5 Need To Know IT Security Threats Companies Face

Jan 07, 2015 • Business, Data
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From business to employee relations, as an organization, you have a lot on your plate. The one item that should never be ignored is security threats surrounding your IT organization. Hackers are learning new ways to infiltrate systems and steal valuable organizational information every day. It seems that no organization is safe, even the big guys are getting hit with terrible cyber attacks. The work you produce is too valuable to be stolen and it’s necessary to be one step ahead in the game by knowing what you’re up against.

Below are five need-to-know IT security threats companies, like yours, face daily.

1. Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)

This security threat combines phishing attacks and Trojans when hackers send emails to multiple employees, increasing their odds than one will mistakenly click on the infected link. It’s easy for this threat to spread like wildfire within hours, especially once it’s established in a users computer. Prevention besides anti-phishing tools and better user email education includes knowing your computer communication networks in which computers share information with each other. Often times, APT has irregularities with computer communication that are quick to pinpoint and track.

2. Bring Your Own Device Trend (BYOD)

Becoming increasingly popular in 2014, many employees are bringing their own laptops and other devices to the workplace. While there are pros (easier for the traveling employee and cost efficient) there are also some big cons concerning IT security. Personal devices lead to security issues with external threats from their devices to misplacement of valuable company information. If your organization is not equipped with a system and network that can combat these issues or is too much on IT’s plate–eliminate this trend. It might be easier to supply devices with your own downloaded security measurements. Otherwise, make sure you have a system in place were confidential information cannot be compromised. The real danger comes when your company has no clear stance or rules when it comes BYOD

3. Embedded Systems

This threat is dangerous because it is hidden to most internet users. Embedded systems hide in websites and popular applications people use everyday and hackers can easily get into the companies networks through internet-facing server techniques. According to SC Magazine, you can combat this issue by placing devices behind network perimeter devices and changing usernames and passwords on sites that have been compromised. In addition, make sure all embedded devices have up-to-date firmware and software.

4. The Cloud

A relatively new technology, the Cloud, has some great benefits, but fear of how secure remains an issue. This past year, we’ve seen big companies, such as Target and Home Depot have major security breaches involving customer information being leaked from the Cloud. Other issues include: data loss, service traffic hijacking, malicious insiders, and shared technology vulnerabilities. How can you combat security issues surrounding it? First is to control your data and who has access to encryption keys. Also, backup your data for when security breaches happen. Lastly, test to make sure your information is secure-through scanning and assessments in and out of the cloud. By seeing unsecured data, you’ll be one step ahead of the hackers by locking up any loose ends.

5. Insider Threat

Last but not least, one security risk companies overlook is employees and their access to important information. Whether it’s negligence or rouge activity, employees can compromise your company’s work. Suzanne Fribbins, risk management expert at British Standards Institution, told International Business Times, “Employees don’t necessarily have to be malicious to put a company at risk; they may just not understand the possible risks associated with their actions. Research has shown that effective staff training can half the number of inside breaches, by ensuring employees understand the importance of information security and their role in protecting businesses critical information.”

What’s more scary is now hackers also know how to target employees, through emails disguised as corporations or on social media. So, what can you do? There really isn’t a simple answer but consider training employees on best computer practices outlined to serve your company’s needs. Furthermore, teach the value of awareness from the bottom to the top of your organizational management structure. It’s not necessary to make every employee an IT specialist, but don’t brush them off, often times problems start with employees other than with hackers.

Obviously the threats don’t end here. Make sure your IT department is kept up-to-date on security risks and is proactive in prevention.

Alex Espenson

Alex Espenson is a technology writer with a passion for home automation, tech security, and wearable smart devices.

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