It's all over the news...
The Department of Homeland Security released a statement warning U.S. businesses about cyber attacks from Russia.
And now, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has come out to say that all companies should put their "shields up" to defend against cyber attacks.
As the Russia vs Ukraine conflict heats up, security experts are concerned about the possibility of a massive cyber war...
A cyber war that puts U.S. businesses in the crosshairs of Russian hackers...
With attacks aiming to disrupt communication and critical infrastructure or steal intellectual property and personal data.
So, what does this mean for your business?
The risk of a cyber attack is real. And your company could be a target even if you don't have a direct connection to Russia or Ukraine.
But before you start panicking—remember that cybersecurity risk exists at all times. Not only during periods of heightened conflict like the one we're seeing now between Russia and Ukraine.
Use this time as an opportunity to review your cybersecurity strategy and take steps to limit your risk of a cybersecurity incident.
Here's how you can prepare for a cyber attack:
Consult with Cybersecurity Pros
Speak with a cybersecurity professional about how you can best protect your business. Security experts can help you identify vulnerabilities and strengthen your security posture.
Cybersecurity professionals will recommend specific security measures to help protect your business environment from a breach.
Additionally, they can make recommendations on how to back up your data, protect critical assets, and create an incident response plan so you know how to respond in case of a cyber attack.
Test Your Security Strategy
To protect your business from cyber attacks, you need a comprehensive security strategy. But even the best strategy can have vulnerabilities, so it’s important to test it regularly.
Security experts recommend having testing run on a quarterly basis at least. This way, you can stay ahead of the curve and protect your business from the latest cyber threats.
There are many ways to test your security strategy, including:
- Penetration testing simulates how a hacker might try to break into your systems and shows you how much damage they could do if successful.
- Vulnerability scanning looks for known security weaknesses and vulnerabilities in your systems.
- Red team exercises involve having a team of experts tries to penetrate your systems using methods of real-world hackers.
The goal is to help you find and fix security gaps before cyber criminals have the chance to exploit them.
If you’re not sure which method is right for your business, speak with a cybersecurity professional. They can help you set up a testing program that meets your specific needs.
Back-Up Your Data and Test Restores
In the event of a cyber war or any type of cyber attack, it’s important to have reliable backups of your data. This will ensure that you can continue to operate if your systems are compromised.
There are many ways to back up your data, so find one that best suits your needs. Some businesses opt for cloud-based backups, while others use on-site storage devices. Whichever option you choose, make sure it’s reliable and that you have a plan for regularly backing up your data.
It is mandatory that you test your backups to make sure they're working so you can actually restore your data when you need it most.
Get Back to the Basics of Security
During a cyber attack, your critical assets are a primary target. These are the systems and data that are most important to your business. If they’re compromised, it could be disastrous.
That’s why it’s important to go back to the basics of security and make sure your critical assets are well-protected. This includes:
- Creating strong passwords that you update regularly and store in a password manager.
- Using multi-factor authentication whenever possible to add an extra layer of security.
- Ensuring your security tools—such as firewalls and antivirus software—are up to date and working.
- Applying security patches and software updates as soon as they're released.
- Restricting access to sensitive data and systems only to those who need it.
For more ideas, read: 10 Ways to Protect Your Business from Hackers in 2022
If you can protect your critical assets, you’ll be less likely to fall victim to a cyber attack.
Sometimes it's the simple things that make the biggest difference when it comes to cybersecurity.
Double Check Employee Preparedness
Your employees are your first line of defense against cyber attacks, so it’s important to make sure they’re prepared...
Talk to them about what's happening between Russia and Ukraine and let them know what a cyber war could mean for your business.
Your employees need training on how to identify suspicious emails and other types of phishing attacks. Teach them not to open attachments or click on links from unknown sources. Simulated phishing attacks are a great way to test your employees' readiness and get them some practice too.
If you have remote employees, make sure they have the proper security tools and training to keep them safe while working from home.
You can also provide your employees with cybersecurity resources, like this guide on How to Avoid Being Victimized by Ransomware.
Develop an Incident Response Plan
If your business is hit with a cyber attack, you need to have a plan in place for responding to it. This plan should include who is involved in the containment and remediation process, how you will communicate with employees, customers, and partners, and what steps you will take to remove threats and get your business back up and running.
If the worst happens and your company is hit with a cyber attack, having a plan in place will help you respond quickly and effectively.
Every second counts and a fast response can help limit the damage a cyber attack can do to your business.
If your business already has an incident response plan in place, now is the time to review it, make sure it's up to date, and remind employees of their role in it.
Invest in Cyber Liability Insurance
Even if you take all the proper precautions listed above, there’s still a chance that your business could fall victim to a cyber attack.
That's the unfortunate reality of the world we live in today. And why it's so important that you invest in cyber liability insurance.
This type of insurance can help protect your business from the financial damages caused by a data breach or cyber attack. If you follow the security requirements listed in your policy—you could be reimbursed for the costs of data recovery, damaged systems, forensic investigations, notification expenses, cyber extortion, and the loss of revenue your business may experience, plus more.
Cyber liability insurance can also help you defend against lawsuits brought by customers or partners who have been affected by a data breach.
No business is 100% safe from cyber attacks, so it's important to have a safety net in case something does happen.
Cyber liability insurance is an essential part of any business's cybersecurity strategy and should be considered a necessary expense.
For more on Cyber Liability Insurance, read: Cyber Liability Insurance: What It Is and Why You Need It
Conclusion: How to Ease Cybersecurity Worries Caused by the Russia-Ukraine Conflict
As the Russia vs Ukraine conflict continues to evolve, businesses need to take steps now to prepare for potential cyber attacks.
Russia has already threatened to launch attacks on U.S. businesses, so it's important to be proactive.
In the current climate of heightened cybersecurity risk, your company should:
- Consult with a cybersecurity expert
- Test your security strategy for vulnerabilities
- Back up your data and critical assets
- Review the basics of cybersecurity
- Prepare your employees
- Develop an incident response plan
- Invest in cyber liability insurance
If you take the proper precautions, you can help protect your company from a potential breach.
But remember, no need to panic yet!
This is only a reminder that we live in a world where cyber attacks are a real possibility and your business needs to be prepared.
If you have any questions about cybersecurity or want to discuss your company's security strategy, please don't hesitate to contact us. We're here to help.