How businesses in Colorado can fight back against cyberattacks

As a business owner what can you do to protect yourself?

You would have to be living under a rock to have not noticed the stories about cyberattacks plaguing the business community throughout the country, and Colorado certainly is no exception. 

In 2018, a Colorado company by the name of Colorado Timberline closed after three separate cyberattacks. In 2019, Regis University was hit by a cyberattack and ultimately made the decision to pay the ransom.  In 2020, we learned of a well-coordinated cyberattack on the town of Erie that resulted in $1 million being fraudulently diverted and stolen. 

Cyberattacks and ransomware have been around for years; but in the last 18 months they have made a resurgence both in frequency and in the devastating effects they are having on their victims.  We have seen medical offices, financial firms and municipalities (among others) being targeted and paying the price both in dollars and in damage to their reputation. 

As a business owner what can you do to protect yourself?

5 things you can implement today to protect your business

Employee hygiene

Our employees are one of the greatest assets to our business, but they can be a liability as well when it comes to cybersecurity.  This is why it’s important to provide ongoing training for your staff in the area of cybersecurity.  Phishing attacks and malware remain the No. 1 threat to businesses in 2020.

Back it up

Make sure that your business has multiple backups in place, both onsite and in the cloud.  The most important piece is to test the backups at regular intervals to ensure what you think is being backed up is in fact being backed up and at the speed you will need to recover from a disaster. 

Let’s get physical

Physical security matters too.  If a computer is stolen that counts as a data breach too.  Make it difficult to steal the computers and tablets in your office, and if you have a physical server keep it in a locked room. 

Lock it up

Encrypt any and all sensitive data.  Many organizations have data regarding their clients and employees on their network such as name, data of birth, social security number; and in a cyberattack this is the motherlode.  Make sure that this type data is encrypted and is completely inaccessible to prying eyes. 

Multi-factor authentication

Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) for everything that you can in your business. This includes Office 365, social media, banking and credit card sites.  Criminals would need your passwords and to have possession of your mobile device in order to log into your applications. 

Think of cybersecurity as an onion.  As a business owner, you must add as many layers as you can between you and the threats. As the attackers pull back a layer, another layer ideally will pop up in its place.  In 2020, the truth of the matter is that cybersecurity is a war and without a multilayered approach to cybersecurity your business will lose. 

Jeri Morgan is the co-author of the book, "Hack Proof Your Business," and CEO of Denver-based Code Blue Computing which provides cybersecurity and IT support services to businesses. 

Categories: Tech