Malware has many faces. Graphical representation of how malware spreads in a network.

Malware has many faces

Malware: The gateway to your organization

Whether it's identity theft, unauthorized access to customer or payment data, online fraud or sabotage, the vast majority of attacks begin with a carefully created phishing email, a compromised file attachment or a link to a compromised website. Malware can affect an organization in a wide variety of ways, most importantly, by leading to business interruption and subsequent financial damage.

Therefore, you should reduce the potential attack surface of your organization by setting up the right protective measures for your users, devices, networks and enterprise solutions.

These are our tips on how to effectively defend your organization:

Make sure that every computer, smartphone, tablet and server has up-to-date and, above all, effective anti-virus software and firewalls. Operating systems and applications should also be updated regularly. Windows 10 and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security Suite, a comprehensive security solution, are ideal tools for continuous monitoring and control.

Make life difficult for hackers by installing powerful intrusion detection and intrusion prevention solutions on your network, so you can detect and recognize abnormal behavior. According to studies, external attackers can remain hidden inside a network for over half a year. Therefore, you must stay vigilant and pay close attention to any potential signs of intrusion, such as attempts to log in from virtually impossible locations or automated and recurring behavioral patterns. You should also secure access to your network using multi-factor authentication.

Even though you've probably already heard this advice a thousand times, it still applies: set up firewalls and anti-malware software for your email servers and websites, so you can intercept as much malware as possible, right on the border between your network and the internet. Protect your users and systems – including remote users, servers and mobile devices – with the right solutions.

Cloud applications, SaaS and BYOD policies create significant challenges for organizations of all sizes. They have to define internal security standards, assess and control the use of authorized and unauthorized apps, and enable users to stay productive on their device of choice. Find the right balance between flexibility and control with a trusted security solution.

The protection of hardware and software is important. But in all initiatives, you should always take the human factor into consideration as well. Train your staff on IT security – not just once, but with continuous refresher courses – and make every user aware of attack methods, such as social engineering or phishing attempts through infected e-mails or file attachments.

Having a precise and practical security plan in place provides you with guidance, so that you do not neglect any aspect and always take a holistic approach to the protection of your company. You should review your plan on a regular basis and adjust and adapt whenever it’s necessary.

If all else fails and you fall victim to, for example, a ransomware attack, a reliable, clean backup is your last line of defense. Always make sure to have an up-to-date backup of your data and to test the backups regularly to ensure that they can be restored smoothly in the event of an emergency.

IT security is a topic that affects your entire organization. If you need assistance regarding the many technical subtleties, you can always get support and tips from external consultants. Microsoft's international partner network includes highly professional companies that specialize in advanced security solutions and can help you create, revise or implement your custom IT security plan.

Cybercriminals always find new ways of exploiting vulnerabilities or creating malware to cause great harm to businesses and government institutions. Do not make their job easy – don’t rely on outdated technology that leaves the door open for hackers. Find out at how to implement a holistic security plan to protect your organization from attacks.

Reading tips and further resources

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Security Intelligence Report 2018

Current information on the global IT security.

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Microsoft solution for IT security

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Microsoft 365

A comprehensive, intelligent solution that combines the best of Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security, empowering everyone to be creative and work together, securely.

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Enterprise Mobility + Security

Keep pace with today’s security challenges. Identity-driven innovations help you stay secure and productive on your favorite apps and devices.

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Windows 10 Enterprise

Windows 10 Enterprise addresses the needs of large and medium-size organizations, providing IT professionals with comprehensive device and app management.

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Azure Information Protection

Better protect your sensitive information. Control and help secure email, documents and sensitive data that you share outside your company.

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