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Enterprise Risk Management: 6 Ways to Enable Your Customers to Defend Against the Growing Malware Threat

Posted by Brandon Kowalski on Mar 21, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Enabling your customers to help them mitigate risk can be challenging. Adversaries only need to find a single entry point into a network to put your customer on the front page. Fighting back against malware and other malicious attacks means not only preventing attacks before malware infiltrates, but also identifying and eradicating malware that may already be in their systems while minimally affecting business operations. 

Malware can hide in a variety of areas and in seemingly innocuous files. Even major vendors like Mint Linux, a popular Linux distribution, have had their websites hacked and used to distribute malware to organizations and users.

Most hacks, however, are not quite that elaborate. Many attackers simply email an executable to a large list of users in an organization or program a pop-up that requires the installation of something like a special “Video Player” (actually a piece of malware in disguise). Targeted attackers also can infect a system by adding elements such as macros - dynamic objects and scripts to a document that trick recipients into thinking they’re safe.

In a computer network, humans are the weakest link.

In an ideal world, IT releases patches to identify and fix vulnerabilities the moment they know about them. In reality, IT doesn’t have the reach or time needed to fully protect an organization. Even when IT does due diligence, employees still install and use unapproved software on their work computers. Take John from accounting. He decides to use his favorite calculator app instead of Excel because he thinks it keeps him more productive and thus helps the business. However, when it comes time for IT to update and patch applications, chances are they don’t know about John’s new calculator app and even if they did, they probably don’t have the time to build the patch just for John. Despite John’s good intentions, his computer is now at risk for an attack.

One of the best ways for companies to fight back is to educate employers and employees to create human firewalls through training, education and an in-depth security policy. Educate your customers on how they can fight back against malware with these six tips and tricks to help prevent malware from infecting their network:

  1. Enforce strict endpoint security – As employees seek greater mobility, every device that connects to the network can potentially be the next entry point for a security breach. Like the example of John, well-meaning employees can sometimes cause serious security vulnerabilities. Managing every endpoint throughout the enterprise is critical to securing an environment.
  1. Install patches and OS updates – Encourage your customers to take advantage of offerings from third-party patch providers to build and test patches for common third-party applications. Make sure they focus on patching applications specific to their organization.
  1. Install, verify and respond to alerts from a managed anti-virus and anti-malware suite - Anti-malware tools block more than 99 percent of common malware and are the most effective tool to limit your exposure to known threats.
  1. Implement sandbox technology – Sandboxes pre-screen files before they enter the network; often they open and run the file while monitoring for malicious activity. This behavioral detection helps prevent new zero-day malware. Zero-day malware is malware not yet detected by anti-virus as malware..
  1. Provide security awareness training and information sharing to every employee - While malicious or suspicious links might seem obvious to most, it only takes one person to click one time to introduce malware in an environment. Ensure your customers empower their employees as an effective first line of defense with the right training programs. This process is ongoing and should be updated quarterly.
  1. Have a trusted third party scan their IT environment – Contact our security team at SecurityServices@techdata.com to learn more about our complimentary security assessments and in-depth services that include customized security assessments using our Recon Managed Security Service. Vulnerability assessments can help identify existing threats and potential risks in your customers’ network. Internal scans are important but can be incomplete, may not cover necessary industry regulations and rely on the people who designed the security to perform the tests. An experienced and certified security services provider can perform a scan, help evaluate risks based on the potential business impact and prioritize remediation efforts to help secure your customers’ network.

Have questions about enterprise risk management, malware or want to further discuss these six tips? Contact securityservices@techdata.com or at 800-237-8931, ext. 73246 and speak to one of Tech Data’s security experts today.

Tags: Cybersecurity, malware, Risk Management, security

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