Today’s world runs on data, and while the focus is often on how to get more of it, we can easily overlook the importance of secure data management. The same data you mined, analyzed and built your strategy on, can just as easily be hijacked and turned against you.
Your workflows, system logs and vulnerability scans all provide insightful data for you – and if they are not secure, for your competitors or other hackers who are looking to profit from your work. Imagine the amount of data your company deals with each day, let alone each year. Likely your business is one of the 49% of business surveyed who say they collect, process and analyze more data than they did two years ago. How do you protect that data from accidents, weather-related emergencies, shutdowns, fraud or strikes? Your business plan needs to include a cyber security plan.
What is Cyber Security and Secure Data Management?
A secure data management plan not only secures your database, but makes sure that your security processes, tools and methodologies are working together. Increasingly strict government regulations such as the EU’s GDPR, which came into effect a year ago and affects every business that has a European customer, require businesses to take action to protect information. Cyber security and a proper secure data management plan will help keep your reputation intact and your data private.
Staying ahead of the rising wave of technical innovations and challenges can be overwhelming, especially when you don’t understand the terminology. Knowing these terms is the first step to fully understanding cyber security, so we’ve compiled some of the most important cyber security terminology you should understand to help you protect yourself and your data.
A botnet is a group of computers connected together to perform malicious acts online. Each computer is a bot and together they make up a botnet. Each botnet is controlled by a third party. Initially created as a tool for internet relay chat (IRC) channels, botnets were then seized and used by hackers to steal passwords and perform keystroke logging. Botnets target computers without firewalls and/or anti-virus protection. Even routers can be infected and pulled into the botnet. Botnets are a tool popular with hackers and organized crime who use them for many different reasons:
- Phishing for identity theft
- Bot herders build botnets and rent them for profit
- Mining bitcoin
- Spreading spam emails
- DDoS attacks (see below)
A Distributed Denial of Service is a cyber attack that aims to make a website unusable by flooding it with traffic or data. The network receives a massive number of requests for access generated by hackers using hijacked services or botnets. This causes the servers to become overwhelmed and ultimately fail. DDoS attacks are commonly aimed at banks or credit card gateways.
Data breaches occur when a network is attacked and data such as logins, credit card numbers, and customer or personal information is stolen. Hackers then hold the data for ransom, sell it online or use it to make purchases. Stolen passwords are often tried on multiple sites to see what will work, so using passwords that are unique to each site is a key strategy to protect you and your customers.
This form of cyberattack holds proprietary information hostage via system lockout or encryption until the owner pays for it’s release or decryption. In another form of attack, the hacker will threaten to release the data unless the owner pays; such tactics can make headlines and destroy reputations. Ransomware can gain access to your system via email phishing scams and malware downloads. This is an example of why proper employee email training is a key strategy to fighting cyber attacks.
This type of malware enables hackers to spy on your online activities. It enables them to access personal information, online banking and credit card information and social security information. On mobile devices, spyware enables hackers to read texts and redirect calls.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
An effective strategy to protect your business is to create a VPN, a virtual private network. It allows you and your staff to remain anonymous while using the internet by masking your location and encrypting traffic as you visit websites. It is a critical tool when you are using public networks, or when employees are working remotely.
Internet of Things (IoT)
We live in an interconnected world, and the internet facilitates that to a point we couldn’t have imagined just a couple years ago. The concept of IoT is that any device that can connect to the Internet, and thus to other devices, is part of the Internet of Things. It applies to the obvious examples such as cell phones and computers, but also the less obvious washing machines, security systems and people themselves. Analyst firm Gartner forecasts that we will have over 26 billion connected devices by 2020.
IoT Security Companies
Just as you have a key for your home and a password to your phone, a secure data management plan protects your data. A managed IT service can help create a cyber security plan that includes secure data management in order to enable you to confidently focus on your business. Cyber security isn’t just one program or process, it’s a collective effort which one weak link can bring down.
Knowing the terminology is the first step to understanding what steps you should take to protect yourself and your business. Celeris offers managed IT services that will provide you with enhanced security for your company. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.