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Real-World Perspective on Today’s Cyber Threat Landscape

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Element Four’s 2021 Cybersecurity Update

As we quickly approach the end of another wild year, we can say two things with absolute confidence. First, cybersecurity will continue to be a huge issue for organizations of all sizes. And secondly – if you aren’t doing everything you can to protect your critical assets from a growing list of physical and digital threats, it’s only a matter of time before you become the next headline.

At Element Four, security is one of our core competencies. We created this blog to give leaders like yourself an opportunity to better understand what’s happening in today’s evolving threat landscape – as well gain some actionable insight into what you can be doing to better protect your people, data, and infrastructure as the world continues to accelerate toward a more digital workplace.

Let’s start with what we’re seeing

We’ve found ourselves having a lot of intense security conversations over the past year, and these were some of the most common themes:

  1. Cybercriminals aren’t just targeting large enterprises: The truth is, cybercriminals don’t care how big you are if you have something they want. Small and medium-sized organizations are being targeted because their security typically isn’t as mature as their enterprise counterparts.
  • Cyberthreats are becoming more sophisticated: From the ransomware attack that closed the Colonial Pipeline to the SolarWinds attack on government agencies, there was plenty of evidence this year that cybercriminals are evolving their techniques as they look for ways to exploit new vulnerabilities.
  • Remote and hybrid work create new vulnerabilities: Many new vulnerabilities are within hybrid and remote work environments – especially in companies that continue to offer no security training and rely on “quick fixes” that were implemented to enable remote work when the pandemic started.
  • There’s way too much noise in cybersecurity: With thousands of vendors who all claim to do the same thing, it’s getting harder for organizations to not only identify what security products are right for them, but also feel confident that what they’re investing in will provide the type of protection they actually need.
  • Data backups are the last line of defense: We find that most companies don’t realize this until it’s too late. Many hardships encountered during a security breach could be avoided with a strong data backup and recovery strategy in place – including not having to pay a six-figure ransom after a ransomware attack.

We could absolutely go on – but our hope is that these themes will at least get you thinking about challenges you might not even know you’re facing, as well as potential gaps you have within your current cybersecurity strategy. To learn more, you can also read this new Cisco SMB security report.

So, what are some of the things you can (and should) be doing?

While there will never be a magic button to prevent cyberattacks, there are plenty of things you can be doing to reduce the chances that you’ll experience one.

  1. Provide consistent security training: You can drastically improve your security posture by keeping your users updated on emerging threats and the actions they should be taking to stay secure.
  • Incorporate multi-factor authentication (MFA): Through MFA, you can verify the identity of users before granting access to any application or server while still providing a great user experience. Plus, MFA is a prerequisite for most cybersecurity insurance policies! (Check out Cisco Duo.)
  • Create a stronger backup and recovery plan: As discussed above, data backups are your last line of defense. If you experience a cyberattack, you’ll need a lot more than consumer-grade cloud storage to recover data and return to normal operation conditions quickly.
  • Work with a company that specializes in security: Despite what you may think, not all IT companies just want to sell you a “box” you don’t need. Talk to several and find one that has the partnerships and experience to help you wade through all the noise in the cybersecurity industry. We may be biased, but Cisco offers some of the best security solutions for SMBs.

Have questions or need a starting point? We’d love to help.

If these past couple years have taught us anything, it’s that people are incredibly resilient – and a tip of the hat goes to any and all leaders who have effectively led their organization through some pretty tough times. If you have questions or just want insight from someone who’s in the security trenches, don’t hesitate to reach out.

As a Cisco partner who specializes in securing small to medium-sized businesses, we can show you what their technology is doing for organizations like yours and provide assessments, demos, and even free trials.

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