In this Digital Age, few can argue that the virtual world has now become an integral part of our everyday routine. From searching to socialising, from selling to shopping, the internet has not only transformed our personal lives, it has also revolutionised the way we do business...

Kathryn Baarda, Marketing Manager

However, with change comes opportunity, and opportunity in the hands of faceless, spaceless criminals could have the power to potentially bring UK businesses to their knees.

Ken Allan, Global Information Security leader at Ernst and Young, highlights a growing fear of a “cyber fatality”, where the scale of the breach is so damaging a company fails to recover. Not only can your organisation be faced with crippling financial costs, but the damage to your reputation and brand is often irreparable.

Last month, retail giant, Carphone Warehouse, raised the alarm when it emerged that the personal details of up to 2.4 million customers may have been stolen in a sophisticated cyberattack. The encrypted credit card information of up to 90,000 customers may also have been compromised. However, evidence indicates that the infiltration occurred weeks earlier. Controversy over the delay in the announcement has left loyal customers feeling angry and defenseless at the thought of their personal data being circulated on the black market.

With the festive season just around the corner, the question of how quick Carphone Warehouse can recover will be a matter of time.

Nevertheless, only a year after Sony’s systems were hacked, this is another wake-up call for today’s business that it is no longer a matter of ‘if’ you will become a victim of cybercrime, but ‘when’.

So, what can you do to protect your business from an attack?

Ultimately, safeguarding the integrity of your data is paramount to ensure the stability, reputation and growth of your organisation. There are a number of Data Loss Protection technologies on the market, which can help secure your company from becoming a sitting duck in the UK’s cyberspace.

Barracuda’s Web Application Firewall (WAF) acts as a proxy server that sits in front of your applications to protect them from hacking, unauthorised access and ensuring you have PCI compliance – without breaking the bank. WAF monitors both inbound and outbound traffic and protects against malicious attacks, so even if the hacker manages to access the server, extracting data from the Web Application Firewall has been deemed impossible.

A customer comments, “The Web App Firewall made it easy for me to see where these attacks were coming from and thus apply the appropriate mechanisms in place to block those entire networks or subnets”.

In addition, software vendor Symantec releases an annual Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) summarising what the past year has looked like in terms of threats and vulnerabilities, the effect they had as well as where they see emerging trends in the next 12 months. One of the most concerning facts of 2014 was that 5 out of 6 large companies were targeted by advanced attackers, a 40% increase over the year before.

Symantec appreciates that advanced persistent threats cannot be stopped by antivirus alone. Their Endpoint Protection, therefore, brings comprehensive security performance and smarter management across both physical and virtual environments and allows customers to pro-actively identify ‘at-risk’ files and stop zero day threats, without affecting performance.

Furthermore, a recent survey conducted by Sophos found that nearly 50% of respondents had no idea if their IT security offered a suitable defense against cybercrime. This didn’t come as a surprise to many security experts but reinforced the need for Endpoint Solutions similar to Sophos’s Endpoint Protection, which allows customers to manage all their comput-ers on the network without having to update each one separately.

James Vyvyan, regional vice president of Sophos UK and Ireland, said: “With cybercrime at an all-time high…it’s more important than ever that organisations maximise the resources available to them”.

So the message is clear. Awareness and ensuring you have a clear security strategy in place that allows for a growing online, mobile workforce is the first step to battling the UK’s pending cyber crisis.

For more information about how you can protect your organisation from cyber-attacks please contact COMPAREX, or call +44 87 00 50 01 25.

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