Your network security resolutions for 2017

Your network security resolutions for 2017
December 5, 2016  |  BY

Andy Rooney once famously (or infamously, depending on your perspective) said: “Life is like a roll of toilet paper – the more you use it, the quicker it goes.” That’s what 2016 feels like. Is it really almost over?

But here we are, 2017 is right around the corner. It’s time for organizations to put together their security New Year’s resolutions. Network safety is more important than ever, as this year saw perhaps the toughest period for data breaches and other cyber crime.

Why? From our view, it’s because too many top-ranking executives haven’t taken security as seriously as they should. Just consider the major sites, like Twitter, that were essentially shut down by malicious traffic and Dyn attacks. If you run a company, no matter the size, this is simply unacceptable.

2017 must be the year when executives make cyber security priority #1. More than sales, more than product development, more than anything. Because poor security will eventually cost jobs, profits and the literal survival of the company.

Here’s what IT departments, and company leaders, should focus on for the coming year.

Prepare for IoT hacks
The Internet of Things (IoT) keeps snowballing, getting bigger and more prominent in homes and offices. But anything that grows in use also grows in being vulnerable to hackers.

We don’t like making glum predictions, but network security attacks via IoT will surely increase in 2017.

Through devices like security cameras and laptops, cyber thieves can cause damage because most users aren’t aware that passwords should be changed. This makes it a snap for hackers to spread malware into networks through the IoT.

Increased threats mean increased insurance rates
Just like with your car, home and health, the more the perceived risk for the insurance carrier, the higher the premium.

With the likelihood that we’ll see more and more cyber attacks – and in turn a demand for cyber insurance – insurance companies will want to see how you’ve decreased risk. Companies who can’t prove they’ve done so will see higher rates, or may even see their policies revoked. Start creating a set of best security practices now.

Focus on automation
With ever-increasing security compliance challenges, IT departments have to be able to make quick adjustments. The problem is that many employees – even highly skilled ones – aren’t trained to do so.

On the bright side, we’re seeing more technology that will automatically perform software updates, meaning compliance can occur instantly, which means real-time detection of attempted cyber attacks. Along with purchasing the automation technology, get your staff trained on how to use it ASAP.

Protect your people
In many cases, hackers aren’t interested in stealing for profit. Cyber crime is often motivated by warped social or political causes, when hackers release potentially embarrassing photos, documents, and email. And the victims aren’t the average office worker, but the public faces of the company such as executives and board members.

Security leaders should also place a priority on protecting this data. Although 2017 may be a record-breaking year for cyber crime, when company leaders make security a priority, they’ll go a long way toward reducing the amount of damage, as well as preventing breaches in the first place.