One of the most important jobs of an IT professional is the prevention of cyberattacks. Without this need, there would be a lot fewer IT jobs in the world; That’s for sure. Regardless of how good your setup might be, it will always require the hand of an expert to guide it properly. More importantly, most hackers are people that know a lot about computers. The only way to beat that is with someone who knows more. With that in mind, let’s look at a few ways in which a proactive IT approach can prevent ransomware attacks, one of the worst cyberattacks of them all.
1. Regular And Thorough Data Backup
Some of you might not know about ransomware attacks. These are malicious pieces of software that are used to lock people out of their computer systems. In order to unlock the system and get their data back, the cybercriminal will make the victim pay large amounts of money.
On the one hand, it is very hard to defeat ransomware because it tends to use very strong encryption. On the other hand, a recent data backup can make it so that you don’t even need to worry about that. You can just delete everything (including the ransomware), restore your system from the most recent backup, and continue operating normally. Of course, you do need to take care that hackers cannot target your backup as well.
2. Competent Network Monitoring
When it comes to proactive steps, you couldn’t ask for a better one than regular network monitoring. At a fundamental level, all internet data consists of information. This information travels in small files called packets, and there are billions of these flying around at any given moment.
Using certain pieces of software, it is not that hard to monitor every one of these packets in real-time. However, it still takes a competent IT professional to recognize a problem when they see one. By doing this, suspicious activity can be cut off before any damage is done.
3. Testing And Auditing
You never really know how vulnerable your network is until you put it to the test. PCH Technologies offers services such as “penetration testing.” This is a form of legal, ethical hacking (and, possibly, the only kind).
Apart from penetration testing, it’s also a good idea to set up security audits from time to time. These will be designed to verify that all employees are using proper security procedures and observing safe habits. Cybersecurity is not just a matter of technology; It’s also about people because people are often the weakest link in a security chain.
4. Constant Updating
An outdated system is one of the worst vulnerabilities that you can have, and we aren’t talking about something that is many years old. Software companies are constantly issuing updates for their programs, and these will often include security updates. Chances are, this company has cybersecurity experts that are always looking for more exploits to patch. The question is: Will everyone get that patch in time to avoid a ransomware attack?
If you have a competent IT department, this shouldn’t be a problem. It doesn’t take very long to check for updates, and it can be done on a daily basis (if need be). Not only that, but they can also contact the various software companies and find out about upcoming patches. That way, they can be downloaded and installed as soon as possible.
5. Restricting Traffic With Firewalls
A firewall is just a program that prevents certain connections while allowing others. Those that are deemed safe are put on a safe list, while those deemed suspicious are blocked. This is a simple concept, and it has proven to be quite reliable. Using this, you can institute tight controls on both inbound and outbound connections.
Of course, there has traditionally been one problem with a firewall: It can only detect against known threats. There are so many known threats that a firewall requires constant updating in order to work properly. That being said, some modern firewall software has tried to deal with this issue by combining their firewall software with a packet sniffer and/or an antivirus program.
Educate All Employees Thoroughly
Some IT people don’t want to educate their fellow employees because they worry about being replaced. However, that is an example of what not to do. Instead, you should always be willing to teach your fellow employees how to avoid the various online threats that are out there. Look at it this way: If they fail to recognize a trap, and they step right in it, you’re the guy who has to clean up the mess.
For this reason, IT employees should hold periodic teaching sessions to educate people about security procedures. You can call it a “seminar” or a “teach-in” or whatever you please. The important thing is to make sure that everyone understands the most fundamental cybersecurity rules. People are the most vulnerable point in any network, so it’s important to close that gap any way that you can.
This is only a partial list, and could potentially go on forever. There is no end to the ways in which proactive measures can head off problems before they arise. It is no exaggeration to say that a proactive IT approach is universally better than a “break-fix” model. If you have enjoyed this article, please fill out the contact form.