The cyber world is changing at an unprecedented pace. Now that we’re in 2023, your business’s cyber security risk has never been more critical. From ransomware to Crime as a Service, cyber attacks are becoming more frequent, sophisticated, and more expensive for companies to deal with.

Our Cyber Security Experts at Croft will walk you through the biggest cyber security risks of 2023, and steps you can take to mitigate your risk. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in cyber security

Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionising a range of industries. AI can help to monitor and detect threats, but it also poses new cyber security risks in 2023 and beyond. AI-powered attacks can automate the process of identifying vulnerabilities in a businesses security, making them harder to detect and defend against.

This year, we expect to see an increase in AI-powered cyber attacks, including automated malware, botnets, and deepfake attacks. To mitigate these risks, your business should implement AI-based security measures, such as machine learning algorithms and behavioural analysis, to detect and prevent AI-powered attacks. 

Smart Devices creating increasing risks

Smart devices, such as smart thermostats, security systems, and voice-activated assistants are connected to the internet and designed to make our lives easier. However, these devices can also create a range of new cyber security risks. Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in the software or hardware of these devices to gain access to a business’s network or data:

Unsecured connections

Smart devices are often connected to the internet without any security protocols in place. This can make them vulnerable to hacking attempts, such as man-in-the-middle attacks, where a hacker intercepts and modifies data transmitted between the device and the internet.

Access to sensitive data

Smart devices often collect and transmit sensitive data, such as personal information or location data. If this data falls into the wrong hands, it can be used for identity theft or other malicious purposes.

To mitigate the cyber security risk of smart devices, businesses should ensure that all smart devices are secured with strong passwords and connected to secure networks. They should also regularly update to ensure they’re protected against known vulnerabilities. 

Croft team monitoring the dark web

Crime as a Service

Crime as a service (CaaS) is a growing cyber security risk in 2023. CaaS is a model where cyber criminals offer their services on the dark web, making it easier for criminals without technical expertise to launch cyber attacks. Essentially, CaaS allows anyone to become a cyber criminal without needing any technical skills or knowledge.

CaaS providers offer a wide range of services, including malware creation and phishing campaigns. These services are often sold for a fixed price, or a percentage of the profits generated by the cyber attack.

To mitigate the risks of CaaS, businesses need to take a proactive approach to cyber security. This includes implementing robust security measures, such as firewalls, antivirus software, endpoint detection, and intrusion detection systems, to prevent cyber attacks from occurring in the first place. Businesses should also ensure that employees are trained in cybersecurity best practices, including how to identify and avoid social engineering attacks.

Lack of training and knowledge

As cyber security risks for businesses get more sophisticated, employees need to be kept up to date with the latest cyber threats and possible intrusions. Employees are often the weakest link in a company’s cyber security defences, and without proper training and education, they can unknowingly put the company at risk. It’s crucial for businesses to invest in employee training and awareness programmes to mitigate the risks of cyber attacks.

Our experts at Croft can provide your employees with comprehensive training so that everyone is equipped to mitigate cyber risks for your business.

Protect your business with Croft

Croft can help to protect your business from cyber security risks and attacks. Through a range of cyber detection and response services, we can strengthen your posture and safeguard your business from threats. Read more about how to protect your SME by downloading our guide, or contact us today.

A firewall is a fundamental part of your network, designed to protect your system from malicious attacks. But how does a firewall work, and what do you need to know in order to ensure that you are fully protected? In this article we’ll explore why a firewall is used and explain the methods it employs to prevent cyber breaches.

What is a firewall?

A firewall is a form of cyber security that prevents attacks from propagating to your private network. Just like a physical wall, it is used for security, to provide intrusion prevention, blocking hackers and malicious traffic from gaining access to your private network.

A firewall is an important part of your cyber security toolkit and is included in our Managed Cyber Security Services.

Why is it needed?

Unfortunately, cyber security threats are an ever present risk for all businesses, with cybercriminals developing increasingly sophisticated methods to breach the security of private networks. That’s why a firewall is used, together with other cyber security tools, as a preventative measure to defend your network from attack. Without protection, your business would be extremely vulnerable to a data breach, the consequences of which are likely to be severe.

How can it protect your business?

Your firewall is a preventative measure designed to stop harmful, unauthorised traffic from infiltrating your network in the first place. This first line of defence is an essential cybersecurity tool, especially with the rise of home and remote working.

Croft infographic explaining how firewalls work

A firewall will protect your business by:

The latest, next-generation firewalls offer additional functionality, such as providing a virtual private network (VPN) for an encrypted connection that your staff can use even when working remotely.

How much is firewall protection?

 Firewall costs depends on a number of factors:

Typically, the cost to a small or medium-sized business will be in the thousands of pounds, but prices can vary widely. When weighing up how much you are prepared to spend, it’s worth reflecting on what level of protection you require for your business, and how much a good cybersecurity package is likely to save you, by preventing a devastating data breach. 

What other cybersecurity do you need to be protected from cyber threats?

A firewall is an essential preventative tool in your cybersecurity arsenal. But it can’t do the job on its own: think of it as just one layer of protection. In addition, you will need protective measures including (but not limited to):

While your firewall is the first line of defence, these other layers reduce your risk in other ways: antivirus protection can act quickly to protect you from malware that has managed to infiltrate your network, while data backup and disaster recovery is a ‘just in case’ measure to help you recover should the worst happen.

With managed cybersecurity services from Croft, these are all part of the package. We’ll protect your network using the latest technology, so you can focus on running your business without cyber threats. Contact us to find out more. 

What is endpoint detection and response (EDR) and why is it important?

Endpoint security or endpoint protection refers to the practice of securing a user’s devices – ‘endpoints’ – from cyber threats. Detection and response refers to a software that can be used to pick up potential threats and then act accordingly, while making the user manager aware. 

Endpoint security software, commonly known as mobile device management (MDM), is commonly used for laptops, desktops and tablets. As well as these, other business endpoints should be considered too – such as printers and smart watches. 

Employees using different devices to connect to a network or the cloud for business purposes should have endpoint detection and response to protect the organisation from hackers. The more devices employees use to access work information, the more vulnerable the business is to cyber threats.

The importance of mobile device management for SMEs

Although many SMEs struggle to budget for cyber security, the consequences of just one cyberattack could be devastating.  57% of SMEs in Europe said that if a cyber attack were to happen in their business, they would likely go out of business – according to the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity. 

The business landscape today is facing more and more threats from cyber criminals. A Clark School study completed at the University of Maryland found that hacker attacks occurred every 39 seconds on average, on a desktop. The study found that the majority of attacks came from guessing logins. However, more sophisticated attacks can put business mobiles and other devices at serious risk of breaches. 

The use of endpoint detection and response for remote working

With remote working now vastly popular across the world, more businesses are relying on a variety of devices to operate. Endpoint security software allows cybersecurity professionals to secure a device from anywhere. This means that client software can push updates where necessary, authenticate login attempts and block potential threats of each endpoint.

Some Endpoint Protection Platforms offer a Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) service. This means more advanced threats can be picked up and monitored. 

EDR software, sometimes referred to as endpoint protection and threat response, constantly monitors endpoints for potential cyber threats in real time. Equipped with advanced threat detection, endpoint detection and response can automatically respond to threats – as well as notifying the chosen admin. In-built data analysis tools also allow the system to pick up patterns from threats, while researching suspicious activities. 

Is endpoint protection the same as antivirus?

Although the two are often compared, antivirus software is intended as a prevention for endpoint security. Antivirus picks up various malware activities and only covers a single device or endpoint. EDR picks up a variety of different security attacks that can be highly advanced, then detects and blocks them before they manage to make any damage. EDR will also notify the selected admin of any threats. 

Choosing between antivirus and endpoint detection and response is based upon a number of factors: 

Small businesses commonly make the wrong choices when it comes to investing in cyber protection. Something to consider is that the level of security vastly differs depending on which antivirus software a business chooses to use.

The good news is that endpoint protection gives a more holistic approach to cybersecurity by offering protection from different types of threats and attacks. Antivirus is just one facet of an endpoint protection platform.

What is Symantec endpoint protection? 

Symantec endpoint protection is a personal protection firewall that protects devices from hackers and threats that gain access through the internet. It’s one choice of endpoint protection for small businesses, and allows a single administrator to control policies for different devices and get sent security alerts. 

This type of endpoint protection contains antivirus and antispyware, as well as a number of protective services that can protect numerous devices used for business purposes. However, there is other endpoint protection software available – choosing the right one depends on: 

Book a call

A managed service provider, such as Croft, can help you decide the best type of cyber security solution for your business. Like other tech infrastructure, there’s no one size fits all cyber security approach. Creating bespoke solutions will keep the cost down for your business, as well as giving you the flexibility to change your contract as you grow.

To discuss your cyber security options, and receive a no obligation review of your current tech infrastructure, please contact us using the form below.