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Most managed IT services providers (MSPs) promise “proactive” cybersecurity consulting. All businesses embrace the idea of preventing cyberattacks and data breaches before they happen, and MSPs themselves would much rather brainstorm safeguards than troubleshoot time-sensitive downtime events. But it’s not always clear what proactive cybersecurity entails, so let’s take a minute to go over it.

Understand the threats you’re facing

Before any small- or medium-sized business (SMB) can work toward preventing cyberattacks, everyone involved needs to know exactly what they’re up against. Whether you’re working with in-house IT staff or an MSP, you should review what types of attacks are most common in your industry. Ideally, your team would spearhead this review a few times a year.

Reevaluate what it is you’re protecting

Once you have a list of the biggest threats to your organization, you need to take stock of how each one threatens the various cogs of your network. Map out every company device that connects to the internet, what type of data they have access to (regulated, mission-critical, low-importance, etc.), and what services are currently protecting those devices.

Create a baseline of protection

By reviewing current trends in the cybersecurity field and auditing your current technology framework, you can begin to get a clearer picture of how you want to prioritize your preventative measures versus your reactive measures.

Before you can start improving your cybersecurity approach, you need to know where your baseline is. Devise a handful of real-life scenarios and simulate them on your network. Network penetration testing from trustworthy IT professionals will help pinpoint weak spots in your current framework.

Finalize a plan

All these pieces will complete the puzzle of what your new strategy needs to be. With an experienced technology consultant on board for the entire process, you can easily synthesize the results of your simulation into a multipronged approach to proactive security.

Proactive measureWhat it entails
Security awareness seminars for all internal stakeholdersTrain everyone from the receptionist to the CEO about effective security practices such as password management, proper mobile device usage, and spam awareness.
Updated anti-malware software or cloud-based serviceProtect your data and systems against the latest and most menacing malware.
Routine software patches and upgradesMinimize the chances of leaving a backdoor to your network open.
Web filtering servicesBlacklist dangerous and inappropriate sites for anyone on your network.
Perimeter defenses (e.g., intrusion prevention systems and hardware firewalls)Scrutinize everything trying to sneak its way in through the borders of your network.
Policy of least privilegeLimit users’ access only to the data they need to fulfill their tasks.
Data segmentationRank data according to sensitivity and build micro-perimeters around high-value datasets.
Full-disk encryptionMake data stored in computers and portable devices unreadable so that if these machines are stolen, the files they have inside remain secure.
Virtual private networksMake data transmitted across unsecured connections unreadable so that intercepting it would become futile.
Strict access controlsPrevent unauthorized access to accounts by using strong passwords, multifactor authentication, and auto screen locks and logouts for idle users.
AI-powered network monitoringIdentify suspicious user and software behaviors such as employees accessing files outside their departments.

As soon as you focus on preventing downtime events instead of reacting to them, the productivity and efficiency of your IT infrastructure will increase to levels you’ve never dreamed of. Start your journey to enhanced cybersecurity by giving us a call for a demonstration.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.