Each year, industry experts release lists of potential threats for the upcoming year. Usually, these lists are issued closer to the New Year, but as cyber crimes become more prolific (and more costly to businesses), experts are releasing their analysis even earlier, in hopes that IT professionals will have time to prepare. Here are the top security threats your tech support team needs to expect heading into 2015.
Cyber Attacks on Personal and Business Reputation
One of the most alarming emerging security threats for 2015 is reputation sabotage. Activists and hackers are increasingly launching cyber attacks on executives, business owners, and companies in order to tarnish the reputations of those who believe differently or hold different viewpoints. Such attacks were once limited to the most sensitive industries — such as lumber, fur, chemicals, and those who test drugs or cosmetics on animals. Now, virtually all industries are a target for some idealistic group that wants their business to stop what they’re doing.
IT departments will need to be vigilant in monitoring social networks, blogs, and other user-generated media and be proactive in correcting false information, as well as issuing positive content relative to the person or business under attack. For some, having negative content taken down can prove impossible.
The Dangers of BYOC and BYOD
BYOC (bring your own cloud) and BYOD (bring your own device) policies are a fact of life – everyone insists on work email on their iPhone. But these policies are opening the doors to cyber attacks via mobile devices. Many companies are developing apps so their workers can access the system remotely, which is excellent for getting business done, but dangerous in terms of security.
Often, users simply don’t realize how vulnerable their mobile devices are, nor understand how to protect sensitive company or personal information on those devices. With BYOC and BYOD policies, IT often has little or no control over those devices. So, it is important to define and implement device management policies to restrict which devices can “get on the network,” control what they can do on the network, and remotely wipe them if they get lost or stolen.
Experts expect security threats via mobile devices to become more prevalent over the next year. However, there are numerous anti-malware solutions that protect these devices as well as PCs and networked computers. The key is scheduling regular updates so that the malware protection is up-to-date for the most current threats.
Shortage of Qualified IT Personnel
Is there, or isn’t there, a looming shortage of IT personnel that could threaten companies’ ability to hire and maintain an adequate tech support staff? Industry experts are split on the issue. What is clear is that shortages in specialty IT services — such as big data analysis, large system development, and high-level cyber security — is probable. Out of the huge numbers of IT graduates coming out of colleges, few are trained and adequately experienced with some critical technical specialties.
Many companies are backing up their internal tech support staff with the services of IT management companies, which can help support the staff by monitoring for security breaches, offering more secure email solutions, and putting more hands on deck during peak times when systems and tech support are swamped and systems are most vulnerable to attack.
If your tech support needs a helping hand, contact us. IT Freedom offers solutions that compliment your internal IT department, making their job easier and your systems more secure. Don’t let the threats of 2015 catch you off guard.
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