Businesses of all sizes have faced a darkening cyber threat landscape for years now. But 2021 feels different.
The long (and lengthening) succession of massive, highly disruptive ransomware attacks against essential infrastructure, like the Colonial Pipeline breach, is only part of the story. For every attack that makes national news, there are dozens or even hundreds of smaller breaches that are no less devastating for the businesses and customers they affect. Each is a localized crisis.
If it’s not clear yet, the bad guys aren’t going anywhere. They’re digging in and getting better at what they do. It’s past time for business owners, even those with no technical know-how to speak of, to get serious about defending themselves.
To be sure, the prospect of evaluating and selecting cybersecurity software is only slightly less nerve-wracking than the thought of coming under attack without it. But it has to be done.
Start here, with these six types of security software that you really should deploy before long.
1. Enterprise-Grade WiFi With AI-Based Security
Your business couldn’t function without speedy, adaptable WiFi. Yet its WiFi networks represent a critical vulnerability, a massive target for malicious actors.
This is especially true in a dispersed or hybrid work environment, where HQ isn’t the only place — or even the most important place — where work gets done. The shift to remote brings with it the risk of dozens, hundreds, even thousands of endpoints scattered across the world, each a possible point of compromise.
It’s enough to make your head spin. Since there’s no going back to a centralized work model, and certainly not to hard-wired Internet access, look ahead instead to the next generation of enterprise-grade WiFi. Small business solutions like Plume WorkPass blend customizable, scalable WiFi with AI-based security that detects and helps neutralize potential threats before they cause harm. It’s a first line of defense against the unknown — one that happens to have impressive benefits for productivity too.
2. An Email Security Suite
Your company’s email service is another massive point of potential compromise. Some of the most notorious data breaches in digital history occurred via relatively low-tech email intrusions, and there’s a good chance your personal email account has been compromised more than once.
Taking email security seriously does mean shoring up basic “email hygiene” protocols, like using strong, unique passwords and never sharing personal or sensitive information by email. But that’s not enough anymore. Protecting your organization and its stakeholders from email-based threats requires a more sophisticated approach, one that’s well worth the cost.
Comprehensive email security solution should bundle multiple layers of security in one user-friendly package: URL and attachment protection, secure email gateways, browser isolation, spam and malware protection, and more. The Mimecast email security suite is a market leader in this space, but it’s not the only effective solution — and a decision this important demands that you shop around.
3. A Comprehensive Anti-Malware Solution
The anti-malware software that comes preloaded on your company laptops and phones, to say nothing of your employees’ “bring your own” devices, is almost certainly not adequate to handle the full range of cyber-threats facing your company
To deal with what’s coming, you need an enterprise-grade anti-malware solution that’s built to detect and neutralize viruses, worms, trojans, and more. Your solution needs to protect not just desktop computers and laptops in your physical office locations, but remote workstations, mobile devices, file servers, and virtual computing environments too. It needs to constantly monitor executed apps for potential malware threats, alerting you whenever it detects something’s not right.
4. A Business-Grade Virtual Private Network Solution
Malware protection isn’t always enough. True data security requires another layer of protection: a virtual private network (VPN) that encrypts your team’s traffic and renders it unintelligible to malicious actors who might be snooping on your networks.
Like anti-malware software, VPNs vary widely in terms of quality and comprehensiveness. Be very cautious with free VPNs, which typically don’t offer the degree of protection business users need. Look to an enterprise-grade alternative like Perimeter 81, whose enterprise plans offer advanced value-adds like DNS filtering and a dedicated solution architect on call.
5. A Cloud-Based Backup and Data Loss Prevention Platform
Data loss happens. In addition to brute-force cyberattacks that temporarily knock networks offline, ransomware assaults that lock up company data unless and until a ransom is paid, and other malicious events that cause havoc for data-dependent businesses, myriad natural and accidental threats loom. These include but aren’t limited to localized power outages, fire, floods, and innocent “fat finger” mistakes by employees.
Each of these events has its own solution set, but one variable never changes: the need for a cloud-based backup solution that lets you pick right back up where you left off after an interruption with minimal data loss. Amid a spate of high-profile ransomware attacks that essentially render data unrecoverable — sometimes even after the ransom is paid — the need for a seamless backup solution has never been clearer.
A Network and Host Intrusion Detection Solution
Finally, your business needs a cybersecurity solution that’s capable of detecting advanced threats to your network — threats you might not even be aware of. That’s the job of a network and host intrusion detection solution, an enterprise-grade system that monitors your network and/or managed host provider for signs of unauthorized intrusion.
If left undetected, network intruders can devastate your business by silently stealing data, snooping on your network traffic (including sensitive communications), or deploying malware that compromises your operations. It’s far better never to let them in.
Get Serious About Digital Security This Year
These six types of security software are no longer optional. They’re essential for businesses that care about protecting mission-critical systems, company and customer data, proprietary information, work products — literally anything of value that’s best kept out of the wrong hands.
It’s past time you deployed them in your own business. Fortunately, that’s not as difficult as it sounds. Reputable cybersecurity vendors and security-adjacent business service providers love what they do, and they’re only too happy to help businesses take the next step in defending themselves against the threats of the day.
Don’t put off the inevitable any longer. Set a goal to work your way through this list before the year is out. And look forward to many more prosperous and secure years to come.
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