Beyond the antivirus – new security risks and how to avoid them

Evolving threats to online security – and how to keep your business safe

Cybersecurity isn’t just for big international corporations – your small New Zealand business could also be targeted by online scammers or affected by a data breach. As data moves into the cloud, more people work remotely, and security threats grow increasingly sophisticated, small-to-medium businesses must take cybersecurity seriously. Renewing your antivirus software and having a really good password is no longer enough.

The cybersecurity battle is fought on two fronts – internal and external. Maintaining your internal security means preventing data leaks, both unintentional and malicious. As phishing attacks and malware become more sophisticated, you also need software designed to deal with modern online warfare – scammers are now so smart they even fool the experts.

More ways to work, more ways to leak

Modern business technology makes it easy to share information and access data from anywhere – almost too easy. If you have people working from home, using multiple devices to log in to work software, and saving information in the cloud, you increase the risk of your data falling into the wrong hands.

Even if you’re a small business, you probably have data you don’t want getting out – email lists with confidential customer details, salary information, financial records, new product designs. Often, leaked data is the result of simple staff error rather than malicious intent. Think, attaching the wrong document to an email, or leaving a laptop unlocked in public. Deliberate breaches do happen, but they’re less common.

Whether it’s a simple mistake or a malicious breach, losing your business data is a big deal. If the wrong file gets out you could expose your customers to significant risk or lose proprietary data – and your reputation will take a hit either way.

Outside threats

If an internal leak is like losing your wallet in the street, an external threat is like being mugged. If a scammer does gain access to your internal systems, your accounts could be drained, data leaked, identities stolen – it’s not something to take lightly.

Phishing emails, which try to get you to click an unsafe link or open a document to introduce malware into your system, used to be fairly easy to spot. Dodgy grammar, countless free iPhones, NSFW promises – you didn’t have to be an expert to see that something was up. Now, online scammers have developed far more sophisticated methods that can get past experts, standard security software, and your staff.

Phishing emails may now replicate a message from a known source down to the last detail, making it more likely for you or your staff to click. They can get past your security software by sending safe links, then switching the content when the email has passed your security system – making the receiver think it’s safe. They may hack into your system and take over the account of a staff member to access business data.

New threats, new solutions

If it all sounds a bit alarming, there are solutions out there. Realistically, you may not be able to prevent every single leak or outside threat, but you can lower the risks to your business. 

Modern security software has evolved to meet new threats, with some seriously smart technology. Microsoft 365 Business Premium, for example, offers a range of clever, built-in protections against internal leaks and external threats.

Here’s how:

Software solutions for human mistakes

Human error is, well, human. It’s going to happen as long as you have staff working with data and sharing information. But with Office 365’s built-in safeguards, you can prevent most inadvertent data loss.

If a staff member is about to send an email containing sensitive data – credit card details or customer information – the software triggers a double-check warning. If the info is going to the right person, no harm done. If it’s not, you’ve avoided a potentially costly mistake.

Your data can be encrypted with a single click, and you can even prevent people from forwarding, copying, or printing confidential emails and documents. With the archiving feature, you retain key data and access to emails after staff leave – preventing the loss of key business information that may have been managed by a single person.

Of course, the software can’t necessarily prevent theft or deliberate leaks – people can always get around security protections if they’re really determined – but it can stop silly mistakes from harming your company.

Outside risks, internal safeguards

External threats are a different story, but Office 365 can help there too. Advanced multi-factor authentication makes it far harder for outsiders to log in to your systems – you can make access easy in your building, but require staff to sign in when they’re at home. You can block entire countries, so any attempts to access from outside your home base are easily identified.

Because phishing scams are now harder to spot, the software does it for you. Safe-links software scans links contained in emails twice – once when the email is received, and again when the email is opened. If the link changes after it gets past the first barrier, you’ll get a warning. Similarly, attachments are scanned and flagged automatically. Unsafe attachments go straight to spam before you even see them.

AI also plays a role. The software watches and learns how individuals in your organisation communicate. If a team member has a sudden string of unusual emails or other communications, the software will flag it as suspicious, and you can work out whether the account has been taken over by a hacker.

Setting up with the right security

Modern tech is all very well, but if you’re not an expert, it can seem overwhelming. How do you identify security risks and loopholes? How do you know you’ve got the right safeguards in place? How do you make sure every device on your network is secure?  

That’s where Base2 comes in. Together with Ingram Micro, we’re making sure our customers have access to the best possible cybersecurity protection – without confusion, hassle, or wasted time. Although all our customers already have cybersecurity plans in place, online threats are always evolving, so reviewing your systems is a smart idea. Using the sophisticated security features built into Microsoft 365 Business and Premium plans, we can upgrade your system to prevent outside threats and internal breaches – so you can get on running your business.

If your business needs advanced protection from new threats, get in touch for a chat about our new Business & Premium Managed IT plans.

Want to know more? Get in touch with the Base2 team for help.

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