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We are all aware of the ongoing prevalence of cyberattacks, data leaks and ransomware outbreaks.  Cyber criminals are experts at exploiting cyber security gaps, weak technologies and – of course – human error. Backup solutions are a valuable safety net for businesses, yet backup solutions can also be compromised or disabled.  Even if not breached, some backup systems may take time to restore all data, causing critical loss of uptime for businesses.

Integrated cyber protection solutions can address these risks.  A top-end solution that includes antimalware, EDR, DLP, email security, vulnerability assessment, patch management, RMM, and backup capabilities into a single agent running under a family of Windows operating systems will protect the user – and their business – in the most comprehensive way.   The result will be optimal performance, without compatibility issues and, in the event it is needed, rapid data recovery.

One of the biggest advantages of such a system is that if a cyber threat is missed, or detected while data are being altered, the data will be immediately restored from a backup.  This is possible thanks to the integrated system being one agent, so it recognises that data has been lost and needs to be restored.  Antimalware systems which aren’t integrated with a backup product wouldn’t be able to do this, meaning data would be either be lost, or restored slowly.

Actions to take now

 

  1. Update your operating system and Apps.
    Many cyber-attacks exploit unpatched vulnerabilities. By deploying all-in-one cyber-protection solutions as mentioned above, you’ll also get functions which cover vulnerability assessment and patch management. A wider benefit is that such solutions also track vulnerabilities and released patches, allowing admins to perform patches across endpoints.

Always adhere to basic rules: high-severity vulnerabilities should be patched first and the success report checked to ensure patches worked. If you’re not using patch management software you’ll need to ensure that Windows updates are installed promptly – even if it needs a restart.  Avoid the implications of end-users delaying updates by ensuring auto-updates from software vendors are enabled and apps are quickly updated.

  1. Stay alert for phishing
    Many phishing attempts happen every day; most are stopped at browser level. However, comprehensive cyber protection solutions also provide dedicated URL filtering functionality, which is also available in endpoint protection solutions. Malicious links can get into your system from many points: messenger Apps, email, forum posts. Don’t click on unexpected links or open an attachment unless you are sure it is bona fide.  Always check where attachments are from, ask yourself if you are expecting them and always use your antimalware solution.


  2. Use a VPN for work
    A Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts all your traffic, making it secure against hacking. If you have a VPN procedure in your company, always use it, especially when you are working remotely and connecting to company services and sources. If you have to secure your workplace yourself, use well-known VPN Apps or software.

  3. Configure antimalware software correctly
    Antimalware software is an important weapon to fight cyber security attacks. Taking these steps will ensure you get the highest level of protection:

    1. Get updates as often as they are available
    2. Do a full scan at least daily.
    3. Ensure the software is connected to its cloud detection mechanisms, double-check that internet connectivity is available.
    4. Enable on-demand and real-time scans.
    5. Set up to perform a scan whenever new software is installed or executed.

A final word – or rather three: passwords and privacy.  We all know the importance of these, but lapses are surprisingly frequent.  Keep your passwords private, keep your workspace private.  Don’t share passwords, don’t re-use passwords over platforms.  Do use long, strong passwords combined with a password manager.  And always use a screen lock, wherever you are working.

By Robert AzzopardiSystems Architect, Smart Technologies Limited.