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Jonathan Stone

By: Jonathan Stone on March 11th, 2019

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Trends From the Cisco Annual Cybersecurity Report and How to Stay Ahead of Them

Cybersecurity

Every year Cisco releases an annual Cybersecurity Report detailing the state of global cybersecurity. In the most recent edition, two key trends stood out to me as threats that every business owner and IT manager should be aware of and prepared for.

Trend: Malware levels up - “ransomware on steroids”

Ransomware proliferates throughout a network and encrypts data holding it captive until a payment is made. It’s painful and costly when a company’s data is held ransom, but at least the data isn’t gone—it’s just locked, and if there are backups or the hackers are true to their word and release it when paid, it can be retrieved eventually.

Today’s malware has taken a page out of the same book by infiltrating systems and self-propagating, but includes the new twist of obliterating your data—exponentially amplifying the threat posed by ransomware. Self-propagating malware allows bad actors to destroy primary and backup data, leaving you with nothing. This new trend has the potential to bring a business to its knees. Implementing the best practices that apply to ransomware is now more important than ever.

Tip 1: Knowledge is power  

A system infection of malware is normally the result of someone clicking something they shouldn’t have. Unfortunately, people are often unable to recognize malware. Most hackers are great con artists, skilled at hiding nefarious links in seemingly benign disguises.

The best way to defend yourself is through education. At Kelser, we protect clients with cybersecurity training that efficiently and effectively teaches employees how to identify threats and avoid them. Education is the best vaccine for computer viruses, by preventing someone from clicking the wrong link in the first place.

Tip 2: Have a backup plan

While being educated on identifying threats is important, we all know mistakes happen. This is where business continuity and disaster recovery comes in. We help our customers safely store their data backups. You need multiple backups stored securely away from your primary data so you can rebuild in the event of a worst-case scenario, which can range from a cyberattack, to employee error, to a blizzard or hurricane.

Tip 3: Punch back

When you experience a malware attack, you need to fight back. Kelser deploys software like Cisco Umbrella that cuts off an infection’s ability to spread. In addition, Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) detects infections and alerts you right away. It can even identify the source so you can stop it in its tracks. These technologies are constantly adapting and are at the forefront of curbing the seemingly ever-growing cyber crime wave.

Trend: Connected devices create new gaps to exploit   

Our world is more plugged in and connected than ever before. Every smart thermostat, speaker, appliance or device represents a potential point of vulnerability that can be broken into and used as a jumping off point to infiltrate the rest of your system. Every connected device you have represents an opportunity for hackers to get their hands on your data.

Tip 1: Inventory can be revelatory

The first step in defense is understanding what’s on your network. A network vulnerability assessment takes a detailed inventory of all the devices on your network and identifies vulnerabilities, allowing you to set up defenses and close your gaps.

Tip 2: Compartmentalize your network

At Kelser, we advise clients on how to construct networks to close any security gaps created by connected devices. We set up firewalls that allow your devices do their jobs without giving them—or anyone else—access to your sensitive data.  

Final Thoughts

Keeping up with the latest trends in the rapidly changing cybersecurity landscape can be difficult. That’s why you need an expert who can implement cutting edge protections against today’s threats and keep you ahead of the curve. That way, you’re prepared for whatever may be on the horizon.

Get the Cisco Security Report

About Jonathan Stone

In his role as Chief Technology Officer for Kelser, Jon ensures that the strategies we craft advance business outcomes for our clients.