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Be prepared, be secure – Security Best Practices for 365

Small business owners worldwide have had a particularly hard time over the last year or so, with the Government changing their minds constantly regarding the way they can trade alongside their own personal health concerns making for a particularly stressful and unsettling time. However, regardless of these stresses, your energy must always be concentrated on the security of your data – you can’t let your guard down for even a moment.

Over recent years the risks relating to cyber threats attacking every organization have grown exponentially. Most business owners don’t realise the extent of this or the effects that a cyber attack could have on their organization should one be successful. Threats becoming more prominent should come as no surprise when you consider the ever-changing digital landscape that the majority of our work functions take place within in the modern world.

Regardless of the business you are running or the sector in which it resides, your IT system is likely to be the lynchpin of your organization – not only does it hold your sensitive data but it also allows your users to be productive and get their jobs done effectively. That same system could be susceptible to attack and the criminals attacking it will do whatever they can to get hold of your clients’ sensitive data.


Small businesses aren’t immune

Many think that because their business is small cyber criminals will simply overlook them – but this is definitely not the case. In fact, cyber criminals target ‘small’ organizations over large ones as they often have inadequate defences in place, lower budgets to bolster those defences, and lack the technical infrastructure to be adequately prepared. Think of it this way – if you were a criminal looking for easy money would you attack a large organization that is prepared for an attack or the one that isn’t and thinks they would be ignored? I know which one I would choose.

We aren’t suggesting that you mirror those big organizations – that would be overkill – but the time has arrived to invest in some of the cost-effective methods to protect your system. As we said, you don’t need to go mad spending thousands upon thousands of dollars, but you should purchase defences that are the most suitable for you and from which your business can benefit.

Phishing and Ransomware attacks are by far the most common types of cyber attacks that result in financial loss for a business. This being said, it is obvious that there has never been a better time to equip your system to defend its most vulnerable parts and avoid these attacks being successful.


Securing Microsoft 365

There are a variety of different tools, policies, and procedures on the market today that can guarantee your system is as secure as it possibly can be. These, along with IT user educational tools that you can implement, will help you feel confident that you are doing all you can be to be safe. Small business owners typically have very little knowledge of what they are looking at when it comes to cyber security tools, and, with the options for tools being vast, often they look them up online and buy the cheapest option, and who can blame them? Most of the time businesses will have some basic anti-virus software, a password policy, and (on the rare occasion) a Firewall configured, but this is not enough to protect your system – not even close!


Email – The vulnerabilities

Regardless of all the modern advancements that technology has gone through over the last decade there has always been one constant – Email.

Cyber criminals have found that Email is a good target point for their attacks just because most businesses rely on it but have a a lack of knowledge around the problems that can come with it. They target individuals and trick them into allowing access or handing over money directly. It is becoming more difficult to determine a malicious email from a genuine one. Let’s take a look at two of the most common forms of Phishing attack, where the cyber criminal masks themselves as different entities to force the hand of their target.


Masked as a company or brand

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book but, over recent years, its commonality has grown considerably. Cyber criminals will commonly pose as a government agency or somewhere official in order to cheat their target into trusting the source.


Masked as a company or employee or director

Not as popular as the previous method but still common to cyber criminals is the method of posing as a company employee or director. For example, a company falls victim to a cyber attack because the cyber criminals mask themselves as the company’s financial director by sending an Email to the financial team impersonating the CEO’s personal mailbox. They instruct the payment of a substantial amount of money to an account. The Email even contains the CEO’s correct contact details and full ‘E’ signature. Very little blame can be put on the employee in this instance, when the correct ‘E’ signature combined with the Email coming from the correct mailbox would lead anyone to fall for the rouse if they hadn’t benefitted from the proper training.


Ransomware – The dangers

Ransomware is one of the most common types of Malware (malicious software). Ransomware is designed with the intention of restricting access to your data by encrypting your files behind a secure key that only the cyber criminal has access to. Once the cyber criminal has your data they then hold it to ransom (hence the name ‘Ransomware’).


Securing your 365 environment

At Grapevine, our team of dedicated engineers can meet any technical challenge you may come across. We take our time in getting to know you, your business, employees, and your goals for the future so we can then find the best technological solution for you to guarantee constant security. Our years of experience leave us primed and ready with all the tools needed to ensure a top-quality service, now and into the future. Contact our team and let us start our journey together today.

Contact our team and let us start our journey together today.


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