Four Ways to Detect a Cyber Threat

office worker and manager observing dataIn order for businesses to counter the ever-growing amount of network security risks, having an effective security plan has become increasingly critical. The plan must implement strong IT security tools, and there must be a strategy for emerging threats. With the help of an IT security consultant, you can become part of the detection process by looking out for the following signs of a cyber threat.

Identify email phishing
Phishing refers to the attempted access to private business information by pretending to be a trusted source. Team members must practice safe email protocol and should be cautious when clicking online links or attachments sent from unknown sources.

Identify dangerous pop-ups
Unknown pop-ups can be infected with malware or spyware. Install a browser extension that will block pop-ups from generating from any source that is not known or trusted.

Note unusual password activity
If you or an employee receives an email stating that a password has been changed, but you did not initiate this action, it is a potential sign of suspicious activity. Ensure that all employees create strong passwords and that they are updated every six months.

Keep software up to date
When developers release updated versions of their software, it often includes a security update. You and your team can help to reduce the likelihood of an attack by ensuring all software programs are up to date.


Three Questions to Ask When Hiring a Cyber Security Consultant

cyber security technician in data centerAs a business owner, it’s important to recognize if or when you become unconfident in your organization’s defenses against cyber attacks. If this sounds familiar, it’s likely time to contact a network security consultant. But how do you know if you’re choosing someone who is truly qualified? Here are some key questions you should ask when hiring a network security consultant.

What relevant experience do you have with IT security?
While many cyber security consultants have resumes with impressing-looking credentials, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the candidate has obtained practical experience. Rather than asking him/her what they would do in a potential situation, ask for specifics on what they have done for real clients in the past.

What is my company’s most significant security risk?
By asking this question, you can ensure that the consultant’s ideas for security solutions are customized to suit the needs of your particular business.

How will you communicate with me about the work you do?
Some cyber security consultants have a habit of shrouding their work in secrecy. With a lack of communication, you will likely be disappointed by the results. Rather, have the consultant explain the work they will do and the procedures he/she will implement.

Three Reasons to Hire a Cyber Security Consultant

blade server in datacenterAs the skills and audacity of cyber criminals increase, so do the threats that they pose to business owners. While massive breaches at big corporations such as Target may lead the headlines, hackers are certainly not only interested in large corporations. That being said, all business owners should take cyber security seriously. However, not all organizations can afford their own in-house security teams. If you’re not entirely confident in your systems’ defenses against cyber threats, it’s probably time to consider hiring a cyber security consultant. Here are some of the top reasons to have one of these professionals working for you.

Prevent Possible Attacks
The right cyber security consultant will work to prevent possible attacks on your company’s website, software programs, and IT infrastructure. If an issue does occur, a security consultant can likely mitigate before it increases in severity.

Save Money
According to a report from Kaspersky Lab, the average cost of a data breach for small and medium-sized businesses in 2017 was $117,000. While you may not have the means to hire an employee to oversee your company’s cyber defense around-the-clock, a cyber security consultant can still help to keep your company’s information secure and avoid costly data breaches.

Enhance Your Staff
A cyber security expert will help to educate your current employees and broaden their horizons when working with IT security. Once the consultant has completed the job, your workforce will benefit by continuing to implement his/her efforts with the new security practices that were established.

Tips for Choosing Strong Passwords

gold key and padlockBoth the United States government and American businesses have been targeted by hackers who have successfully stolen credit card information, disabled websites, and deleted military files. After an attack, companies and agencies are left struggling to determine and explain just how their data was stolen or compromised. As they attempt to recover, cyber security experts use these events to emphasize the importance of being prepared for an attempted attack. As most of us know, one way to doing so is creating strong passwords.

To increase cyber security and help protect you or your company’s digital identity, here are some tips on creating effective passwords:

  • Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters
  • Don’t base your password on information that is publicly known (i.e., your birthday or spouse’s name)
  • Use an untraditional combination of words that only you would remember
  • Don’t use the same password across multiple programs or websites

Cyber security experts know that weak passwords are largely to blame for online security breaches. Hackers have access to a number of tools, such as dictionary-based systems, that are effective in cracking weak passwords. A secure password, however, is one that a hacker cannot easily guess or crack using software tools. While keeping to the tips listed above may seem inconvenient, doing so can protect you and your company or agency from facing extremely compromising situations in the future.