How you can protect your business from social engineering

staff passes

IT security has been at the forefront of business news for the last few decades, highlighting just how vulnerable organisations of all sizes are.

Yet, despite the increasing threat of cyber-attacks, research shows that many UK firms continue to ignore the threat of social engineering.

What is Social Engineering?

Social Engineering involves cyber criminals tricking your employees into giving up confidential information, in order to gain unauthorised access to your business systems, without having to actually break in.  

This is a cruel technique seeking to target the weakest link in your organisation – your people.

Here’s what you need to know about social engineering and what you can do to try and prevent an attack from happening.

Proactively reduce the risk of social engineering

Ultimately, no matter how secure your IT systems are, there will always be one employee who, through a combination of bad luck and poor security awareness, unwittingly lets through an attack.

Human error is what cyber criminals prey on, meaning they don’t even need to break into systems, as most of the time an employee will unwittingly invite them right in.

Identifying the biggest risks are within your firm is the first step to protecting yourself and increasing the security of your business.

Social engineering is targeted directly at those employees who have access to the most desirable information, or at those who are most likely to engage with a malicious email.

As people are the weakest link within most organisations, your focus should be on training your employees to identify potential threats to mitigate the risk of cyber- attack.

In order to maintain security, businesses need to provide ongoing cyber security awareness training for their teams, to ensure they understand potential risks and can proactively prevent cyber threats.

Cyber security awareness training sends spoof phishingemails to users, encouraging them to engage with what looks like a malicious link. If clicked, the users will then be directedto an online course aimed at helping them to identify potential cyber-attack methods and to increase their overall awareness of the risk.

A trusted IT support partner will provide security awareness training for your staff, guiding you through cyber security best practices and proactively helping you secure your systems.

Increase the security of your IT systems

You can identify which information you hold is of most interest to hackers (e.g. financial information) and help others recognise and deal with potential threats to your business.

But that alone won’t keep your business safe from cyber-attacks. A simple way to ramp up your business security is to implement two-factor authentication (2FA).

Passwords alone are vulnerable in several ways and simply not enough to secure your data. No matter how strong your password is, cyber criminals will always be able to crack it. Two-factor authentication strengthens the security around who has access to your business systems and data, adding an additional layer of security to your authentication process.This will help boost your access management security, making it harder for cyber criminals to access your business networks.

Consider a password manager

Cyber criminals can send malicious links which lead employees to spoofed pages, in order to gain access though their login details. A password manager can eliminate this possibility, as a good authentication solution such as Duo Security’s 2FA which uses an auto-fill authentication method will analyse a web page before a user enters their personal details.

And your passwords will be safe because your information is encrypted within the system. That means no-one can see or steal your passwords.

Mitigating the overall safety risk

Along with attempts to reduce the threat of social engineering, businesses must maintain a good IT security policy across the board.

Old technology and out-of-date operating systems can be a major source of security vulnerabilities to your business.Cloud systems help with this, as all the data is securely stored and managed centrally, rather than on local devices and machines. The implementation of your Cloud platform is critical, and your IT support partner should ensure the system supports your integrated business security.

Whatever the configuration is, you will need to make sure the upgrades and patches are installed as soon as possible. This guarantees maximum protection from glitches and security issues.

If you are, or have been victim to a social engineering attack, you are not alone. The important thing is to act quickly to help secure and uninstall ransomware or viruses from your ITsystems. Certain causes, such as ageing equipment, may cause symptoms. It’s important to immediately analyse any issues such as these, so that you can minimise the damage if your systems are compromised.

Businesses suffer from financial losses and reputational damage when they don’t take the threat of social engineering seriously; don’t let yours be one.