The New Year provides a great opportunity to truly reset, and to think of a plethora of ways you can make this year better than the last – whether that’s through financial changes, a focus on better health, or perhaps something less intense like simply living more in the moment!
For many, goal-setting can often link to professional situations, too. And with technology playing such a crucial role in today’s SME and wider business landscape, taking control over your data and enhancing your organisational skills might just make your working life easier throughout 2022.
So, without further ado, let’s dig in to five tech resolutions SME owners should be committing to over the next 12 months…
Regularly back up your data
If you take one piece of advice, let it be this – online cloud storage is your best friend.
Not only is it easy to use, but it also plays dividends in the event of inevitable data-loss scenarios – from system crashes and malware infections to power outages and full-blown hard drive corruptions. And, because most backup services offer automated and encrypted protection, data on the cloud is more secure than ever.
When looking at Microsoft Office 365, in particular, be sure to speak to your technology partner about the security they offer for this, as having a multi-level archiving and backup solution in place will allow your organisation to prepare and migrate safely, efficiently and economically.
But the most effective cyber security strategies require multiple layers of protection and diverse approaches to match the sophistication of threats. Therefore, if you don’t already, it’s also a good idea to enable extra security protocols such as two-factor authentication to access your cloud data, to enhance security even further.
Start using a password manager
No matter how great your memory is, overburdening your mind to recall passwords is no joy for anyone. And with the growing need to intensify the strength of log-in information in the face of increasingly complex cyber-attacks, the task has become near impossible.
Password managers offer a central storage hub for your data – automatically filling in information when you’re ready to log into an application and providing support to improve the power of your existing credentials. With that being said, it’s important to note that utilising a password manager is no overnight solution – getting started requires a lot of manual labour to input your details, although the time and trouble it saves in the long-run is invaluable.
Stop delaying infrastructure updates
How many times have you clicked ‘remind me later’ and postponed a vital software update? Although it might seem like a tedious, unimportant exercise, keeping your devices up-to-date plays a crucial role in protecting yourself against security risks and ransomware attacks – and is one of the easiest ways to do so!
Your operating system can be a particularly vulnerable target for hackers, as it manages all the functionality of your device. To keep on top of increasingly sophisticated threats from perpetrators, you should maintain regular updates by manually checking for availability in system settings, enabling automatic updates, or even opening your devices out of hours to mitigate disruption.
When it comes to software and hardware updates though, your IT partner should be checking in with you regularly about the requirements for your business, and how your systems can be enhanced – making operations seamless and downtime minimal.
Why not speak to your service provider regarding implementing an automated patching service? That way, no important security updates will ever be missed, and you can also provide evidence that your business is fully up to date and meets compliance requirements.
Give your email inbox some TLC
Whether you’re an SME owner that’s inundated with emails or hasa steady flow of messages in your inbox, having a strategy is a great way to stay on top of your workload – and what better way to start 2022?
It may seem like a daunting task but taking the time to implement a structured approach to email organisation is a quick-win that will create a host of efficiencies in your day-to-day routine. Start by unsubscribing from unwanted communications that clutter your dashboard and addressing the flagged emails that you’ve neglected, before harnessing the true power of filtering.
You can also save yourself a few extra minutes per day by creating pre-set signatures, scheduling emails, and learning keyboard shortcuts to power through your inbox more efficiently.
Here at Central, and in partnership with Barracuda, we can provide a complete email protection portfolio in a single bundle that is easy to buy, implement, and use. This offers comprehensive security against business email compromise, account takeover and other advanced developing email threats, all delivered as a cloud-based solution with direct integration to Office 365.
Think ahead about cyber security
Of course, there are plenty of simple ways to mitigate the risks of a cyber-attack, but your security strategy should extend across every day of the year and form a fully comprehensive approach – not just act as a casual, of-the-moment management solution.
To make life easier for your internal tech teams, and to create efficiencies across the board, you could consider outsourcing some or all your IT support to a third-party expert. This strategic partner can proactively monitor and remedy any issues before they even arise – keeping your operations running seamlessly. By sourcing a security operations centre (SOC) service, for example, vulnerabilities are constantly monitored to ensure rapid response to any incidents that slip through the radar.
Cyber security certifications are also available – such as the government-backed Cyber Essentials scheme – to give peace of mind that your defences offer effective protection against a range of common attacks and to enhance your knowledge on securing IT systems. This is one of the many ‘business protection’ services we offer at Central, so please contact us if you’d like to find out more.
You can discover everything you need to know about outsourcing your IT support in our recent blog.
Central Networks wishes you a happy, successful, and well-protected 2022!
With the continued advancements in the complexity of cyber fraud, traditional security is no longer fully comprehensive to ensure a system is as secure as possible. Previously unseen methods of attacks are impossible to detect with security protocols that are only looking for known threats.
In partnership with Darktrace, Central offers industry-leading artificial intelligence systems that allow for proactive monitoring of organisational activities, quickly identifying, triaging and even neutralising the issue instantly.
With rollout being available for cloud, network, and email platforms, we are able to offer companies a comprehensive security package that creates efficiencies, saves time, and allows analysts to focus on higher-value tasks.
• Operates under a machine self-learning model that builds a ‘pattern of life’ at a granular level within the organisation
• Acts like the human immune system by understanding what is intrinsically ‘normal’
• Detects deviations that signal threatening activity and issues reports
• Triages and assesses potential attacks, with 92% of time saved, on average
• Offers an advanced-level solution that not only detects and triages an incident, but triggers an autonomous and proportionate response, without disruption to business operations.
• Identifies and responds to in-progress threats in real time, both external and insider
• 100% visibility over the entire digital enterprise
• Scalable and adaptable to any environment
• Does not require knowledge of past threats to understand new ones
• Continually updates its understanding as the environment changes
• Constantly monitors, even when a security team isn’t present
• Requires minimal set-up
• Creates efficiencies of time and resource for security analysts
Cyber threats are rapidly evolving and changing, as digital criminals continually level up to find vulnerabilities in the latest tools and technologies put in place to prevent attacks.
"In 2020, there was a 130% increase in ransomware attacks alone, costing the global economy over $1 trillion.
Traditional cyber security protection is based upon known threats, and readily made solutions to prevent them. But, what can an organisation do when it is continually faced with novel attacks?
Security teams often end up overwhelmed and unable to keep up. They are also simply outpaced when it comes to machine-speed attacks, such as ransomware, where they are unable to respond quickly enough due to a lack of resource.
Where can AI play a part?
This is where artificial intelligence — i.e. machine self-learning — comes into play. Deploying systems that span entire organisations, with the ability to learn what is normal and what is abnormal, means that the solution is not based on assumptions of what malicious is.
In this way, AI can mimic the human immune system, and just as immunity is unique to individuals, the technology becomes exclusive to each organisation. It can quickly identify unusual behaviour and identify potential threats as they emerge.
Continuing in this vein, firewalls act like the skin – a protective barrier against known threats – but it is not infallible and things can get past it, and that is where artificial intelligence plays a crucial role.
Often, these AI systems are left unsupervised to build up a ‘pattern of life’ at a very granular level – monitoring every user, piece of technology, and system within an organisation. Once this detailed picture is built, it can then very quickly identify when something deviates from this pattern, signalling threatening activity.
This is impossible for security analysts to do alone, but is designed to work in tandem with them to prevent malicious attacks.
How can AI save time and costs?
Taking this even further, current technology is able to investigate and triage potential threats, helping to make quick decisions to create incident reports. Research by Darktrace estimates a 92% reduction in the time taken to triage incidents when using this type of platform – meaning that security teams are able to focus their time on higher priority tasks.
Can AI fight back?
Autonomous response by self-learning systems is now entirely possible. Systems in place can generate a surgical and proportionate reaction to interrupt emerging threats, without impacting on day-to-day business operations.
Due to the self-learning capabilities, where the technology can identify what is normal and what isn’t, it can then detect, triage and neutralise cyber-attacks across cloud, network, and email – allowing teams to concentrate on the long-term security strategy.
So, what’s next?
With cyber threats continuing to progress at pace, organisations must look to artificial intelligence to protect their IT infrastructure and, ultimately, their business.
Loss of control of data or systems can often be a corporate death sentence for firms that are not properly equipped to deal with such incidents.
Secure email gateways are no longer sufficient to defend against today’s sophisticated social-engineering attacks. These attacks bypass traditional security and end up costing organisations time, money, and brand equity.
Central offers the most effective email protection solution to prevent targeted social-engineering attacks by adopting a multi-layered approach that combines a secure email gateway, AI-powered fraud protection and advanced security awareness training.
In partnership with Barracuda, we are able to provide a complete email protection portfolio in a single bundle that is easy to buy, implement, and use. This offers comprehensive security against business email compromise, account takeover and other advanced developing email threats, all delivered as a cloud-based solution with direct integration to Office 365.
• API-based integration with Office 365
• Includes cloud-based backup and archiving
• Real-time AI-powered anti-phishing protection
• Brand protection using DMARC reporting and enforcement
• Tamper-proof email archiving for compliance and e-discovery
• Advanced, automated security awareness training
• Simple setup and management, with zero impact on network performance
• Complete multi-level defence that combines AI-based email security, compliance, business continuity, and user security training
• AI learns your communication patterns to detect personalised fraud in real time
• Unique API-based architecture stops threats inside your mailbox that traditional gateways cannot
• Uses vast, real-time global threat information network to optimise detection
What's included in the bundle:
Forensics & Incident Response
Limit damage and accelerate remediation.
Slow, inefficient, manual response processes give attacks time to spread further in your network. Forensics and Incident Response automates incident response and provides remediation options to quickly and efficiently address attacks. Easily send alerts, remove malicious emails and use threat insights to stop the spread of malicious threats.
Fight phishing with continuous training and simulation.
Some attacks will land in users' inboxes. What happens next depends how well they've been trained. Our solution uses customised simulations with daily0updated content to transform your users into a powerful layer of defence, by dramatically boosting their ability to identify social-engineering attacks and respond appropriately.
Defeat spear phishing and account takeover with AI.
Losses from socially engineered email attacks are in the billions of pounds and growing. They typically impersonate a trusted third party, to trick users into giving away credentials, data or money. Our solution detects and stops these costly attacks. It uses artificial intelligence to learn each user's unique communication pattern, to identify malicious intent and flag fraud attempts.
Keep your data safe and ensure business continuity.
You need data protection that boots resiliency, minimises downtime and simplifies recovery from ransomware and accidental data loss. We ensure data protection and business continuity with advanced email continuity and backup services, protecting against accidental or malicious deletion of emails and data.
Protect your business from email-borne cyber threats.
Modern attacks are rapidly growing in volume and sophistication - and 91% start with a targeted email attack. Our cloud-based security solution is designed to protect against spam, phishing, malware, ransomware and other targeted email threats. It combines heuristic, behavioural and sandboxing technologies to detect advanced, zero-day attacks.