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Common enterprise security threats and how to avoid them

The threats facing enterprises today have changed over recent years, as new technologies are adapted and increase the risk of cyber-attack. With the cost of data breaches on the rise, and cybercriminals increasingly adopting sophisticated technologies, cybersecurity is an urgent concern for enterprises across all industry sectors.

Below are some of the common enterprise security threats to watch out for and how to prevent them having an impact on your organisation.

Social engineering attacks

Cyber threats focus on exploiting human vulnerabilities. Social engineering attacks leverage the weakest point of an enterprise’s security system – the end user. By appealing to human emotions (fear, incentive, curiosity), malicious actors manipulate users to gain access to business information and systems.

Usually, social engineering attacks are in the form of phishing attacks, baiting, false identities, etc. Cybercriminals are more sophisticated today and use fake logos or information from social media accounts to make their messages appear legitimate. This makes it easier to target individuals within an enterprise.

The simplest and most effective way to prevent the threat of social engineering attacks is employee awareness. When employees are trained and aware of the diverse types of social engineering attacks, they are less likely to fall for them. It is also important to have clear cybersecurity guidelines about what is appropriate use of identification on social media, such as avoiding using their work email address or phone number online.

Insider threats

It’s common to overlook threats that can come from the inside of an enterprise, as the focus tends to be on keeping outsiders out, instead of monitoring people who already have access. Insider threats are instigated by individuals who abuse their network access privileges, either through negligence or to sell inside information to cybercriminals outside the enterprise.

It can be wise for an enterprise to establish zero trust security. This is based around the idea that organisations should not automatically trust every person and device internally and externally. Zero trust systems assess and verify each identity each time a user or device requests access to the network and during the user’s session.

DDoS attacks

Enterprises have become increasingly dependent on the internet and web-based applications and services for operations to function optimally and continuously. Availability has become as necessary to a business as electricity. Cybercriminals use a type of attack called a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) which disrupts normal traffic flow to a site by overwhelming it and making it unable to operate properly.

DDoS are often driven by botnets that submit multiple requests to a particular server until capacity is reached. This can mean disruption to public facing websites which leads to unhappy customers, who go elsewhere. Business critical applications go offline and cause operations and productivity to come to a halt, affecting supply chains and stakeholders. Typically, DDoS attacks result in a ransom being requested from malicious actors for an enterprise to regain control of their sites.

With 23,000 DDoS happening somewhere on the internet every 24 hours, it’s vital to prevent becoming a victim of this type of attack. This can take a multilevel protection approach to ensure your network, applications, and infrastructure are secure, such as prevention management systems that combine firewalls, virtual protection network, anti-spam, and content filtering. Other actions include monitoring network activities and identifying traffic inconsistencies that point to potential DDoS attacks.

Supply chain attack

Compromising an enterprise supply chain is a big win for cybercriminals, as gaining access to one company that provides software or services to others offers potentially unlimited numbers of targets at the same time. The average cost of a third party data breach is approaching £3 million for businesses, as the chain reaction triggered by an attack on one supplier or vendor can compromise an entire network of providers.

It’s vital for your business to ensure every third-party vendor is compliant with strict cybersecurity standards, with a comprehensive security third-party risk management plan that offers total visibility into the cyber posture of all vendors. This can include controlling how privileged access is managed, and monitoring infrastructure that is connected directly to the internet. Undertaking supply chain penetration testing can be vital to verify the security risk of third-party vendors. Businesses also need to be aware of third-party services and software, which has the potential for bad code injected, which can compromise the security of all companies related to it.

Cloud-based threats

The rapid shift to remote in recent years forced enterprises and employees to become more dependent than ever on cloud computing. This trend caught the attention of malicious actors who made the most of exploiting this dependency, with the number of attempted cloud breaches growing by 250% in 2020, compared to the year before. Cybercriminals attempt to exploit servers with no passwords or launch brute force attacks on unpatched systems to gain access to user accounts. Ransomware attacks and data breaches are also common, and cloud systems are being used for crypto-jacking, or coordinated DDoS attacks.

Again, robust cybersecurity protocols in place and regular security awareness for employees is a good first step to preventing cloud attacks, especially those who work from home. Ensure all operation critical software-as-a-service and cloud services have multi-factor authentication turned on. Adhere to the ‘least privilege access’ rule and make sure employees have minimum access privileges to do their job. Other mitigation policies include proper cloud storage configuration, data backup plan, security of application user interfaces, and cloud encryption.The difficulty with today’s cybersecurity threats rapidly evolving is keeping on top of everything that needs to be done to ensure your enterprise is secure from hacking and breaches. With the increasing risk of cyber-attacks, it’s vital to secure your digital assets now and into the future. Security specialists INTELLIWORX offer services that ensure your business is protected against malware, ransomware, DDoS attacks, phishing scams, insider threats and more. Contact our security operations centre team today and protect your company’s important digital assets.

Shane Maher

We passionately work on the IT Infrastructure of mid-tier businesses and support MSPs into cloud services. I have over 17 years of commercial experience that includes supporting and managing IT systems, developing infrastructure solutions, both onsite & in the cloud.

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