While the holiday season is traditionally thought of as a quiet period in the digital B2B world, the 2017 festive season could be quite the opposite.
As we wind down for the holidays, it's tempting to switch off completely and run a skeleton crew to monitor network security and performance. But, after a year of devastating data breaches, it's inevitable that a high percentage of businesses will suffer at the hands of cyber-criminals this holiday season.
The quiet time in between Christmas and the New Year is the perfect opportunity for criminals to take advantage of any gap in network security, and much of this criminal activity has been well planned and prepared for some months, waiting to catch enterprises unaware.
So, what can your business do to prevent, or at least minimise and contain, a full scale cyber event during the holidays?
On average, around five new cyber-threats are discovered every day that are capable of exploiting network vulnerabilities, disrupting normal business functions and leading to the loss of critical data. This presents a real problem for IT managers operating complex defence-in-depth security strategies. The best defence is to keep security rules 100 percent up to date to keep pace and maintain an optimum security posture.
Mind your backups
Remind your staff about Phishing emails
Christmas is a great time for attackers to camouflage their phishing and whaling activity. At this time of year staff are even more likely respond to “special offer” emails or notifications about shipping delays or flight cancellations or even that email from the boss asking for an urgent wire transfer.
Take care of basic housekeeping
As with any business that has an increase in visitors for Christmas, basic housekeeping must be kept up. This means more staff training, more focus on patching and standardising and possibly a move away from BYOD, simply because of the multitude of security variables it can introduce to any network. Initially businesses thought letting employees use their own devices would increase engagement and possibly even save them money. But the reality is that BYOD has simply proven very hard to regulate and the risks it poses too difficult to protect against.
With the right plans, practices and network monitoring in place, companies stand a good chance of weathering the holiday period and minimising the damage of breaches. The combination of keeping security rules up to date and having 100 percent network visibility will give companies a belt and braces approach to detection and auditing, which will significantly accelerate response times to keep networks safe this holiday season.
Contributed by James Barrett, senior director EMEA, Endace
*Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of SC Media UK or Haymarket Media.