With data breaches becoming a regular occurrence, business owners must have a solid understanding of cybersecurity terminology. Being able to speak the same language as your cybersecurity team will give you a sense of confidence when discussing vulnerabilities and solutions.
Authentication is a cybersecurity jargon that refers to verifying users’ identity on an information system. It is an essential step in determining access privileges but is not a substitute for authorization. Authentication confirms an individual’s identity but does not determine what tasks they can perform or what files they can access. The most common way of authentication is through a username and password combination. Although this method is effective, it could be more foolproof. Passwords can be guessed, and people often reuse passwords across different applications, making it easier for attackers to access multiple accounts. To prevent this from happening, it is recommended to use a password manager, which is an excellent way to maintain strong and unique passwords for each account. Cybersecurity is rapidly evolving, with new terminology being introduced almost daily. While keeping up with the latest business cybersecurity terms can be challenging, business owners must stay current to protect their businesses from threats. Cybersecurity is a broad term encompassing all processes and technologies to protect a company’s information, computer networks, physical facilities, and personnel from cyber attacks. This includes everything from firewalls to antivirus software. In addition to protecting data from cyberattacks, it helps businesses comply with laws and regulations regarding protecting personal information.
Encryption is a method of scrambling data so that only authorized users or systems can read it. When properly deployed, encryption protects sensitive information such as passwords and financial records from cyber threats like hackers and malware attacks. It’s a common technique for protecting data in storage or transit, but it can also protect applications and data at rest on end devices such as computers or servers. It transforms plain text data into scrambled cipher text only readable with a decryption key. There are two types of encryption: symmetric and asymmetric. Symmetric encryption uses a single key that performs both functions (encrypts and decrypts), while asymmetric encryption utilizes pairs of keys. One encrypts, and the other decrypts. Cryptographic strength refers to the difficulty of attacking a given encryption algorithm. While there is a continuum of cryptographic strengths, an algorithm that is considered to be “cryptographically strong” is complicated for unauthorized entities to break. Access control is a set of rules that defines who can access what and how they can access it. It’s essential to business cyber security because it protects data from unauthorized access and helps businesses meet regulatory compliance standards. It’s often a requirement in regulated industries such as healthcare with HIPAA and credit/debit card transactions with PCI-DSS.
The software or hardware that monitors a network for malicious activity and policy breaches. An IDS can be an application installed on endpoints or a dedicated hardware device connected to the network. IDSs use either signature-based or anomaly detection to detect threats. Signature-based IDSs analyze traffic in the network for known attack patterns. The system compares movement within the network to a database of standard hacking techniques. If the pattern is found, an alert is sent. This technique is effective, but it can create false positives. Anomaly detection is a better option. It creates a baseline profile of normal behavior for your network’s users, hosts, and systems. It then identifies any deviations from that norm. This can reduce the number of false positives, but it also requires a more extended training period. Hackers who breach a system to steal data or cause other types of damage. These hackers can be motivated by various factors, including greed, political agendas, or simply boredom—a famous Black Hat tactic. Distributed denial of service attacks involve multiple hackers bombarding a server with malicious traffic to overwhelm its resources and knock it offline. This allows the hackers to sneak in undetected. This type of attack can be mitigated by spoofing, which involves faking IP addresses and DNS records to make it appear that the attacks are coming from a trustworthy source. Another trick is fragmentation, which breaks up packets into smaller chunks to obscure the attack signature.
Network security uses hardware and software systems to safeguard a business’s computer network and information using physical and virtual tools. It’s a complex field constantly changing as attackers find new ways to infiltrate corporate networks. The most common business cyber security tools include firewalls, antivirus software, and endpoint monitoring. Each provides a layer of protection that prevents attacks from inside or outside the organization. Firewalls act like digital gatekeepers by filtering incoming and outgoing data to block malicious traffic from entering and exiting a network. Antivirus and anti-malware software detect and remove malware from network devices, including laptops, computers, tablets, smartphones, and servers. Network security also includes tools like SIEM analysis, which is used to identify threats in real-time. Network security also includes access control, which identifies the level of privilege users have on the network. It also includes threat control technologies that begin with a firewall, load balancer, and IDS/IPS to counter known attacks and continue with sandboxing and NTA/NDR to detect anomalies that may indicate an attack. Network security also includes tools that track network infrastructure changes, preventing data loss or operational disruptions from unnoticed or poorly executed upgrades or configurations. Business owners should entrust their cybersecurity needs to a reputable managed IT service provider and build continuous testing, monitoring, and improvement into their security stacks.