Data is the new oil—you've probably heard this a million times. Information is every organization's most priceless asset. How well you collect, store, analyze, and use data plays a significant role in your company's survival and growth.
It's because of data that you have an IT support team. You can reinstall apps and operating systems, but you can't replace unique user-generated data once you've lost it. Therefore, the primary role of any IT team is to safeguard the integrity of your information and protect it from unauthorized access. This article explores some common cybersecurity errors and how to avoid them.
Why Not All IT Is Good IT
At LeadingIT, we have an all-inclusive cybersecurity and IT support policy—we either handle everything or nothing. So, if you contact us to manage your IT infrastructure, we have first to assess your entire network to identify your cybersecurity posture and areas that need adjustments moving forward. But, you won't imagine the magnitude of mistakes that we often encounter in the pre-engagement audits.
Here's the thing—IT support is hinged on trust, but this doesn't imply that you trust your service provider even when you have doubts. Trust, yes, but verify. While most IT companies are doing a great job, you can't miss a few who don't keep their word. Perhaps they are a little more than just a few, going by our observations.
4 Common Cybersecurity Mistakes You May Need To Verify
Some errors we often come across include:
Lackluster Password Policies
Passwords are your first and arguably most critical line of defense in the battle against cybercrime. It's a no-brainer, therefore, that several cyberattack vectors target password vulnerabilities. You expect your IT support team to come up with and implement effective password policies. Do you have a password complexity policy? How about an expiration protocol? Do you occasionally monitor the dark web for compromised company passcodes? Which password managers do you have? How long are your passcodes? Do your users have different passwords for different accounts?
A strong password is not just about having random letters, numbers, and symbols. Every passcode you use should be unique and set to expire in between 90 to 180 days. If your IT support team is not doing this, they're sleeping on their job and exposing your network to threats.
Unrestricted User Access
For a cyberattack to occur, the bad guys must access your systems. They usually do this by duping your employees, either by coaxing them to divulge their logins or tricking them into visiting sites that automatically mine these credentials. Simply put, your staff is your weakest link.
Therefore, it's essential to limit what your users can access. You should lock domain admin accounts and restrict access to a select few, preferably high-level executives and IT leaders. For the rest of your staff, grant access based on necessity. We also recommend having lengthier and more complex passwords for these accounts since anybody with access to them can compromise your entire network.
Unfortunately, we often find domain administrator accounts with simple nicknames, acronyms, generic numbers, and even personal information. Worse still, some IT support companies may add all the users in your organization to the domain administrator group. So, if the bad guys compromise them, your entire network is at risk. It's one thing to be a local administrator who can install software and adjust a few settings and something else to be a domain administrator who can alter the entire network. Your IT team should distinguish between the two and grant privileged access rights to only a select few.
All IT service providers will tell you they maintain reliable backups, but how reliable is reliable? Backups are a sensitive subject, especially now that cyberattackers are increasingly focusing on interrupting business operations by compromising both local and offline files. The focus is no longer only on having backups but also ensuring that they are up-to-date, easy-to-retrieve, and safe. So, how often does the IT team back up your files? How reliable do they secure the backups from unauthorized access? How easily can you retrieve the backups for emergency use?
The best approach is to send copies of your files and data to the offline database as soon as possible, preferably after every hour. Also, the IT company should configure the backups to be resistant to foreign interference. Our Datto Backup and Data Recovery (Datto BDR) solution, for instance, does not allow external users to open or run backup files. And in the unlikely event that a cyber actor accesses the DBR database and deletes your backups, they will still be available for restoration for up to seven days.
IT Teams Doing the Bare Minimum
While firewalls and passwords are a good starting point, they are not enough. A competent IT team should adopt a multifaceted approach that includes MFA if the bad guys get past your primary security measures, employee cyber awareness training, and regular network assessments.
LeadingIT offers 24/7, all-inclusive, fast, and friendly technology and cybersecurity support for nonprofits, manufacturers, schools, accounting firms, religious organizations, government, and law offices with 10-200 employees across the Chicagoland area.