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How to Mitigate Board Cyberattacks

A data breach involving sensitive board information can result in costly litigation and ruin an organization’s reputation. Cybercrimes have always been a threat to organizations, but they have increased in the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic when many companies turned to remote work. Board members need to be vigilant about cybersecurity to protect the organization’s finances, liability, reputation and future growth.

The following are tips will help prevent board cyberattacks:

1. Manage board materials digitally.

Instead of relying on printed versions of board books, disclosures and other important materials, boards should have a secure, digital solution that is accessible from a single portal. This portal should include encryption, two-factor authentication and biometric scanning devices, such as voice, fingerprint, facial or iris recognition.

2. Set appropriate permissions.

Make sure each board member only has access to what they need—no more and no less.

3. Protect meeting minutes.

Ensure that meeting notes are prepared quickly and destroy notes used to compile them. Make minutes available to board members in a read-only format, and consider limiting how long a member can access them digitally.

4. Require board members to use company email addresses.

Personal email accounts lack adequate security for sensitive information. Provide board members with a company email address and require they use it for all board-relation communications.

5. Use secure devices.

Insist that board business be conducted only on safe, trusted devices. Also consider wiping all locally stored information from devices that have not been connected to the internet within an established period, such as 90 days.

Contact The Hull Group today to learn more about prioritizing cybersecurity.

How to Proactively Defend Against Ransomware

Ransomware threats happen when an attacker plants malware on a system that encrypts all the files, making the system useless. Then the attacker offers to sell the victim the key needed to decrypt the files. If the ransom is not paid, the attacker will either delete the key or publish the data publicly.

Cybersecurity company Emsisoft estimates that ransomware demands increased by more than 80 per cent globally in 2020, with hundreds of millions of dollars estimated to have been paid out in ransoms in Canada alone. These types of attacks can be detrimental to an organization, which is why prevention is paramount.

The following tips will help proactively defend against ransomware threats:

  • Segment networks. Separate network hosts into various zones. This will help slow down advanced threats and limit the damage from fast-spreading ransomware. Additionally, an organization should have a demilitarized zone that separates the internet from the internal network.
  • Proactively monitor networks. Networks should be monitored daily through a process performed by someone on staff, likely a member of the IT department. Although there are security tools that will do this, their logs and events often go unchecked, making them ineffective.
  • Prevent attackers from gaining remote access. Ransomware is increasingly deployed by attackers who have gained access remotely via exposed services such as Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or unpatched remote access devices. Close these entryways by disabling RDP if it’s not needed or enabling multifactor authentication at all remote access points into the network.
  • Make regular backups of important files. Up-to-date backups are the most effective way of recovering from a ransomware attack. Check that the appropriate members of the organization know how to restore the backup and test it regularly to ensure that it works as expected. It may also be a good idea to make multiple copies of files using different backup solutions and storage locations for added protection.
  • Prepare for an incident. Ransomware attacks can be devastating for organizations because computer systems are no longer available to use. Every organization should have a recovery plan in place, which should include an incident management plan that is practised periodically.

Contact us today to learn more about preventing ransomware attacks.

How to Improve Cloud Security

Moving files to the cloud can decrease cyber risks, but it doesn’t eliminate them. Each cloud service provider has its own security measures, but users are responsible for configuring their resources.

These are three ways to improve cloud security:

  • Use multifactor authentication. This will ensure that only authorized personal can log in to the cloud account.
  • Securely offboard cloud users. When an individual leaves an organization, make sure their cloud access is promptly taken away to prevent IP theft, data breaches and other undesirable outcomes.
  • Utilize visibility and control. Ensure that the service provider presents full visibility of the data and who is accessing it. Actively monitor this information to be aware of any changes to the configuration or security.

Contact us today to learn more.