Engaging in healthy and sustainable IT concepts means translating valuable concepts to the workforce. An educated staff can better respond and handle internal problems before reaching out to IT solutions. That isn’t to say you can rush an entire enterprise body into “expert” level, but giving them background on core concepts better prepares them for a constantly changing, digitally driven world. Furthermore, it never hurts to go over the “basics,” and new cybersecurity/IT concepts are always cropping up.
Threats facing modern networks
Social Engineering Schemes
Discussion about phishing should be integral to your IT strategy and philosophy. By far the most common form of cyber-attack, phishing is the go-to delivery method for information theft and malware delivery. It’s as old as the internet, where hackers attempt to hijack user data by sending legitimate appearing messages (or try to blackmail with threats).
It’s worth updating a task force on, because unfortunately, phishing techniques grow increasingly complex. Social engineering attacks also take advantage of time-sensitive events (like tax season). During the COVID pandemic, for example, phishing attacks exploited confusion about testing and vaccine information.
Botnets and Automated Attacks
While automation technology and machine learning are invaluable resources for a growing company, the same tools are exploited by threat actors. Enter botnets, where third-parties attempt to brute force security with hijacked systems.
Inherently, botnets are not malicious, but like any technology, they’re repurposed for malicious use. A group of computers all connect to a single network for a specific task, which multiplies one “labor” by hundreds or thousands, depending on the botnet. Hackers like to use this in tandem with phishing, to try and bust into networks by password attacks, or most commonly DDoS (denial of service) attacks.
If you haven’t discussed ransomware with your staff, now’s the time. But it’s likely everyone is familiar with ransomware by word of mouth alone, given how prolific (and effective) it is. From critical infrastructure to school networks, ransomware is a ravenous danger and targets anyone or any network where profit can be made.
Ransomware operates by targeting and infecting a system/network. Then, files (or the entire system) are locked behind encryption, which is then only accessible after the victim pay’s a demanded amount of ransomware. And thus the name. Normally, attackers demand payment in form of cryptocurrency, and threat parties are difficult to track down and defend against.
Getting a workforce up to speed on ransomware is very important. There is no guarantee hackers will return data once a ransom is paid. In some cases, they’ll breach the same network later on if proper defense measures were not taken.
Core philosophies and concepts
Okay, so you’ve got a quick crash course on some of the most dangerous threats out there. Now it’s time to translate that knowledge into meaningful concepts and policy decisions.
Concept #1: Information Protection
Above all, protecting data is key. Doing so involves deciding who can access what, where the data is stored, how segregated it is over a network, and how it’s recovered.
You can translate this into a meaningful result for your staff by emphasizing it’s not just business centric, either. Protecting our own personal data follows the same principles, like where we save files on our devices and what we do to recover them in case of emergency. That way, your work force is likelier to absorb information as something they can use to, versus in total service to an industry.
How you educate on the core foundation of data protection varies based on your business needs. For instance, you might backup information in third party data storage, or, host it in-house.
There’s also the matter of access and lack thereof. Protecting data means creating “motes” and DMZ zones within a network (segmenting a network). It keeps the right personnel accessing the right stuff. It also prevents critical information from overlapping. In the event of a breach, it prevents intruders from free, lateral movement.
Concept #2: Data Sanctioning
This concept is about where data goes, and how it’s altered – or isn’t. Unless it’s important, ensuring the sanctioned transfer of information, meaning it isn’t changed, accessed, or modified, is another characteristic of data sanctioning. Like network segmenting, teaching this core concept is all about data permissions (who can access it).
It’s a good concept to educate on, because it translates to management skills relating to who can access what file. Again, that’s something staff can take advantage of with their own files and data.
Concept #3: Data Availability
Information isn’t available if you can’t access it. Hardware that manages, stores, and sends data then is key to this concept. And thus, teaching this to a workforce related to hardware handling is a prominent IT/cybersecurity philosophy.
Data availability translates to how accessible hardware is, such as servers and critical systems. But like the other core concepts discussed above, the key is making sure the authorized parties access said hardware.
Remaining aware of threats and keeping up an educated culture of staff is challenging, but doable. With these core concepts in mind, you can actively refresh management and employees about sanitized IT and cybersecurity practices.
For additional help and information, reach out to Bytagig.