10 Ways to Protect Your SMB Against Cyberwarfare

Pertinent global events and recent cyberwarfare have increased the fear of cyber-crime for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), irrespective of organization size and industry. By taking the right steps now, you can protect your business from a severe and costly cyber incident.   

As a minimum defence, your business should follow these 10 proactive steps to protect your SMB against cyberwarfare: 

1. Train Your Staff

The most common way cyber criminals get access to your network is through your employees. Hackers will send fraudulent emails impersonating someone in your organisation or known and common suppliers. They often seem legitimate to an untrained eye and it’s easy to fall for the traps which is why ongoing training is vital to maintain awareness. Gone are the days when you could spot the emails from the unknown foreign relative who left you his vast wealth, today’s phishing emails are sophisticated and often access systems in the background as soon as you open the links or attachments. 

2. Use a Passphrase Instead of a Complex Password

For many systems, passwords are the sole form of authentication. Poor password complexity, including insufficient length or the inclusion of commonly used words, may allow an attacker to guess the password and gain unauthorised access to the system. Generally, the more complex the password, the more difficult it is for an attacker to guess.  However, remembering a complex password is difficult.  Instead encourage users to use a passphrase instead of a password.  A Phase phrase consisting of 3-4 words which is easy to remember and a lot harder to hack (check out this short guide we have put together to find out what makes a strong password).

3. Enable 2/Multi-factor Authentication (2FA/MFA)

2FA (or MFA) can be viewed as one of the quickest yet most effective forms of cyber security. By adding a layer of security to your log-in, you are adding an additional security layer in between you and a potential attacker. For easy installation we recommend using the Microsoft Authenticator app where possible which is available for free on the app store. 

microsoft authenticator
4. Use Endpoint Protection

Endpoint security software protects workstations and servers and scan everything that happens on these endpoints. Ensure that you choose a corporate endpoint detection and response (EDR) software and not just a common antivirus software. It is easy to opt for a free or cheap version but when it comes to endpoint protection it is important to choose a corporate EDR which can centrally push out security policies to all corporate workstations and servers. 

5. Backup Your Data

Many companies have backups in the event of a corrupt database or a physical disaster, but often these backups are inadequate to recover from a cyber incident. In the event of a cyber attack you need to have access to offline backups which malicious actors cannot encrypt. Always make sure you regularly test your incident response plan including the recovery of back up data! 

6. Keep Your Systems Updated

An essential part of cyber security, particularly during cyberwarfare, is regular patching of software to ensure that it is always on the latest version (known as ‘patch’). Attackers will be relentlessly searching for outdated software that they can exploit to gain entry and by regular patching of your systems (to fix any security vulnerabilities) you can reduce the risk of unauthorised access dramatically. Automated software ensures that this is done in the background and without delay. 

7. Follow 'Least Privilege' Principles

‘Least privilege’ principles and policies are best practice for role-base access control. In its most basic form, least privilege ensures that employees have only access to data and systems which they need to use to fulfil their role, including ‘user’ and IT ‘admin’ accounts. Ask “does this person need access to this”? If the answer is no, they don’t get access. ‘Least privilege’ makes it harder for a cyber-criminal to gain access to data as only specific staff will have access rights to specific data. 

8. Ensure Visibility of All Lateral Dataflows

By ensuring the visibility of all lateral dataflows in your organisation (rather than having them working in an unseen environment), incoming threats become much easier to defend against. This better visibility enhances control over your data because you are able to identify, encrypt and secure GDPR sensitive information. 

9. Test Your Incident Response Strategy for Cyberwarfare

Practice makes perfect. You can never be truly prepared for an attack if you haven’t run through the steps of what this could look like for your business. By having an incident response team on-call in case of an attack and a contingency plan (including offline backups) in place for data recovery, you can be certain that if disaster strikes, you will be in safe hands. 

10. Zero Trust Security

Zero trust is a key concept in cyber security. By assuming everything, whether it is inside or outside of a network, is suspicious until it is authorised, companies ensure that everything accessing and using their network needs to be verified. Staff can’t connect new devices or install software without approval to ensure nothing malicious is uploaded to the network. By requiring user authentication to all systems and by closing off all unused ports in a firewall, companies ensure that there’s no ‘open door’ for malicious actors to gain access from the outside or inside the network. You should also ensure that you keep your ‘guest’ network separate from the corporate network to prevent malicious actors from ‘jumping’ across. 

If you have found this list useful, we would love to know! Or feel free to share this list with your friends and colleagues to help keep their data safe online. 

If you require assistance with any of the issues raised in this article, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our cyber experts today. 

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kurt SCHRAUWEN

Director

Kurt Schrauwen is a Director of the Riela Group of companies which includes Riela Yachts, Riela Cyber and Riela Tech. 

Kurt brings more than 20 years of leadership experience having been an early part of the global success of Microgaming in becoming a market leader. Kurt was responsible for the commercial, contractual, and technical sales for Microgaming and with this experience will complement the company’s growth strategy.

Kurt is passionate about business optimisation and prides himself in having an intrapreneurial outlook to maximise staff potential, reduce inefficiencies as well as identifying and maturing revenue growth opportunities.

Email: kurt@riela-group.com

Telephone: +44 07826396008

Matthew Roberts

Group Head of Sales

As the Head of Group Sales at the Riela family of companies, Matthew leads the company’s sales strategy, execution, and growth.

Matthew has a successful record building trusted client relationship and delivering upon set expectations. An accomplished sales leader, he delivers a sales process that provides clients with the information and support they need to make the right decisions for their organisations and their constituents.

Matthew has significant experience within the maritime industry having previously worked across various sectors including insurance, security, satellite communications and managed IT. Matthew’s most recent experience encompasses almost 5 years spent with the leading satellite communications and managed IT provider in the maritime industry, focusing on their superyacht clientele.

Email: matthew@riela-group.com

Telephone: +44 7425 314973

Peter Astell Burt

Director

Peter is an experienced technology consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the IT and cyber security industry.  Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), IT Strategy, Start-ups, Regulations, and Online Gaming. Strong consulting professional with a DPhil focused in Natural Sciences from ChristChurch, Oxford.

ROBERT TOBIN

Riela Group Managing Director

Robert Tobin is the Managing Director of the Riela Group of Companies and is responsible in overseeing our business operations, our people and driving excellence in all we do.

Rob brings over 25 years’ of successful leadership and entrepreneurial experience across a range of industries including Family Office, corporate services, construction engineering, Superyachts, cyber security and information technology development to our Group, and to our customers.

In the past 15 years Rob has gained a prominent reputation within the Superyacht industry for his passion, integrity, innovation and achievements to date.

“Being part of an awesome, capable and forward thinking team that have a shared passion for Superyachts, people and the environment is the highlight of my career and puts a smile on my face and a spring in my step everyday”.

Email: rob@riela-group.com

Telephone: +44 1624605650

Christian Goelz Riela Cyber

christian goelz

Director

Christian is involved across the Riela family of companies with particular attention to the technology businesses, Cyber and Tech.

Christian gained a postgraduate Master in Finance degree at the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland and completed his MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Before joining us, Christian worked for six years at Argosy Capital, an Isle of Man-based private equity and venture capital business focusing on early-stage growth businesses. At Argosy, he focused on managing investment companies, research and financial analysis and served as a director on several boards.

Dr Joseph Ikhalia

Joseph Ikhalia

Cyber Security Engineer, Risk and Threat Management Lead

Joseph is a Cyber Security Engineer and Risk lead in the security operations centre team. Joseph is responsible for internal audit and cyber risk management, vulnerability assessment, threat hunting and penetration testing to provide effective oversight of internal and client risk postures.

Joseph brings 8 years’ experience in risk & cybersecurity research, focusing on web-based technologies, security awareness innovation, malware threats, reverse engineering and systems audit.

With a PhD in Computer Science and a penchant for security innovation, Joseph specialises in threat detection using an avalanche of industry tools, techniques and methodologies to efficiently mitigate known and emerging threats facing our high valued clients.

SAÎD

Cyber Security Engineer & Incident Response Lead

Saîd is a Cyber Engineer & Incident Response Lead in the Security Operations Centre team.  Saîd brings his vast wealth of technical knowledge of security technologies to analyse and respond to security threats.  After 13 years experience in Cybersecurity, focusing on Identity & Access Management, PKI, Incident Response and SIEM, Saîd is instrumental in helping formulate our strategic approach.

Saîd has a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering and specializes in Information Security with certifications in CEH, CCSK, and Splunk.

Carey Cooper maritime security expert

Carey Cooper

Cyber Security Engineer & Security Operations Lead

Carey is the Cyber Security Operations team lead at the Riela Group of Companies.

He has a wealth of infrastructure and cyber security experience across the medical, financial, retail, and telecom sectors.  In addition he has a strong entrepreneurial spirit which is an asset in bridging the divide between technical and business.

Carey also holds numerous certifications in Microsoft, Cisco, Linux and the Cyber Security Disciplines.  He has a passion for anything related to technology.

Alexandria halsall

Marketing Executive

As a Marketing Executive, Alex is responsible for all marketing duties spanning the Riela Group.

Alex joined the Riela Group in August 2020, shortly after graduating with a Psychology degree from Nottingham Trent University.

With past work experience in content marketing, event management and web design, Alex is able to apply her creative and analytical skills into the Riela strategy.

Email: alex@riela-group.com

Telephone: +44 1624 640555

Linette joseph

Cyber Intern

Linette Joseph is Riela Cyber’s cyber intern. Linette supports Riela Cyber’s Security Operations Team (SOC) part-time whilst completing her A-Level studies. Linette has a keen interest in Digital Forensics and aspires to become a Cyber Security Analyst.

Linette’s interest in cyber security developed in year 12 after learning in-depth about web programming and JavaScript. This further developed Linette’s interest in the subject and sparked her curiosity and she began coding.

Through her internship with Riela Cyber Linette hopes to apply and expand her knowledge the industry and encourage other young women into cyber careers in the future.

Email: linette.joseph@rielacsc.com

Marc Dorey

Infrastructure & Managed Services Lead

Marc is our Group’s Infrastructure and Managed Services lead with over 18 years’ experience in delivering infrastructure projects across multiple industry verticals and international jurisdictions.  From projects in Aerospace and Engineering through to Banking and Insurance, from Europe, China, Africa and Australia.

This experience is matched with a varied list of certifications from leading industry vendors such as Hp, Cisco, Microsoft, Ruckus, CompTIA and more.  As a qualified technical trainer Marc is comfortably able to take complicated technical concepts and deliver them in simplistic terms to key decision makers and end users alike.

Most of Marc’s experience has been gained working for managed service providers, both large and niche and as such is able to take real world experience and blend it with industry standards to help align our service delivery with our clients values and processes.

Josh Kingett

Technical Sales & Support

Josh is a Cyber Security Engineer specialising in Technical Sales and Support. Josh builds trust into each client relationship by working closely with business functions to deliver professionally tailored solutions for our clients from sales through to production and after care.

Having spent 4 years as an Officer Cadet in the British Army, Josh has had a great opportunity to develop his interpersonal and management skills to the highest standard possible. Josh is an avid public speaker and presents material regularly across different industries through seminars and online hosted events.

With an extensive competitive background in eSports and eGaming, both as a sponsored player and coach, Josh has been at the forefront of evolving technology, security and mitigation. It is this sort of experience that enables Josh to help facilitate the growth of Riela Cyber, alongside a highly qualified team of Cyber Security professionals.

Email: josh@riela-tech.com

Luke dawood

Infrastructure Engineer

Luke is an Infrastructure Engineer for the Riela Group with over 7 years of experience providing infrastructure support and solutions.

He currently holds his BSc in Computer Science, Microsoft Azure Administrator, Comptia A+, and Comptia N+ qualifications.

Most of his experience has been gained by working for Managed Service Providers that provide full IT support and solutions to companies ranging from small to large enterprises.

He is extremely passionate about technology and excellent customer service delivery, ensuring he is always kept up to date with the latest technologies and providing the best solutions to clients.

Andrew Clucas

Network Engineer

Andy is a qualified Network Engineer with in-depth knowledge of architecting, implementing and supporting networking solutions in the SMB, Enterprise and Service Provider environments.

He has over 20 years of experience working across multiple vendor operating systems, including Cisco, Juniper, Linux and Microsoft, and has also been responsible for implementing a variety of large scale network services deployments, taking projects from design to rollout and support.

Andy also has experience of deploying and migrating a range of virtualisation technologies including VMWare, Hyper-V and KVM based systems.

Murat Guner

Infrastructure Engineer

Murat Guner joined the Riela Group in the Summer of 2021 as an Infrastructure Engineer.

Murat began his career in Turkey as a computer teacher for primary and secondary schools before migrating his skills into IT infrastructure. After honing his IT experiences throughout a colourful career path, Murat gained numerous qualifications which he is now excited to apply to the management of our Riela Tech infrastructure.

Paul Cocker

Service Delivery Coordinator

Paul Cocker joined the Riela Group in late 2021, after spending just under 20 years with his previous employer.

Paul is responsible for the Riela Tech service levels, working on both the dispatch function and SLA management. Paul carries out a variety of duties across the Network Operations Centre and works closely across the wider team to deliver professionally tailored solutions for our Riela Tech clients.

Tim Bliss

Director

Tim Bliss, Managing Director of Riela Tech since the company foundation in 2015 and Director of Riela Cyber, brings over 20 years’ of successful leadership experience across a range of industries including finance and banking, software development, and manufacturing, as well as cyber security and information technology. Prior to forming the company he led the technology for Manx Financial Group PLC, where he was instrumental in business systems transformation.

“It is our hugely capable team of experts that drives our business – it is fantastic and rewarding to be able to use technology, intelligence, and great customer service to help make our clients’ business and staff progressively more efficient resilient and secure”

Email: tim@riela-tech.com

Phone: +44 7624 469677