s functionality and create a detailed plan— so you know exactly what to do if disaster strikes.
Data breaches happen unexpectedly (and without warnings from fortune cookies!)
Make sure you’re prepared and “on the offense” against cybersecurity threats. When you’ve got a plan, you can face whatever comes your way.
At Varay Managed IT, we are passionate about cybersecurity. Contact us for a free consultation and see how an MSP can help your business have confidence that your data is protected.