A security breach is the last thing that organizations want to deal with during the holiday season. Unfortunately, threat actors profit from companies being closed or understaffed. Hence, companies should better secure themselves because of the increased risk during the holidays.
While employees are getting ready for some downtime during the holidays, hackers are getting ready for their busy season. In fact, threat actors are most active over the holiday season.
Several factors contribute to an uptick in malicious during around the holidays, including:
- Because IT professionals take PTO just like other employees do, businesses are understaffed in comparison to a typical work week.
- After a hectic year, people often feel burnt out in December, making some loosen up on their usually vigilant cybersecurity stance.
- Additionally, employees are in a hurry to complete tasks before the new year, which might result in mistakes.
- In order to fill some positions, businesses often bring in contractors who may not be aware of the company’s standards and processes.
These factors come together to form the ideal environment for hackers to carry out successful cyber-attacks.
What steps should businesses take right away to get ready for the holiday season, given the threat landscape? Here are a few strategies they can adopt right away to strengthen their defenses:
Stop Major Security Stack Changes
Vulnerabilities can be caused by IT updates that may not have been thoroughly tested. While it may be tempting to push things through quickly in order to start the new year off well, doing so poses serious security risks because vulnerable systems might expose security gaps that threat actors can readily exploit. If possible, businesses must consider deferring any IT changes until the new year, when the workforce will be back, well-rested, and prepared to give testing their full attention.
Ensure Contractors Understand Company Processes and Policies
In order to fill employee shortages during the holidays, many businesses employ contractors. While this is beneficial for business, it may provide security challenges because contract or temporary employees may not be as vigilant or aware of cybersecurity processes and policies.
They probably haven’t had the same cybersecurity training as in-house employees, either. Organizations must ensure that contract workers are briefed on their security standards and given quick training on vulnerability management to mitigate risks.
Threat Intelligence is Crucial
Security requires collaboration, and businesses don’t have to go it alone. They can identify which threats pose the greatest risk to their business by using the threat intelligence services that are accessible to them.
Businesses can better plan for attacks and react more quickly if they are aware of the targets and motives of the attackers.
Businesses only need to access and utilize the research that has already been completed and made available.
Monitor Traffic Entering the SOC
It is crucial to ensure that the traffic entering the Security Operations Centre (SOC) is expected and normal. Businesses must ensure to look into any suspicious activity right away because unusual activity could indicate that a threat actor is attempting to access their network. The practice of monitoring traffic is crucial all year long, but it becomes much more crucial at this time of year when businesses often see an increase in traffic volumes. Additionally, since people are in and out of the workplace for the holidays, team communication in this area is crucial.
Secure IoT Stewardship During Holidays
This holiday season, many employees will receive gifts in the form of connected devices. While these devices have many advantages, they also pose security risks, and not just to consumers. Work devices of employees should always be kept in a secure location. This will help keep unsecured devices from compromising company networks.
Organizations must not allow threat actors to ruin the holiday spirit. Following these best practices will help businesses remain safe over the holidays, into the new year, and beyond.