Our Consulting CFO, Francesca San Diego, moderated the session, with presenters Ericka Diaz-Joseph, Cyber Practice Leader at Insurance Office of America; Jeff Heet, Managing Partner at Insurance Office of America; and Dr. Faisal Quader, President & Co-Founder of Technuf.
Together, we delved into common threats such as phishing attacks and ransomware, as well as effective strategies for protecting your company from cyber-attacks.
Understanding Phishing and Ransomware Attacks
Phishing and ransomware attacks are two of the most prevalent threats faced by businesses today. Faisal emphasized that not all of us possess technical expertise to discern when someone is impersonating C-level executives. Attackers often exploit this vulnerability by creating a sense of urgency, leading to quick payments without verifying the legitimacy of the request.
To protect your organization from such attacks, always verify the sender’s identity, refrain from clicking on unverified links, and consult your IT team when in doubt. Ransomware attackers tend to demand payments in cryptocurrencies to prevent tracking, which is another way to detect deception.
Awareness and vigilance are key in countering these threats.
Safeguarding Your Business from Social Engineering Attacks
Ericka also shed light on the escalating dangers of social engineering, a method used by cyber attackers to manipulate and deceive individuals into divulging confidential information, granting unauthorized access, or performing actions that compromise the security of computer systems, networks, or personal information.
Cyber insurance is an essential component of your overall risk management strategy. While it cannot completely transfer all risks, it provides valuable financial protection in the event of a cyber incident. Engaging with your insurance agent and keeping them informed of your security initiatives can help tailor coverage to your specific needs.
Cyber insurance policies are increasingly covering financial losses incurred due to fraudulent payments resulting from deception. Attackers are using phone calls and official-looking emails to manipulate employees into making illicit transactions.
As cyber threats evolve, so must our approach to security practices. Cybersecurity insurance is crucial to protect your company from substantial financial losses, especially as social engineering attacks become more prevalent.
If a ransomware attack occurs, contacting your insurance carrier immediately can help stop the ransomware or delay the process, providing ample time to assess the situation and strategize an effective response.
Prioritizing Cybersecurity: The Key to Mitigating Risks
Jeff acknowledged that many companies lack the necessary cybersecurity infrastructure to safeguard their assets effectively. As a first step, conducting a thorough cyber assessment is essential to identify vulnerabilities and determine the areas that need improvement. Whether you have an in-house or outsourced IT team, cyber assessments are indispensable in gauging your company’s security posture.
Constantly updating your cybersecurity protocols is vital, as hackers relentlessly work to breach systems. Educating employees on cybersecurity and conducting simulated phishing campaigns are excellent ways to ensure that your team remains vigilant and actively participates in securing the organization.
Remote Work Security Best Practices
With the prevalence of remote work, the importance of implementing robust security measures is vital. Faisal shared some best practices for doing so, which include:
- Making incident reporting easy to encourage timely response to potential threats
- Being cautious about impersonations through phone calls, texting, and social media
- Utilizing strong, unique passwords and enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) whenever possible
- Ensuring that devices are regularly updated and encrypted to protect sensitive data
- Implementing strict controls on web browsing and prohibiting external and unsafe browsing
- Making cyber insurance a priority
Additionally, the panel discussed the delicate balance between paying ransoms and following government recommendations. Different states have their own data breach laws, making it essential to understand your obligations in the event of a ransomware attack.
Final Thoughts: Safeguarding Your Company’s Future
Cyber threats are ever evolving and the need for continuous efforts to fortify your organization’s cybersecurity measures is paramount. By adopting proactive cybersecurity practices, conducting regular assessments, and investing in cyber insurance, you can protect your business from potential financial devastation and ensure a secure and resilient future. PBO Advisory Groups’ expertise in providing outsourced accounting and HR services and strategic business consulting can play a pivotal role in assisting companies to bolster their cybersecurity defenses effectively.
Remember, cyberattacks can happen at any time. Be prepared, stay informed, and work to safeguard your company against the growing menace of cyber threats.