According to a report by Channel News Asia, during the first part of 2020 COVID-19 related cyberattacks increased over 100x.

Phishing, ransomware, data breaches, and other cyber threats became worse last year, spurred on by the disruption of the pandemic. 

In 2021, many small businesses in Singapore and the rest of the world are looking to increase their IT security to protect against increased threats and prepare for the biggest attack trends. When planning your technology focus, there are several areas to consider when it comes to cybersecurity and avoiding the costly consequences that come with a security incident. The average cost of a data breach for a Singapore company is approximately S$1.7 million. 

A report on shifting cybersecurity priorities and budgets by McKinsey showed that there were several IT security areas where small, mid-sized, and larger businesses were planning to increase spending this year. Here are the areas you should be focusing your cybersecurity efforts on in 2021.

Endpoint Security

The number of endpoints in a business has expanded due to mobile and IoT devices. Companies now have multiple endpoint types that are more difficult to track and secure unless they have endpoint management in place. Endpoint management apps like Microsoft Intune (part of Microsoft 365 Business Premium) make it easy to improve mobile device security, with the ability to:

  • Automatically manage patches and updates
  • Revoke or grant access to business apps
  • Remotely wipe or lock devices
  • Monitor device access to company resources

Network Security, Including Remote Teams

Business networks changed dramatically during the pandemic, with many Singapore businesses having to adjust to employees working from home. Now post-pandemic, many of them plan to keep remote teams, which means they need to ensure their extended network is secure. Another network improvement to make this year is to ensure your network can handle threats that are becoming more sophisticated. This includes fileless attacks, Zero-day attacks, and attacks that use artificial intelligence. Network security enhancements to consider include using a VPN to secure remote team connections and upgrading to a next-gen firewall with advanced threat protection.

Cloud Access Security/ Identity Management

Most businesses have now moved to the cloud, which has caused an increase in credential breaches as hackers try to gain access to valuable assets. Approximately 96% of organizations around the world are worried about their public cloud security. 71% of businesses in Singapore say they’ve experienced a cloud breach in the past year. An important part of cloud access security is identity management. This is done through things like:

  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) application
  • Enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  • Using advanced identity management based on geolocation
  • Use of more than two authentication factors, including challenge questions based on access level privileges

Managed Security Services

Another area where companies are planning a budget increase to prevent breaches and malware infections and the resulting disruptions is managed security services. Like managed IT services, this type of service involves having an IT professional handle multiple areas of your technology infrastructure. Managed security services remove the burden of cybersecurity from the business, reducing the risk of a costly incident and ensuring that multiple layers of security are automated and properly taken care of. Managed IT security from Managed IT Asia includes safeguards such as:

  • OnSite VPN Solution
  • Dedicated email Solution
  • Network Backup
  • Remote Backup
  • Disaster Recovery Solution

Messaging Security

Messaging is taking over as the way that companies communicate both internally and externally. The use of applications like WhatsApp and Slack are becoming more common because they’re instant and often more efficient than email. But they can also pose a security risk. For example, WhatsApp has been known for being used to spread viruses, spyware, and other forms of malware. Messaging security is an important cybersecurity area to look at in 2021. You want to ensure that employees are only using approved messaging apps to conduct business and that those apps have proper security protocols in place.

Web Security

Another important focus is on web security. This is for two reasons:

  1. Most phishing emails now use links to malicious sites rather than file attachments to spread malware.
  2. Employees now perform several of their tasks in browser-based cloud applications.

One big part of web security is ensuring that you have a DNS filter in place that can identify and block access to malicious phishing sites. This helps protect against “drive-by downloads” of malware. Another part of web security is ensuring employees are using approved browsers and that they are regularly updated to the latest version. This helps prevent hacker attacks that exploit unpatched browser vulnerabilities.

Get Expert Help Putting Together Your 2021 IT Security Plan

Managed IT Asia can help your small business put together an IT security plan for the new year that is affordable and keeps your network and data properly protected from multiple threats. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. Call +65 6748 8776 or reach us online.

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    MANAGED IT ASIA, we are an IT Support, IT Solutioning and Managed IT Service Provider specializing in serving Small Businesses across Asia. Call us at +65 6748 8776 and let us manage your Small Business IT today!