Critical Mistakes Companies Make in Cybersecurity …and How to Prevent

Critical Mistakes Companies Make in Cybersecurity …and How to Prevent


Did you know? 

  • In 2020, the average business cost of a cyberattack was $3.4 million and it took over 200 days to detect the breach. (Source: IBM)
  • Ransomware attacks cost businesses over $20 billion in 2020, having grown by over 50 times in just 4 years. (Source: Cybersecurity Ventures)
  • Speaking to the urgent demand for cybersecurity help, in the US, there are over 500,000 OPEN cybersecurity jobs waiting to be filled. (Source: Net Sparker)
  • The average cost for ransom with a ransomware attack increased from $5,000 in 2018 to $200,000 in 2020. (Source: National Security Institute)
  • Public companies lose an estimated 8.6% of their value after a cyber breach. (Source: Comparitech)

7 Critical and Preventable IT Mistakes

  • Not Identifying cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities.
    • The greatest threat to your network is from negligent, potentially well-intentioned employees who simply fail to follow your own agreed-upon protocol. The National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) determined “Identify” within their Cybersecurity Framework to be the first step that companies must take to reduce their risk and thwart potential attacks.
    • What can you do? Develop a thorough organizational understanding of your own systems, people, assets, data and capabilities. Also, set protocol and permissions for which employees can access what information. 
  • Failing to protect critical IT systems with updated and enterprise-quality solutions.
    • In the realm of cybersecurity, many small businesses fail to adopt a layered approach to cybersecurity, causing unmitigated vulnerabilities. NIST’s second function within their Cybersecurity Framework is “Protect”.  
    • What can you do? Implement processes that support your ability to limit or contain the impact of a potential cybersecurity event. A layered approach provides protection of your assets in key areas.  Many common “protection services” for small businesses do not provide multi-layer protection.  Sadly, many small companies have a false reliance using “off the shelf” cybersecurity and anti-virus products. 
  • Implementing Detection systems that are insufficient for their business.
    • Slow, incomplete, or ineffective detection systems provide a false sense of security.  Many “out of the box” detection systems do not respond quickly enough with a prompt to act, or they respond so frequently that companies simply disregard them.  As a result, the detection system is of almost no value to the company. “Detect” is the third function of their Cybersecurity framework.
    • What can you do? Develop and implement appropriate activities to identify the occurrence of a cybersecurity event, and focus on detection systems that specifically address your unique needs. The key is to spend enough on a state-of-the art detection and notification capabilities that will provide the proper alerts and recommend the best action. 
  • Inability to respond quickly or effectively during or after a cyber event.
    • When a cybersecurity incident occurs, you must be able to respond quickly and contain the impact of the event. One recent example is a client who found themselves the victim of a ransomware attack.  Before calling Linked MSP, they were about to make a bad decision to power off their servers.  Fortunately, they called and advice was given to prevent further damage as well as providing a course of action to recover. “Respond” is the fourth function of the NIST Cybersecurity framework. 
    • What can you do? Develop and implement appropriate activities Run Books or Security Plans to act regarding a detected cybersecurity incident.  Successful responses flow from thorough response planning. Spend time with your IT team discussing what could happen and developing clearly communicated strategies and documentation. 
  • Failure to have strong recovery strategies in place before a cyber event.
    • If data is lost, it is critical to recover that lost data as quickly as possible.  Two important data recovery processes that are commonly overlooked are: 1) maintaining a secure offsite backup, and 2) validation that the data backup is recoverable. NIST’s fifth and final function within their Cybersecurity Framework is “Recover”.  
    • What can you do? Develop a plan with appropriate activities that you will use to prioritize the recovery process.  Maintain documentation to efficiently restore services that are impaired due to a cybersecurity incident. 
  • Insufficient training of employees to spot malicious emails.
    • Cyber Attackers have become incredibly sophisticated.  Gone are the days when you might receive an obviously suspicious email saying, “your cousin is in dire straits in a foreign country and you must pay cash now to free them from peril.” Today, a phishing email may look like it comes from your boss, your best client, or even your bank. 
    • What can you do? Explore email phishing education programs and training for your team. Some Cybersecurity partners (such as Linked MSP) provide this service as part of their monthly client support. 
  • Taking the wrong actions when you discover potential malicious emails
    • One of the most dangerous things an employee can do to a spam email is simply click “unsubscribe”! By clicking on that link, they could activate the downloading of malware, ransomware, or other viruses onto a computer!
    • What can you do? Seek a meeting with a cybersecurity expert.  Linked MSP is one of many potential partners available to you to guide you and educate you on steps to take to improve your cybersecurity effectiveness. Take advantage of the resources available to you. 

Linked MSP is an Outsourced IT and Cybersecurity partner, supporting companies and non-profit organizations with 10-500 employees in a wide range of industries. Linked MSP is based in Northern California and serves clients in the Western US. They serve in many different roles to guide clients.  To meet with their team, visit to learn more. 

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7 Basic Cybersecurity Measures from the Internet Security Alliance

7 Basic Cybersecurity Measures from the Internet Security Alliance

The Internet Security Alliance (ISA) recently developed a list of 7 Basic cybersecurity measures. Here are their recommendations:

  1. Have an information security policy;
  2. Patch your systems and applications, and probably do it automatically;
  3. Require multi-factor authentication;
  4. Restrict employee’s ability to surf the web on company computers;
  5. Train employees on cybersecurity practices;
  6. Scan and filter email and web traffic;
  7. Set up logging and store the data for the long-term

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FCC Recommendations for Cybersecurity

FCC Recommendations for Cybersecurity

The FCC recently developed 10 recommendations to help Small and Midsize Businesses with cybersecurity. Here are their recommendations:

1. Train employees in security principles

Establish basic security practices and policies for employees, such as requiring strong passwords, and establish appropriate Internet use guidelines that detail penalties for violating company cybersecurity policies. Establish rules of behavior describing how to handle and protect customer information and other vital data.

2. Protect information, computers, and networks from cyberattacks

Keep clean machines: having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Set antivirus software to run a scan after each update. Install other key software updates as soon as they are available.

3. Provide firewall security for your Internet connection

A firewall is a set of related programs that prevent outsiders from accessing data on a private network. Make sure the operating system’s firewall is enabled or install free firewall software available online. If employees work from home, ensure that their home system(s) are protected by a firewall.

4. Create a mobile device action plan

Mobile devices can create significant security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network. Require users to password-protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks. Be sure to set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment.

5. Make backup copies of important business data and information

Regularly backup the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly and store the copies either offsite or in the cloud.

6. Control physical access to your computers and create user accounts for each employee

Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.

7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks

If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure it is secure, encrypted, and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router, so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Password protect access to the router.

8. Employ best practices on payment cards

Work with banks or processors to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being used. You may also have additional security obligations pursuant to agreements with your bank or processor. Isolate payment systems from other, less secure programs and don’t use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet.

9. Limit employee access to data and information, limit authority to install software

Do not provide any one employee with access to all data systems. Employees should only be given access to the specific data systems that they need for their jobs, and should not be able to install any software without permission.

10. Passwords and authentication

Require employees to use unique passwords and change passwords every three months. Consider implementing multi-factor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multi-factor authentication for your account.

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Us Dept of Commerce Standards and Best Practices for Cybersecurity

Us Dept of Commerce Standards and Best Practices for Cybersecurity

The US Department of Commerce recently identified Best Practices for cybersecurity. Linked MSP follows this 5 Part process.

1. Identify

  • Identify and control who has access to your biz information
  • Conduct background checks
  • Require individual user accounts for each employees
  • Create policies and procedures for information security

2. Protect

  • Limit employee access to data and information
  • Install surge protectors and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS)
  • Patch your operating systems and applications
  • Install and activate software and hardware firewalls on all your biz networks
  • Secure your wireless access point and networks
  • Set up web and email filters
  • Use encryption for sensitives business information
  • Dispose of old computers and media safely
    Train your employees

3. Detect

  • Install and update anti-virus, -spyware, and other -malware programs
  • Maintain and monitor logs

4. Respond

  • Develop a plan for disasters and information security incidents

5. Recover

  • Make full backups of important business data/information
  • Make incremental backups of important business data/information
  • Consider cyber insurance
  • Make improvements to processes/procedures/technologies

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