Top 10 Cybersecurity Tools To Protect Business Data
Cybersecurity risks have been on the rise for years. As attackers develop new and advanced tools to infiltrate networks, the products and services designed to protect against these attacks continue to evolve as well.
But, like many business leaders you may be wondering if you have the best available solutions in place to keep their business data protected.
In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 cybersecurity tools businesses can use to combat the most common threats.
As Manager, Engineering Services at Kelser, I work with many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to find the best security tools for their business while balancing their budgetary concerns.
As a managed IT support services provider, Kelser works proactively with customers to understand their business, their unique technology pain points and implement proactive, relevant solutions.
Don’t worry, though, I’m not writing this article to persuade you to work with us or that our solution is exactly what you need. Instead, the purpose of this article is to provide you with the information you need to decide which technology solutions are good fits for your organization.
What Are The Most Common Cybersecurity Threats?
Most experts agree that malware continues to be the most common form of cyber attack. This is partially due to the fact that malware is a broad category that includes a variety of threat vectors.
Malware (an abbreviation of malicious software) is defined as software that is designed to produce a harmful effect on a device, server or network. Included in this category are ransomware (which continues to rise in popularity), viruses, phishing attacks, worms, trojans, spyware, and more.
Related article: What Is Malware? How Can It Affect My Business?
In March 2023, the White House issued its National Cybersecurity Strategy, a 38-page document, that calls ransomware attacks “a threat to national security, public safety and economic prosperity.”
So what tools exist to combat these threats?
The Top 10 Cybersecurity Tools To Keep Your Business Data Safe
Despite the ever-changing face of the cybersecurity landscape, there are 10 essential tools and services that will always be a good choice for your IT environment.
1. Endpoint Security
Each device that is connected to your network—from phones, desktops and laptops to tablets and servers—is an endpoint that can become a potential attack vector for cybercriminals.
These days, with the proliferation of remote work and the use of personal devices securing endpoints can be difficult. The first step is to know what devices are operating on your network so you can protect your data and network appropriately.
The most overlooked threats are networked printers. If improperly secured (or installed without changing the default password), they can also make an easy entry point for people with bad intentions to access your network.
Look for a security solution that can organize and control the endpoints on your network according to their role or function.
It’s also a good idea to lock down your guest Wi-Fi network, keeping guest devices completely separate from the rest of your network and data.
Intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) are software applications that network administrators use to identify signs of malicious activity or security violations.
IDS software compares network activity against a database of known threats to detect potential cyber attacks and generate an alert. IPS software helps detect and prevent suspicious network activity.
Both IDS and IPS solutions detect malware, spyware, viruses, and other types of attacks, as well as threats posed by security policy violations. Each of your endpoint systems should be covered by IDS/IPS software, which most next-generation firewalls have built in.
3. Next-Generation Firewalls
Firewalls are hardware- or software-based network security applications that prevent unauthorized incoming and outgoing traffic, using a defined set of security rules that protect the network from potentially malicious activity.
In addition to IDS/IPS software, other features of a good firewall include the ability to:
4. Anti-Malware & Antivirus Software
Anti-malware and antivirus software applications identify, block, and remove malware and viruses from your device.
Potentially suspicious files are compared against a database of known threats. Some anti-malware and antivirus software will also attempt to detect malicious software by evaluating the way it behaves.
You want to select anti-malware and antivirus software solutions that have the ability to:
- send a notification when a suspicious file is detected
- identify files as good, bad, or potentially harmful
- be tailored to surveil specific users or groups
A virtual private network (VPN) creates a private communication channel that’s established over a non-private physical network, such as the internet.
Related article: What Is A Virtual Private Network (VPN)? Do I Need One?
VPNs are an essential part of any multi-site network because they provide a secure way to access websites and content that are restricted to certain IP addresses and geographical regions, such as a corporate intranet.
Regardless of which option you choose, any VPN solution must use a highly secure encryption standard such as AES-256.
6. Data Backups
Cloud storage has become the best practice for backing up your essential business data. A quick internet search indicates that more than 50 percent of organizations rely solely on cloud-based backup storage solutions.
When compared with on-premise data storage solutions, cloud storage offers advantages including protection from physical and natural disasters.
Related article: 8 Questions To Ask When Vetting Cloud Providers For IT Services
7. Network Security
Good network security involves prevention of attacks, protection of data, detection of incidents (or attempted incidents), and a strategy for responding to detected threats.
You also need to protect the data being sent through the devices on your network to ensure that the information is not changed or intercepted en route. All wireless LANs should use the 802.1X standard and Network Access Control (NAC). This allows you to prevent unauthorized people from logging into the network.
Encryption is mandatory for businesses in certain industries such as healthcare, finance, and others that handle sensitive and confidential information.
Encrypted data cannot be accessed without the encryption key, even if it falls into the hands of an attacker. Your choice of encryption solution should protect data at rest and in transit.
9. Email Security
Choose an IT provider that has robust automated email filters for detecting threats such as spam, phishing, scams, and viruses. Of course, even with the best products a few messages could slip through the filter. That’s why you also need to raise employee awareness so they are able to identify and report fraudulent messages.
10. Cybersecurity Awareness Training
In addition to a network firewall, your employees can form a strong “human firewall” with ongoing training and education about the latest threats, security tools, and best practices.
For example, some managed IT support service providers will simulate phishing attacks on your network to test how well staff members would respond in a real phishing situation. Others provide informational videos or even in-person training sessions.
It’s imperative that employees receive ongoing and effective training. Again, the keys are ongoing and effective. Keep cybersecurity at top of mind for all employees with engaging, interactive awareness training. There are several options, some of which are available free of charge.
Related article: What Is Employee Security Awareness Training? Do I Need It?
Where Do You Go From Here?
Cybersecurity can feel like a moving target. The solutions that were effective last year (or even last month) may or may not be enough today.
You may have an in-house IT team that can help you implement the 10 tools outlined above. Or you may already have some or most of them in place.
If your IT organization is small or you don’t have an IT staff, you may be considering other ways to make sure you have the essential tools in place to protect your network and data. Many SMBs find it helpful to partner with an external IT support services provider to get the wide range of services their network needs. Learn your options for external IT support.
Learn more about the most popular cyber threats (and how to mitigate them). Click the link below to get your free eBook 10 Actions You Can Take Now To Improve Your Cybersecurity.
Prefer to self-assess your cybersecurity readiness? Click the button below for a free checklist that will help you identify:
✔️where your organization's cybersecurity policy needs improving
✔️ actions you can take to keep your organization's data secure
✔️ ways to ensure your organization follows the latest cybersecurity best practices