12 June 2024

How To Beat The Heat: Keeping Your Business Safe Over The Summer

Summer is a time for relaxing, going on holiday, and enjoying the warm weather. However, just because your employees might be heading to the beach or planning their weekend getaway, that doesn’t mean cyber criminals will be taking any time off. In fact, as temperatures rise, so too do cyber risks. At Infosec K2K, we understand the importance of maintaining robust cyber security practices all year round. To ensure you and your business stay secure, we’ve rounded up some summer cyber security advice. These can help your employees enjoy their time off without compromising your security.

The Summer Cyber Security Landscape

The number of cyber attacks often rises over the summer, as a combination of factors can leave organisations particularly vulnerable. In 2019, research by Beaming found that the number of cyber attacks faced by its customers had shot up by 243% over the summer. Many employees will take time off during these months, which means there are less people available to monitor for and respond to cyber threats.

What’s more, with people sharing their travel details on social media, cyber criminals may be able to gather valuable information that they can then use in social engineering attacks. Phishing emails can become more prevalent and more legitimate. While travelling, people are also more likely to use unsecured public WiFi networks, which criminals can exploit to spread malware or execute man-in-the-middle attacks. These factors can create a perfect storm for increased threats, requiring heightened awareness of summer cyber security threats.

Implementing Robust IAM Strategies

Identity and Access Management (IAM) is the cornerstone of any secure business environment. Since IAM ensures only authorised individuals can access your business’ critical systems and data, it reduces the risk of cyber attacks. For organisations of all sizes, implementing robust IAM strategies is essential when it comes to maintaining security. This is true all year round, but especially over the summer.

Adopting best practices such as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), for example, can offer businesses protection. MFA requires users to verify their identity through multiple factors, such as a password, a smartphone, or a fingerprint. This adds extra layers of security that can stop cyber criminals – even if they have access to an employee’s password.

Maintaining up-to-date systems and software is another critical aspect of a strong IAM strategy. Criminals can exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software, making regular updates and patches essential. Also, implementing the principle of least privilege can prevent accidental or intentional data misuse. Regular reviews and adjustments of access controls, particularly if employees have changed roles or left the company, are crucial for maintaining security, and our IAM assessments can help you to keep on top of this.

The continuous monitoring of your network is also vital for detecting and responding to any suspicious activity swiftly. Automated tools can help with this, and ensure alerts are dealt with promptly. Finally, it’s important to remember that employees are your first line of defence against cyber threats. Regular training can educate them on the latest phishing scams to watch out for, as well as the importance of following security protocols. By fostering a culture of cyber awareness, every employee will feel responsible for the firm’s security.

Considerations for the Summer

This time of year can present a number of unique summer cyber security challenges, and additional measures may be necessary to protect your network. Planning for employee absences is important. Your IAM strategy should account for staff being on holiday, and ensure backup personnel are available for critical tasks. This way you can make sure access to essential systems isn’t compromised whenever key members of staff are on holiday.

Secure remote access is also crucial, as employees may need to work from different locations during the summer. With the help of our partners at CyberArk, we also offer Remote Privileged Access Management (RPAM) services to help staff access the resources they need. You can implement VPNs, and protect remote access with MFA. You should also ensure that any devices used for remote work comply with your security policies.

Having an emergency response plan is also essential for dealing with potential security breaches. This plan should outline the specific steps to take during an incident, as well as key contacts, and communication protocols. Ensure all employees are aware of the plan and their roles in the event of a cyber incident. Conduct regular drills to test both your IAM systems and your response plans. These can identify any weaknesses and prepare your team for a real cyber attack. With our penetration testing and our breach and attacking simulation modelling services, we can help to evaluate the effectiveness of your security. Use the summer as an opportunity to run these tests, especially as your workforce may be more dispersed.

As your employees head off to enjoy the summer, it’s important to remember cyber security’s a continuous effort. Cyber criminals don’t take vacations, and neither should your cyber defences. By implementing robust IAM strategies and following best practices, you can protect your business from increased cyber risks over the summer. At Infosec K2K, we’re dedicated to helping you maintain a secure business environment year-round. This way, you can ensure your operations continue smoothly, even when the sun is shining.

Whatever solution you’re looking for, we can help. The experts at Infosec K2K can offer you specialist guidance, and help you find the product that’s the best fit for you.

Get in touch with us to find out more about how we can help you.

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