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How to fight back against cyber threats to your business

With the new year, new threats are hanging over your company’s IT system.

Tony cartolaro

Tony Cartolaro, Vice President of Berks County by Weidenhammer Hammer Tech Division, says companies will need to continue to be vigilant of bad actors who wish to disrupt their digital footprint, or worse.

The Reading Eagle submitted a series of questions to Cartolaro, who has over 25 years of experience in technology leadership, on how businesses can tackle cyber threats:

Q: What are the cyber threats for 2022?

A: Over the past few years, we’ve seen tremendous progress not only in the number of cyber threats, but also in the “quality” of those threats. Not only are these so-called bad actors attacking more organizations and the public in an attempt to access our private data and information, but they do so with an ever-improving methodology. The technology they use, the methods and the attacks themselves are becoming more and more advanced and sophisticated. So what do I see in 2022? Sad to say, but it’s more or less the same. All why not? It works for them. Look at any source of cyber threat statistics and you will see that their efforts are paying off.

Additionally, attackers don’t just target large corporations, they target small businesses, family businesses, schools, colleges, hospitals, and doctor’s offices. They target everyone.

Q: What common mistakes do businesses make with their systems?

A: Inaction – honestly, taking any reasonable action is a step in the right direction. Doing nothing at all, that’s what I see most of the time. Yes, most companies buy basic cybersecurity devices like firewalls etc. But often they make the mistake of thinking they are safe. “I bought a firewall, so it’s okay, right? The correct answer is no. It’s not that simple anymore.

As I said, these bad actors are getting more and more sophisticated in their attempts to gain access to systems. They do this by bypassing basic security measures that most organizations take by “bypassing them”. The most popular way to get around all of this core network security technology is through the humans who operate these systems. Employees of organizations are often the root cause of the most successful cyberattacks. Most of the time without knowing it, of course. They get an email from someone they think works in the IT field, with a link telling them they need to download something or go to a site to check something, and that computer slams down. is infected. Once infected, malicious actors gain access to a computer on the network, inside the firewall, from which they can launch other attackers to gain more and more access until they get what they want.

Q: What steps can business owners take to protect themselves?

A: There is a term in the cybersecurity world known as “defense in depth”. This means that you apply cybersecurity measures to ensure optimal threat mitigation at every layer. This will allow business owners to make strategic investments in security products and services on specific areas of their technology infrastructure and get the most out of those investments without over-buying or under-buying those products or services or overload their IT operations teams with more and more ‘tips’ to use, monitor and deploy. Think of defense in depth like the layers of an onion – you start at the outermost edge of your business network and work your way inside. Elements of this plan may include more advanced firewall technologies, endpoint detection and response tools, traffic monitoring capabilities, and multi-factor authentication requirements.

Finally, to address the human element of cybersecurity, one of the most important elements of any cybersecurity plan is employee / user awareness training. These training programs help your employees spot malicious activity and report it before it becomes a problem. This can significantly help reduce your risk. These programs are not only effective, but they are also very economical.

Q: What’s the best way for business owners to stay on top of threats?

A: As a business owner, the best way to stay on top of cyber threats is to take them seriously first. If you make it a priority for your organization, so will your staff. This will allow your IT team and vendors to help you stay on top of what’s going on in the industry and feel empowered to bring it to your attention. Sometimes I see business owners take a more dismissive approach to cybersecurity and see it as a “waste of time and money.” This then sets the tone for the organization and it becomes a low priority, leaving them even more vulnerable.

Start making an effort to say, “we have to take this seriously.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll buy and activate every security product that you and your IT people can get your hands on, but it will force your teams to think and plan in a more security-conscious way.

Q: Would you like to add something?

A: Finally, if you think your team needs help, get it. IT partners today can provide security-related services to business owners, as well as managed IT services and hosting services. These types of services have become much more efficient and affordable in recent years. You might be surprised at how little it costs to be a more cybersecurity conscious organization.

I will also add that more and more business owners are also asked about their cybersecurity practices by their customers. I regularly engage with clients to help them create a formal cybersecurity program for their business, not only to help them be more secure, but also to help them be more “marketable” to their respective clients and prospects. . By showing your customers during the sales cycle that you take cybersecurity seriously, you help them feel more comfortable with this new relationship. This helps build the confidence needed to build strong and lasting business relationships.




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