4 Ways To Protect Your Firm Against Unknown Threats

Unknown threatsProtecting your business against the latest IT threats should always be a top priority. Updating your antivirus and keeping your operating system and applications up to date is a great way to start. What happens though, when a threat appears at your door before security firms have had a chance to catch it?

A security threat that exploits a previously undiscovered vulnerability is known as a zero-day threat. The name “zero-day” is designed to show how long since the vulnerability was discovered and also indicates that system developers have had zero days to fix it.

A newly discovered attack might be included in a computer virus or worm. This will allow it to spread far and wide, while inflicting the maximum amount of damage possible. When spread successfully, a new exploit has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of computers before an operating system or anti-virus update can even be issued.

Here are 4 ways to help protect your business or lessen the damage from an unknown or  zero-day attack.

1. Preventative security

The number one way to mitigate the damage from any attack is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Maintaining a good firewall and up-to-date security system is the best way you can take to ensure the security of your system.

A firewall, which monitors traffic in and out of your network, reduces unauthorised entries and exits over the network. Even without knowing the exact nature of the attack, suspicious activity can be stopped.

The same is true of modern security software. Even when it can’t identify the specific zero-day threat from its virus database; it can often identify malicious intent from learned behaviour in the system.

2. A Locked Down Network

Should a zero-day threat make it into your network, our next goal is to limit its effects. By restricting user access to only essential files and systems we can limit the damage done to the smallest area. Good security policy dictates that each account should only have full access to the systems needed to complete the user’s job. For example, users from the accounts department shouldn’t have access to sales department databases – see our blog article here on this area of security.

In this way, the damage of a single compromised account is limited to only the network area it has permissions to. Limiting the impact makes it easier to recover if the worst happens.

3. Good Data backup

Whether your entire network has been exploited or only a small area has been affected; good data backups are a must and are your protection against major long term damage. Having a good backup means having the procedures in place to create regular backup copies and also regularly test those backups to make sure they can be restored at a later date.

Reliable and well tested backups are worth their weight in gold. They allow you to sleep well at night knowing your data is safe and your system can be recovered.

4. Intrusion Protection

While the precise methods of a zero-day exploit can’t be known in advance, a network intrusion protection system (NIPS) can monitor your firms network for unusual activity.

The advantage of NIPS over a traditional firewall and traditional antivirus software is that it does not rely on checking software against a known database of threats. This means it does not need updates or patches to learn about the latest attacks. NIPS works by learning the day-to-day patterns of network activity across the network.

When traffic or something out of the ordinary is detected, action can be taken to alert system administrators and lock down the network.

NIPS protects against threats introduced to the network from both external and internal sources.

Full Cover Protection

Used in combination these techniques can prevent, protect, and mitigate against the kinds of threats that even the top security firms don’t even know of yet.

If you could use help protect your business against security threats and are in Adelaide or South Australia, then give us a call today at 08 8326 4364 or via email at support@dpcomputing.com.au.

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