October is European Cyber Security Month – the EU’s annual campaign dedicated to promoting cyber security to individuals and organisations and providing up-to-date online security information through awareness-raising and sharing of good practices.
The arrival of Covid-19 brought with it significant challenges for businesses, with many moving from physical to digital, in some cases overnight. The speed at which these changes to working practices occurred impacted the nature and priorities of IT services, exposing weaknesses resulting in a significant rise in cyber security incidents, with hackers exploiting gaps in systems and seizing on the opportunity to capture valuable data.
So, with this in mind, this European Cyber Security Month, we look at three steps that businesses can take to improve their chances in the fight against cyber crime:
Identifying and understanding the vulnerabilities in your IT network is the first step towards securing your systems and protecting your business from the threat of cyber attack. External penetration testing enables you to view and test security measures through the eyes of a cyber criminal, replicating the tactics and practices of hackers to identify weaknesses and flaws that could be taken advantage of. The process focuses on areas where the most common weaknesses occur, usually at the point that two systems integrate, alongside the efficiency of firewalls and, once within interior networks, how easy it is to access sensitive data such as customers’ personal information and card payment details.
Develop policies and educate staff
With staff working from home and accessing networks remotely, clearer guidelines and tighter restrictions are needed to protect systems from new risks and vulnerabilities. Policies and procedures require updates such as limiting the use of personal laptops and mobile devices for work purposes and enhanced guidelines on multi-factor authentication and passwords, alongside ensuring that sufficient firewalls are in place and that software updates are made.
Developing the policies and procedures is the easy bit. They are only effective if they are widely communicated throughout the organisation, engaging staff to highlight the risks and the role they play in protecting the business from cyber attack. Educating and informing employees of where the threats lie will reinforce how their actions make all the difference.
Work through PCI DSS compliance
While PCI DSS might seem like a task too far for some, going through the process of achieving compliance will undoubtedly result in the creation and maintenance of robust systems and networks. PCI DSS compliance is designed to help you stay one step ahead of the hackers, protecting your business from cyber criminals by creating barriers to make their target much harder to reach.
At PCI Telecom we create bespoke, secure, cloud-based card payment processing solutions that interface seamlessly with other IT functions and, because they’re accredited to a PCI Level 1 standard, provide the highest level of compliance regardless of the size of your business. Contact us today to find out more about how we can support your business with accepting and processing card payments securely, be it over the phone or online.