Despite the highlights on the news, the majority of cybersecurity threats and hacking scares are not caused by novel mechanisms or newly discovered weaknesses. At the root of most problems are a build-up of behaviors and routine weaknesses in business systems that seem impossible to detect until it’s too late. Traditional IT services only respond to the outbreak of symptoms. But you can find the underlying causes and protect against them with managed IT.
How can managed IT services stop recurring threats?
If your network goes out once, chances are it will go out again. The more often it goes out or malfunctions, the more and more likely the pattern will continue. This is because the short-term solution to getting it back online isn’t true solvency. Even the most diligent traditional service just gets things back to working order, so get a support service that can:
Monitor the network for overload points.
As your network grows with your business, the system will develop vulnerabilities. A managed IT service has the software to monitor your network 24/7, so they can catch problems before they start. They can also sense where the problem is originating from and what events are triggering potential overloads.
Regularly update software.
A lot of security problems start because people in a network have different versions of the software. Sometimes they even have different software altogether because of different operating systems. But patchworked malware protection has a lot of holes, and an attachment that one computer can protect itself from can still have malware that infects an adjacent device. The only two ways to ensure standardized defense are through a forced update schedule, which can cause downtime and frustration, or by having a system administrator update everything remotely.
What blind spots can individual IT management leave behind?
If you’ve ever been part of a collaborative work project without clear responsibilities or leaders, you know how easy it is to shift into a mentality of just taking care of your own set part. While that analogy isn’t exactly the same as a shared business network, it can be easy just to focus on your own device’s security. But that leaves a lot of unprotected ground in the network connections themselves, especially if your company doesn’t have a dedicated IT employee or support service. The most disruptive is a Man-in-the-Middle attack.
What is a Man-in-the-Middle attack?
A Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack is almost precisely what it sounds like. Someone, either through a direct connection, a program that sends them information, or a virus that corrupts what you send, sits in the middle of your network. That gives them access to everything someone sends or receives over your network, no matter how well each individual device might be protected. Not only are these attacks dangerous because they make your business and customers’ private information visible, they let malicious attackers feed in their own information and commands.
They largely work by replacing how devices confirm the connection. Computers do a lot of confirmation behind the scenes. There are back and forths between your computer and your router, your computer and the network, and the network and your intended recipient, just to name a few. But programs that enable Man-in-the-Middle attacks can duplicate that confirmation process and make it sandwich their own programs and viruses. This means everything looks like it’s running smoothly (if maybe a fraction of a second slower), but your data is making hidden stops along the way.
How can you protect against them?
There are lots of different techniques, and, like with all protections, layering them gives you the best security. You can have your IT service:
- train your employees to stay away from websites that don’t have secure URLs (like those starting with https://). If they input information like a name or a password into an unsecured site, anyone can pick up on it.
- add anti-ARP spoofing programs that stop MitM attack programs from pretending to have an innocuous physical location, like your office.
- regularly clear your caches. Sometimes viruses and fakes can get through your system. Regularly clearing it out means their luck isn’t a permanent vulnerability.
Most network problems only reveal themselves when it’s too late. If you want to get to the root of the problems and stop recurring outages, get a managed IT service that actively monitors and protects. Go to IT Networks Australia Pty Ltd to get started.