Your vulnerabilities are exploited. Hacker with USB-stick

Your vulnerabilities are exploited.

External threats and cybercrime: how to protect your organization

Cyber threats are ubiquitous today - and they are the path hackers and other attackers take to gain access to your information. But how can you protect your organization against sophisticated threats? How quickly can you detect suspicious activity on your network or on your devices? And how easily can you tell right from wrong warnings? One study found that organizations spent an average of $ 1.37 million on tracking and analyzing incorrect malware alerts.

Today, every organization must expect to be attacked sooner or later. Prevention is therefore indeed an important but not the only component in your IT security strategy. Rather, you must be able to quickly detect suspicious activity and take the right countermeasures immediately. The right technology helps you to install an early warning system for possible attacks and to act quickly.

Variations on cybercrime

The majority of today's attacks are carried out using malicious software that is injected into an organization’s devices and infrastructure. For example, cybercriminals buy attack kits from specialized virus programmers and infect thousands of computers through emails containing embedded viruses, specially crafted websites or social media postings. Such broad-spectrum malware attacks can hit virtually anyone.

As protection programs such as spam filters become more and more sophisticated, the obstacles cybercriminals must surmount in order to infect a company’s systems get progressively bigger – yet they still manage to break through. Malicious software attacks are increasingly personalized, designed so that users open a compromised email or visit an infected website. It’s often enough to include the name of the user or the organization in the subject line of an email for hackers to get the proverbial foot in the door.

In individual cases, cybercriminals opt for a specialized approach to reach particularly attractive targets, such as large companies. In order to gain access to customer records or internal data, they research the employees‘ contact information and try to gain access to the data via social engineering techniques. They also program custom malware that is not recognized by popular anti-malware solutions.

The typical image of a hacker sitting in front of several monitors in a darkened room, continuously typing commands, obscures the view of other, no less serious dangers. In addition to classic industrial espionage, cybercriminals located near your company can try to gain access to your Wi Fi and, in turn, your internal data. Even insider data theft and sabotage are more prevalent than executives want to admit – and they carry devastating economic consequences.

Given these various risks and opportunities, organizations need a comprehensive and holistic IT security plan. In particular, with the new requirements imposed by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), effective since May 2018, complex challenges have arisen – for example, companies that suffer a data breach must report the incident within 72 hours. It is important not only to reinforce the protective mechanisms, but to become even more agile in the detection and reaction to the attacks.

The best way to counter external threats

In order to protect your organization effectively, you must establish and maintain a culture of security. Give your staff the tools they need and educate them with training and awareness-raising campaigns on the typical dangers that await in the digital workplace. With strong passwords, Windows Hello and multi-factor authentication, you can reliably prevent unauthorized access to your business data. Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection offers additional levels of security to help you prepare against attacks and protect your emails, files and Office 365 applications, while Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection does the same for your endpoints and devices. The ideal complement is Azure Advanced Threat Protection, a cloud service that helps protect your hybrid enterprise environments from various sophisticated and targeted cyberattacks and threats from within.

Even if you keep your employees up-to-date on the latest threats, inevitably someone will, at some point, unknowingly download an infected file or click on a link to a fraudulent website. Security breaches are virtually unavoidable, and you need appropriate solutions to detect them in a timely manner. Microsoft provides integrated security solutions that allow you to address the various attack vectors – devices, e-mail systems, and business data, as well as your users‘ identities – and help you identify, analyze, and neutralize new threats.

In addition, you can use Office 365 Threat Intelligence to gain deep insights into today's attacks, so you can respond quickly in the event of an attack and employ the detection mechanisms available in Microsoft 365 to ensure the security and stability of your systems and resources in accordance with your policies and procedures.

In the event of a successful attack, every minute counts – you need to be quick in order to prevent additional data loss and stop the attacker from causing further damage. Microsoft security solutions help you mitigate endpoint threats with automated actions and let you conduct wide-ranging analytics to help you understand the potential impact of the attack.

The Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance Center provides you with the recommendations and actionable insights you need to speed up your response and enable rapid recovery.

In view of these various risks and opportunities for attack organizations need a comprehensive and holistic IT security concept. In particular, with the new requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, which have been in effect since May 2018, complex challenges have arisen. For example, companies that have had a data leak must report the incident within 72 hours. Here it is important not only to intensify the protective mechanisms, but to become even more agile in detection and reaction.

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