Complete Security Coverage for Every Business in the Cyber Realm

Earlier this year, a substantial data breach struck D.C. Health Link, a marketplace company that offers insurance plans to citizens of Washington, DC, including members of Congress and their employees. More than 55,000 consumers—including nearly 20 current and ex-members of Congress—had their Social Security numbers, birthdates, plan registration details, addresses, phone numbers, and demographic information revealed.

Days later, the FBI announced that it had purchased some personally identifiable information disclosed after the breach from a dark web hacking forum. That confirmed the worst fears of security experts, who always worry whether stolen information will end up in the hands of cybercriminals after such an incident.

Perhaps because of the government officials affected, the FBI acted fast to mitigate the breach’s negative impact. On Friday, March 24—just two weeks after the hack was revealed—the Justice Department announced that the individual responsible for administering Breach Forums, the online marketplace for stolen data, had first appeared in court.

Meanwhile, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services worked together to disrupt the forum, permanently knocking its website and database offline.

The accused criminal, a 20-year-old New York man, allegedly built and managed a “Leaks Market” section of his website for buying and selling stolen data. Although he wasn’t a hacker, he served as a go-between for people looking to commit cybercrime and those eager to exploit it. He has been charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud and could face up to five years in prison if convicted.

“People expect that their online data will be saved, and the Department of Justice is dedicated to doing just that,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in a press release publicizing the action.

“We must and will remain awake to the threat posed by those who try to damage our digital security. We will continue to disrupt the forums that facilitate the theft and distribution of personal information and charge those liable.”

Of course, only some companies are blessed adequately to have government agents on the case to control data breaches, scrutinize the dark web for stolen information, and indict hackers who own it. So, what’s the best move for an intermediate business anywhere in North America to stay safe?

Cyber-Security Solutions has collected the following six tips that trace smart cybersecurity techniques and attainable goals for data security:

Protect every device in your network.
Many companies think that securing office computers is adequate. But every device—laptops, smartphones, tablets, printers, servers, and even Wi-Fi routers—must be addressed if true cybersecurity is the plan. This might originally sound hard or unmanageable, but it decreases the sophistication of I.T. challenges for your business and your employees.

Instead of protecting each device piecemeal—or, worse, only prioritizing certain machines or employees—an all-in-one package covers many threats: malware and ransomware, hacks and breaches, email-borne viruses, and operating system exposures.

Implement multi-layered cybersecurity protection.
That all-in-one package includes multiple layers, delivering an “umbrella” approach to cybersecurity. This includes firewalls, software updates, security patches, advanced antivirus, anti-spam and anti-malware software, end-to-end data encryption, content filtering, network analysis, and other advanced tools. Such an approach aims to place more obstacles in the way of any potential hacker trying to exploit a specific vulnerability to steal information.

Make sure I.T. support is comprehensive and around the clock.
Depending on where your business is located and what its primary industry is, 24/7 monitoring and maintenance might be necessary. This is especially true if you have employees working in multiple time zones, sensitive communications that need to be encrypted, or e-commerce running around the clock. The best I.T. provider has multiple offices staffed by rotating shifts of technicians, all working to keep companies safe no matter when or where their operations occur.

Cover all the compliance bases.
HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI are more than just annoying acronyms. With state, federal, and industry regulations across the U.S. and Canada, businesses in sensitive industries like health care, finance, and legal services must act cautiously—especially since non-compliance can lead to serious civil or even criminal penalties. Robust cybersecurity protection should come with compliance checks at every level to keep your business in line with government and industry rules.

Back up data regularly, remotely, and redundantly.
One of the most foolproof ways to bounce back from a cyberattack is to have reliable data backups that can be accessed in case of information loss.

Without these trusted backups in place, many companies affected by ransomware will pay thousands of dollars to try and retrieve their data from cybercriminals. Instead of taking that risk, storing data in multiple locations means that lost information can be quickly recovered from its latest backup point and reinstalled before negative consequences occur.

Provide regular employee training.
What’s more important than properly functioning technology? The expertise of the people using those devices to do their day-to-day work. Truly responsive support should include ongoing education that empowers employees to identify spam emails, understand how ransomware works, encrypt communications on all channels, and back up data regularly. This can help to mitigate the most common security risk of all: unintended human error.

Cyber Security Solutions is committed to helping businesses of all sizes prepare for and protect against data breaches, information hacks, ransomware infections, and other cyber threats. We work with municipal governments, mom-and-pop shops, and multinational corporations to defend their data, secure their networks, and empower employees to work productively and efficiently.

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