Too Many Cyber Security Alerts, Too Little Qualified Staff

Too Many Cyber Security Alerts, Too Little Qualified StaffThink the cyber security incident response talent gap is being blown out of proportion? Not so, at least according to a recent survey by Enterprise Strategy Group, which revealed that a whopping 98 percent of IT security professionals consider incident response to be a significant challenge. Furthermore, 71 percent say it’s become increasingly difficult to keep up with over the past two years.

With ongoing advances in technology, it might seem somewhat paradoxical that IT departments are finding it harder than ever to keep their organizations secure. The reason lies in the fact that the volume and complexity of attacks is also rapidly increasing and improving coupled, of course, with the lack of personnel that is qualified to handle these types of incoming threats. 46 percent of survey respondents admit that keeping up with the volume of threat intelligence is incredibly difficult. It’s simply impossible to investigate every single alert, which leaves the door – no matter how narrow – open for possible breach.

Another 91 percent of survey respondents stated that their cyber security incident response efforts are hindered by the massive time and resources being wasted on manual processes. The good news is there is a viable solution. That is adopting automation as a central component of the incident response strategy. In fact, 97 percent of the IT pros surveyed have either already begun automating at least a portion of their IR, or plan to do so sometime within the next 18 months.

With automation, cyber security incident response teams have the ability to investigate every single incoming alert without having to manually analyze and prioritize. This ensures that no time is wasted on false positives while legitimate threats sneak by undetected.  More and more organizations are jumping on the automation bandwagon because it affords so many tangible and intangible benefits, from enhanced security to reduction in errors to cost savings and so much more.

The idea is to integrate automation tools in with existing monitoring systems and applications to create a much more fortified defense. In essence, automation serves as a force multiplier, enhancing and strengthening the existing infrastructure to make it more impenetrable. All of this can be accomplished without the need to bring in additional personnel, thereby solving the skills gap dilemma. And because automation eliminates most if not all of the manual cyber security incident response processes, existing staff is freed up to apply their expertise to more complex and mission-critical tasks and projects.

If the challenges revealed in the referenced survey echo the struggles your IT department is dealing with, the solution is clear. Automation is the key.

Don’t waste another moment putting your organization at greater risk. Fortify your cyber security incident response strategy today. Start your free 30 day trial of eyeShare today.

How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes

Making the Case for Workflow Automation

Making the Case for Workflow AutomationThe rate of accuracy and level of efficiency with which organizations operate can have a direct impact on profitability, sustainability and overall success. This depends greatly on smooth and cohesive workflows in every department across the entire infrastructure. Thankfully, as new and better technologies are being developed and adopted, companies are becoming more adept at creating centralized frameworks through which all processes can be managed most effectively. One such technology is workflow automation.

When a business adopts and deploys an advanced workflow automation tool, the process of workflow management can more easily adapt to the changing demands of the corporate landscape, providing key decision makers and business leaders with the control and visibility they need to facilitate efficient, productive workplace environments. Furthermore, because the available solutions continue to improve in both intuitiveness and affordability, there’s never been a better time to invest in better workflow management is now.

For those organizations that have not yet adopted workflow automation, the ability to achieve and successfully attain optimal operational efficiency is going to be significantly more challenging than those that have already begun leveraging these tools to their benefit. This is due in large part to the face that the rules surrounding workflow management are changing at a rapid rate – just about as quickly as technology is progressing. Companies that continue to take a more traditional approach to these areas will undoubtedly risk getting left behind.

One rather surprising thing to note is the role the federal government currently plays in the area of workflow management, particularly in the way of developing strategies that enhance accuracy and facilitate greater effectiveness. By all accounts, the US government has been a long-time proprietor of cloud computing deployments, and recent reports indicate that several agencies are currently working to create better systems and policies in an effort to support greater intelligence in IT oversight and investments. In other words, even Uncle Sam is on board with workflow automation.

What it most of it comes down to – public or private sector alike – is the ability to better meet and/or exceed customer demand. This includes both internal and external customers and therefore does not necessarily have to relate to one specific process or workflow, nor does it need to be associated with just one communications system. The significant and growing shift away from traditional IT toward cloud computing and other intelligent systems and applications is further strengthening and supporting the adoption of workflow automation.

In reality, workflow is comprised of such a vast system of various procedures, processes and business operations, which makes oversight and management of it all a daunting task. It also leaves the organization vulnerable to costly mistakes, inaccuracies and potential failures. Couple this with the rapidly changing landscape and increasingly complex customer demands, and the struggle becomes even more challenging.

Workflow automation is poised to become the ideal solution to these and many other business needs, covering a broad range of processes to significantly improve operational efficiency, reduce the investment of time and money and facilitate more timely and effective real-time decision-making.

Are you leveraging this powerful tool for the benefit of your organization? Don’t risk getting left behind. Start your free trial of eyeShare today and get your workflows under better control for a more competitive and profitable outlook.

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eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

10 Biggest Reasons IT Pros Love IT Process Automation

10 Biggest Reasons IT Pros Love IT Process AutomationIf you’re somehow not yet familiar, IT process automation is technology that takes the specific pain points within a business – those time-consuming, manual tasks that are sucking up valuable resources and killing productivity – and automates them to dramatically improve efficiency and service levels, cut costs, reduce mean time to resolution and so much more. Want to know the real reasons why CIOs, CTOs, CISOs, IT managers and operation support teams are embracing IT process automation?

  1. Automating the remediation of incidents and problems. Not only does this free up time and manpower, but it also significantly reduces human error associated with manual incident monitoring and management. When an alert comes in, it automatically gets addressed or assigned to the appropriate person, and it can be easily tracked from start to finish.
  1. Empowering front-line IT operators (L1 and L2) to resolve more incidents faster. Automation eliminates the need for escalation to higher level teams, freeing those more skilled employees to focus on other important mission-critical tasks while empowering lower level staff to take on more responsibilities. This also reduces turnaround time because there’s less red tape.
  1. Reducing floods of alerts from monitoring systems and event sources. Enhanced organization and management of incoming alerts results in better service levels and fewer delays for delivery of that service. Critical alerts are prioritized and assigned immediately to the appropriate party for timely resolution.
  1. Automating repetitive maintenance procedures and daily operational tasks. IT professionals possess skills that could be much better allocated elsewhere instead of processing repetitive operational tasks. Automating these tasks, such as password resets and service restarts, allows technology to do the heavy lifting, freeing up talented personnel to be able to focus on key issues that would further improve performance and service levels.
  1. Creating a consistent, repetitive process for change management. Effective change management is all about organization. IT process automation provides management with the tools they need to create comprehensive processes that can be used again and again to produce the same desired results over time.
  1. Connecting ITIL best practices with incident and problem management. The goal of any operation should be to manage workflow in a manner that is the most efficient and effective, both internally and externally. When ITIL best practices are integrated with the best practices in place for incident management, the organization as a whole becomes much more efficient, productive and therefore more profitable.
  1. Documenting and capturing incident resolution and audit trails. Staying compliant with government and other regulatory bodies remains a top priority among businesses across just about every industry. IT process automation provides the ability to consistently remain compliant and well prepared in the event of an audit.
  1. Building an up-to-date knowledge base to reduce training time and cost. Bringing new employees up to speed costs time and money. Having a comprehensive knowledge base and easy-to-implement software reduces the time spent training, improving efficiency of both existing and new employees.
  1. Integrating on-premise systems management tools and process with ITSM tools. Service management and IT process automation go hand in hand. By joining the two, your organization will be better poised for success.
  1. Establishing end-user self-service portal for better services and fulfillment requests. Advanced technology has empowered people to be able to manage many day to day tasks on their own. ITPA leverages this concept, providing self-service options for the end-user which simultaneously improves customer service and operational efficiency.

Ready to jump on the IT process automation bandwagon? What are you waiting for? Get started with your free trial today and start reaping all of these amazing benefits for your own organization!

5 Holiday Phishing Strategies to Watch For

5 Holiday Phishing Strategies to Watch ForThe holidays are coming, which means more targeted emails from retailers, travel providers and anyone else looking to capitalize on consumers’ increased spending over the coming weeks. Not surprisingly, this increase in email outreach is also being used as a tool for cyber-attacks. And given the more widespread adoption of remote working and BYOD policies, that means even personal attacks could place your company’s sensitive data at risk. To prevent yourself, your employees and your organization from being victimized, here are five of the most popular cyber security phishing scams to be on the lookout for.

Email Promotions

Ever hear the expression, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”? The holiday season is full of deals, specials and discounts, but not all of them will be on the up-and-up. Everyone who works for your company should know to be leery of any incoming email that seems too good to be true, or just looks suspicious in general – especially those containing links or requesting personal information.

Suspicious URLs

Phishing scams don’t only arrive via email. Often times they include a more complex scheme involving the use of phony URLs that appear to be legitimate. Unfortunately, even just visiting one of these sites could result in malware getting a foothold on your systems and applications. Be sure to educate employees about these cyber security dangers so they’re diligent about taking a closer look before they click. For instance, instruct them to hover over a hyperlink to view the actual URL before clicking.

Fake Invoices

With online ordering at an all-time high and the number of orders being placed this time of year, it can be easy for a cyber-attack to make its way into your inbox by way of a fake invoice or purchase order. Receiving an email receipt for an order you didn’t place in June would probably be enough to raise a red flag, but in December when you’ve placed dozens of orders, it might slip under the radar. If you’re not careful, clicking on a link within could end up redirecting you to a phishing page or worse – instantly installing malware.

Phony Shipping Status

Just as with fake invoice emails, hackers will often use phony shipping notifications to try and trap their unsuspecting victims. With so many online orders being placed and received, it’s not unusual for an otherwise savvy individual to end up clicking on this type of malware email without even realizing the cyber security risks behind it. For example, if you recently placed an order and it was followed shortly thereafter by an email from what appears to be UPS, you might not think twice about clicking to see the status. Again, diligence and caution are key.

Bogus Surveys

Another common tactic amongst cyber-criminals is the fake survey. These little gems end up in people’s inboxes with the promise of money or other incentives just for answering a few simple questions. It can be enough of a temptation for many who will go along, providing personal information at the end. This information can then be used to develop even more sophisticated and dangerous cyber-attacks, such as spear-phishing.

Whether these types of attacks target your individual employees or your business, either way they place the security of your sensitive data at risk. The best way to prevent these occurrences is to first educate your employees on what to watch for. Additionally, having a strong monitoring system coupled with an automated incident response strategy can ensure that even if an attack slips through the cracks, it will be thwarted as quickly and effectively as possible.

Protect your organization’s precious information and hard-earned reputation. Start your free trial of eyeShare today!

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response

5 Ways to Ensure Maximum Cyber Security with Your Remote Workforce

5 Ways to Ensure Maximum Cyber Security with Your Remote WorkforceWith technological advancements like the cloud, more and more companies across the globe are adopting a mobile work environment. Whether your firm offers the option of working from home some of the time or is entirely virtual, one of the most important things you must consider is how to maintain maximum security with those who are working remotely. Are your cyber security measures up to par? Here are five things you can do to make sure.

Educate them on proper mobile cyber security techniques.

For employees who work remotely, everywhere they go could potentially be an office. The first step toward keeping your data secure is to make sure all employees understand the importance of not working on insecure networks, such as free WiFi at the coffee shop or a home network that isn’t adequately protected. Education and ongoing reminders are key.

Use a VPN on all mobile devices.

Most companies who offer the option of working remotely utilize a VPN to protect company-issued devices. Remember, however, that your virtual team members are very likely also accessing your corporate systems via their personal phones or tablets. To prevent any potential breaches, identify a VPN application and ask employees to install it and use it on their personal devices.

Prohibit the combination of work with personal data.

Transferring sensitive data from a company-issued device to a personal one may seem harmless enough, but it leaves your organization more vulnerable to a potential cyber security attack. Make it clear to all remote workers that all work-related information absolutely must remain solely on company devices. Set ramifications and enforce them as needed.

Make sure software and plugins are up to date.

Cyber criminals are constantly looking for vulnerabilities to exploit, and outdated software as well as plugins, like Java, Adobe Flash and Acrobat Reader often provide the perfect opportunity. All remote employees should be made aware that even trusted applications, software and plugins should be updated regularly on all of their devices. Whenever possible, automatic updating can help prevent anything from slipping through the cracks.

Employ the latest in cyber security technology.

Finally, whether you have a small portion of workers who are remote or run an entire virtual organization, protecting your sensitive data starts with you. Make sure that you are utilizing all of the technology and tools available to you, including up-to-date monitoring systems and automation for incident management and response. This will provide an added level of protection and improve the chances of keeping your company information secure. It will also ensure that should an incident occur, you’ll be able to address it quickly and effectively to mitigate damages.

The ability to work virtually has broken down barriers and opened up many doors for businesses of every size to access global talent and become more competitive. Unfortunately, there are certain risks associated with these types of policies. Being proactive by implementing the above security measures should keep your remote workers and your organization safe.

Want to strengthen your cyber security strategy? Launch a free 30 day trial of eyeShare today. Click here to get started.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response

Implementing Self-Service Automation? Here’s What NOT to Do…

Implementing Self-Service Automation? Here’s What NOT to Do…Self-service automation is becoming more of the norm rather than the exception. In fact, at last check, some 56 percent of businesses have implemented or are currently working on some type of self-service initiative. And it’s not only for making your customers’ lives easier. Many organizations are realizing the benefits of providing self-service options to employees to eliminate the need for many of the common issues plaguing the help desk, such as password resets and system refreshes. If you’re thinking about jumping on the bandwagon, here are a few common mistakes you should actively avoid.

Inadequate Communication – If you want your employees to adopt and embrace self-service technology, you have to ensure that they understand its many benefits. This is particularly important for your IT team, some of whom may feel uneasy or even threatened by the thought of automated technology handling some of their tasks. Gain acceptance and buy-in by communicating how self-service options will actually make the lives and jobs of everyone easier and more efficient.

Lack of Knowledge – What types of activities can you – and more importantly – should you be transitioning over to self-service? Many otherwise savvy IT decision makers rush into self-service implementation before they truly have a good understanding of what tasks are most beneficial to automate. Take time to learn about what your IT team is bogged down by and also what areas the end-user might not only benefit from, but actually appreciate the ability to handle things on their own.

Not Choosing a Tool Carefully – Not all self-service automation tools are created equal and if you don’t carefully and thoroughly do your homework, you could end up with a less-than-ideal result. Not only does implementing a faulty tool mean more headaches for your IT department, but the frustration of everyone who has to use it will ultimately lead to disengagement, resistance and/or complete lack of adoption. Make sure the tool you choose is robust, user-friendly and versatile enough to handle both full and semi-automation needs.

Setting and Forgetting It – Like anything else in technology, self-service automation isn’t something that you can simply put in place and never think about again. Not only is it important to keep up to date from a tech standpoint, but it’s equally important to ensure that the system you have in place remains as effective as possible. Conducting regular audits of both the IT department and the end-users can help you determine whether new tasks could be automated or if existing ones could use some tweaking.

Forgetting the Intangibles – Last but not least, maintaining an environment in which self-service automation is embraced and celebrated involves regular assessment and selling of the many benefits this technology provides. When calculating ROI, don’t forget to also consider the intangible ways self-service is good for your organization, particularly how it allows IT to improve its meaningful contribution to the organization. That is a value that can and should be recognized across the board.

What could self-service automation do for your company? Why not find out today by starting your free 30 day trial of eyeShare. No obligation, just enhanced efficiency and better overall operations. Get your free copy now by clicking here!


IT Process Automation and Cloud Technology – The Dynamic Duo

IT Process Automation and Cloud Technology - The Dynamic DuoWithout question, cloud technology has delivered businesses from barely surviving to thriving by providing small to mid-sized enterprises the opportunity to compete at the same level as their largest competitors. Simply put, the cloud has torn down barriers, opened doors and facilitated the adoption of new and exciting technologies for organizations across the globe. One way that this has been accomplished is through IT process automation, which goes hand in hand with cloud technology to cut costs and improve operational efficiency.

Let’s take a closer look at how ITPA in the cloud age is changing the way companies across the world are conducting business.

Automate Repetitive Operational Tasks and Workflows. Smaller businesses were once held back because they lacked sufficient manpower to manage complex IT tasks in-house. They either wasted precious time and resources completing repetitive manual tasks that needed to be done in order for the business to continue to run smoothly, or they were forced to outsource these tasks to external providers. IT process automation streamlines these manual tasks and workflows, allowing technology to do the heavy lifting, freeing up talented IT professionals to focus on more important issues and eliminating the need to house IT elsewhere.

Incident Management. Without cloud ITPA, when a critical incident occurred within a business, it was up to those who worked within the first few levels of command to identify, address and/or escalate the issue to the appropriate party as quickly and effectively as possible. This left room for costly human error and increased the risk that incidents would take longer than necessary to correct, or worse – would get missed entirely. With the right IT process automation tool in place, notifications and escalations can be handled electronically, reducing the risk of human error and improving mean time to resolution.

Improving Customer Satisfaction with Self-Service Automation. If there’s one thing intelligent technology has taught us it’s that people love to feel empowered. When users don’t have to rely on others to handle seemingly insignificant tasks, such as password resets, not only does improve the experience for the end-user, but it makes the lives of the IT team that much easier. Now, thanks to self-service automation, instead of your IT personnel wasting precious time tackling day to day tasks for the rest of the organization, the end-users themselves will have the ability to handle many of their own needs without contacting IT. This improves morale and boosts service levels.

Automating Service Fulfillment. If there’s any area that truly benefits from IT process automation, it’s the service fulfillment process. The beauty of ITPA is that it allows businesses to completely automate entire workflows, such as those that dictate the sequence of events that occur between the service fulfillment technology and end-users. Automation takes a once tedious and complex process, simplifies and streamlines it to dramatically improve efficiency.

Enhanced Compliance. Staying compliant with the variety of external governing bodies is a necessary evil in the business world. The ability to document all of the critical data in an organized fashion and, more importantly, retrieve that data quickly and accurately in the event of an audit is invaluable. IT process automation makes documentation and information retrieval quick, easy and uniform across your entire organizational platform.

Regardless of industry or sector, automation and cloud technology are fast becoming the dynamic duo for achieving ongoing success. Leveraging this combination for your own business will provide the benefits outlined above, as well as many additional advantages that will address the specific pain points that are unique to your company.

Not on the cloud or ITPA bandwagon yet? What are you waiting for??? Start a free 30 day trial today!


4 Cyber Security Stats that Prove It’s a Necessity for ALL Businesses

4 Cyber Security Stats that Prove It’s a Necessity for ALL BusinessesWe’ve all seen the news reports of huge corporations being targeted by cyber-criminals, but what about the smaller guys? The fact is, for a number of reasons, many small to mid-sized businesses don’t really consider cyber security much of a priority. Some feel it’s just not in the budget, while others mistakenly believe that they don’t possess enough data of value to make them worth targeting. To the contrary, as one security expert pointed out, these are the very reasons some hackers prey on these lesser known companies in the first place.

Still not convinced that you need to worry about your cyber safety? Here are four compelling stats that might just change your mind.

20 percent of small to mid-sized businesses today do not have any cyber security strategy in place whatsoever. This is a pretty big deal, especially considering that 60 percent of small businesses that fall victim to a successful security breach will ultimately go out of business within just six months’ time. Of those that do have an IT security plan in place, 35 percent say it’s handled by the business owner. This is likely due to budgetary and staffing reasons, but noteworthy nonetheless.

Another eye-opening statistic is that nearly half of all small to mid-sized businesses admit that they do not provide any kind of cyber security training or education to their employees. We’ve said it many times before, but it’s worth repeating: cyber security is everybody’s responsibility. This is especially true in smaller organizations upon which a successful breach could have a much more devastating impact.

The third surprising stat is that business owners and managers listed sensitive customer data being stolen or compromised as their #1 biggest cyber security concern. Their second biggest concern is dealing with a system failure or internet outage. Things like ransomware and other similar malware programs are designed to specifically target these vulnerabilities, holding data and critical systems hostage and extorting business owners out of hefty ransom fees.

Finally, but equally important, almost half of all small to mid-sized companies do not have any type of formal cyber crisis response and recovery plan in place. The reality is, it’s virtually impossible to prevent every attack from ever occurring, even if you have the best defense strategy in place. Having a plan for how to address and remediate any successful attacks is critical to getting critical systems back up and running, mitigating damages and keeping the business afloat.

So now that you’ve got a better idea of where most small to mid-sized businesses stand on the topic of cyber security, how can you protect your company from becoming the next victim?

Use technology to your advantage. There are affordable network monitoring programs that can help identify potential threats. Additionally, employing automated technology to the incident response strategy helps alleviate the staffing shortage and budgetary restraint issues, as the tool can be ready to respond and remediate cyber-attacks at a moment’s notice, 24/7/365. Best of all, many of these tools and programs are designed to suit any budget – even small to mid-sized ones.

Additionally, all employees should be properly trained on how to spot potential dangers, what they should do in the event of an attack and who they should notify for assistance. Educating employees on things like social engineering plots and phishing scams, which have the potential to cause significant damage in the event that they are successful.

Is your small to mid-sized business adequately protected against potential cyber security incidents? Click here to start your free trial of eyeShare today.

How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes

5 Real-World Problems IT Process Automation Can Solve

By now there are very few professionals who have yet to hear about IT process automation, yet there are still plenty who remain undecided as to whether it’s worth the investment for their own organizations. In reality, the benefits of ITPA are potentially limitless, with nearly endless options in terms of what can and should be automated for enhanced efficiency, cost savings and greater competitive advantage. If you’re still not convinced that automation is right for your business, here are five real-life problems ITPA can solve.

You live in a world of silos.

Most modern enterprises feature a complex network made up of several – sometimes dozens of different systems, programs and applications. Unfortunately, when there are too many of these business silos, the environment can become cluttered and inefficient – particularly when those legacy platforms aren’t capable of communicating with each other. IT process automation can connect and consolidate these existing systems and applications, creating a more unified and therefore more efficient, effective infrastructure.

You manually create, compile and/or distribute reports.

One of the most important tasks an IT manager is responsible for is gathering and analyzing data for reporting purposes. The information tracked and knowledge gained through this helps key executives make intelligent business decisions about future operational needs. The problem is, tackling this task manually can eat up hours of time that could be much better spent on other projects. It’s tedious and it’s also prone to costly human error. Imagine what you could do (or what your team could accomplish) if this critical function could be shifted to ITPA. The possibilities are endless.

Your file transfers are a huge waste of valuable time and resources.

Every business deals with file transfers, with larger enterprises often transferring upwards of thousands of files each and every day. When these file transfers also involve manual intervention, the result is a significant waste of time and resources. With IT process automation, these file transfers can be incorporated into bigger, more complex and inclusive automated processes. For instance, a report can be generated, compressed, encrypted and transferred all without the need for any human effort. How much time could streamlining file transfers save your company?

Your onboarding and offboarding activities are time-consuming and complex.

Business growth inevitably means taking on additional staff, which involves onboarding new employees – something IT can get really bogged down with, especially in larger organizations. Likewise, whenever someone leaves the company, he or she must be quickly and completely offboarded to protect the sensitive data that belongs to the business. Not only are these two processes time consuming, but because they involve multiple departments (HR, IT, payroll, etc.), it can get pretty muddy. Now, let’s say you’ve got an ITPA tool in place. In this case, when a new employee is hired, the software can handle everything from documentation to system provisioning. Likewise, when someone leaves, the process to offboard can be triggered and carried out at the click of a button.

You have to deal with serious and complicated compliance issues.

As a company grows or expands, the number of regulations they must comply with also increases. Staying on top of these compliance issues can be a daunting task, even for the most organized and diligent business leaders. The good news is IT process automation is a dream come true, especially when it comes to working with auditors. With an ITPA tool in place, all data can be captured, documented and tracked for instant retrieval as needed. No more digging through paperwork and worrying about missing critical information. Everything is available at your fingertips.

Still on the fence about whether IT process automation is worth the investment? No problem. You can try it FREE for 30 days and experience its benefits firsthand.

Click here to begin your free trial today.

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

What is Spear-Phishing and How Can You Avoid Becoming a Victim?

What is Spear-Phishing and How Can You Avoid Becoming a Victim?There’s a lot of talk about massive viruses and other significant cyber-threats, but in reality, some of the most infamous and damaging cyber-attacks in recent history have started with just one employee innocently clicking on a spear-phishing email. These attacks are growing in number and frequency. Why? Because they work. And because traditional security strategies are not typically capable of detecting these threats, they continue to be a growing problem, particularly in the fields of finance, insurance, retail and health care.

We thought it was worth exploring more about what this type of cyber-crime entails and, more importantly, what you can do to protect your company from becoming the next victim.

What is Spear-Phishing?

The term spear-phishing is really a blanket term that encompasses any number of damaging exploits. It could be ransomware which is designed to encrypt and hold hostage the victim’s sensitive data for an extortion fee. Or, it could be malware that specifically targets a company’s financial data or customer information. In either case, the goal of most spear-phishing campaigns is to successfully obtain either personally identifiable information (PII) or network access credentials.

A spear-phishing campaign typically arrives in the form of a carefully crafted email message that is designed to appear legitimate enough to fool the recipient into opening an attachment or clicking on a link. You may be thinking that this sounds a lot like traditional phishing plots that we’ve all heard of for many years now. In reality, while the concept is the same, spear-phishing campaigns are actually much more targeted and calculating, which is why they’re generally much more dangerous.

Criminals who attack through spear-phishing carefully segment and pinpoint their victims to improve their chances of being successful in obtaining the information or data they’re after. They then create compelling and highly personalized emails that are designed to impersonate trusted senders – for instance, the IRS.  And it’s not just low-level employees who are being targeted. To the contrary, many spear-phishing campaigns are developed and designed specifically for executives – leaders with high-ranking titles such as CFO, Senior VP or Head of Finance.

And if you think these situations are isolated, you would be incorrect. Recent studies have revealed that the vast majority of organizations admit to becoming victim of at least one spear-phishing attack in 2015 alone. And these attacks aren’t without damage. In fact, the average impact of a successful spear-phishing attack is estimated to be over $1 million. Even more alarming is that some victims saw their stock prices drop by as much as 15%.

What’s the solution?

So, what can organizations do to prevent such an attack from wreaking havoc on their reputation and bottom line? One of the reasons spear-phishing is so successful is because it is difficult to detect. Emails and even phony websites are specifically designed to slip through the cracks unnoticed until it’s too late. In these instances, the best offense is a good defense.

Start by educating your employees – from the top down. Remember – cyber security is everyone’s job, especially when it comes to phishing. Make sure everyone who works at your company is aware of the dangers and knows what to look for, how to be careful and who to contact if and when a potential issue arises.

Then, fortify your protection by leveraging the advanced technology that is available to you. That means not only deploying traditional monitoring programs, but also incorporating automation into the incident management process. That way should a threat get through and a successful spear-phishing campaign gain a foothold, the appropriate remediation measures can be triggered instantly and automatically. This will help to isolate the incident and mitigate damages.

As long as there are cyber criminals stalking the business world from behind their keyboards, there will always be things like spear-phishing. By being aware of what you’re up against and taking the appropriate proactive measures to limit the amount of damage that could potentially be done, you’ll effectively keep your organization safer and the sensitive data within as secure as possible.

Ready to start strengthening your defense against these and other dangerous cyber security threats? Start your free 30 day trial of eyeShare today.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response