What is Social Engineering? 5 Tips for Protecting Your Business from Cyber Security Risks

Posted by Mark Jennings - August 27, 2019 - security

For modern businesses, cybersecurity awareness and planning plays an important role in long-term sustainability. With cyber risks continuing to grow in frequency and severity, now more than ever, businesses need to take a proactive approach in ensuring their continuity. This is especially the case when protecting themselves against social engineering attacks.

Social engineering is a broad term that recognizes the use of deceitful methods that manipulate users into creating new vulnerabilities in their systems. Some primary examples of social engineering in practice are email phishing schemes and spear phishing attacks that trick users into sharing sensitive information under the guise of legitimate websites and services. Attackers later use this information to carry out any number of malicious activities. 

However, as a business, there are several steps you can follow to reduce your exposure to this form of cyber attack while strengthening your security posture. Here are five effective ways to keep your organization protected from the latest cybersecurity risks.

Cybersecurity Awareness and Training

Whether or not they know it, company employees are continuously at risk from being targeted by malicious digital attackers. This makes it vital that your business invests in the right staff and resources the make cybersecurity awareness and training a key part of your business culture.

An effective way to bring more security awareness to your organization is by providing interactive training courses designed specifically to address important cybersecurity risks. Simulated testing environments are the perfect way to test your employees' and IT staff’s ability to recognize and address phishing schemes while giving them the ability to create actionable steps to improve their efforts.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

The techniques used by hackers to compromise user passwords and other login credentials has only gotten more advanced over the years. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a two-step verification system that significantly reduces the likelihood of outside users from gaining unauthorized access to key business systems. 

Rather than just requiring a username and password. MFA requires users to provide multiple user validation types while requiring them to use secondary validation through a mobile device, application, or service. This added security takes another progressive step towards reducing the business's attack surface and also helps to ensure regulatory compliance standards are being continuously met.

Antivirus and Antimalware Software

Another line of defense when protecting your business against social engineering attacks is by investing in the right antivirus and antimalware software. While these two elements may seem interchangeable, they are both equally important to actively defending against the latest cyber-related threats. 

While antivirus software is effective in defending against infected downloads, email attachments, and files, antimalware software provides more of a blanketed approach against email phishing and spyware attempts. Using both forms of protection in your business is the best approach, but it’s critical that you keep them regularly updated. Cybersecurity practices must remain dynamic and adaptable to be effective, and automatic software updates help to maintain this standard.

Data Encryption

Regardless of whether your business operates solely in the cloud or on-premise, protecting your data should always be a priority. However, maintaining secure data storage centers is only one step in ensuring long-term data protection. Data is most vulnerable when it’s in transit and businesses need to take adequate measures to encrypt theirs regardless of where it is and how it’s being accessed.

While data encryption on its own isn’t enough to protect against all forms of cyberattack, it is a critical step in ensuring your information stays safe. In the event of a data breach, data encryption makes your information worthless to attackers, keeping your business’s and client’s information secure. When used in conjunction with strongly enforced network security policies and standards, data encryption is a key component to strengthening your cybersecurity position.

Maintaining a Zero Trust Network Policy

Maintaining strict access controls for your networks is an important first step when securing your business systems. Adopting a “zero trust” security model is a great way to approach this process as it ensures network administrators air on the side of skepticism and remain vigilant when establishing authorized users.

The philosophy behind a zero trust network policy is that attacks can come from both outside and inside the organization. Even if employees are unaware, compromised login credentials can lead to attackers access systems under the guise of an authorized user. By maintaining a zero trust network, administrators utilize micro-segmentation to secure zones of their network, making it much more difficult for malicious users to cause damage to the system and significantly improving recovery time. 

Social engineering attacks and other cybersecurity risks should be a primary concern when considering business growth and sustainability in today’s digital landscape. By following these tips and ensuring your employees receive adequate cybersecurity awareness and training, you’ll strengthen your security posture and be better equipped to thwart future cyber crime initiatives.

about the author

Mark Jennings

Mark Jennings is SymQuest’s Area Vice President of IT Sales. Jennings works with SymQuest’s sales and service teams to educate customers on current best practices around data protection, disaster recovery, security, and overall technology planning.

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