A- A+

The Role of Modern Technology in Strengthening Cybersecurity Defenses in DSM

Small Businesses and Cybersecurity

June 30, 2023

The rise of the digital landscape has offered many advantages to businesses in Greater Des Moines (DSM). However, it’s also important to recognize that there are significant threats that go along with this. Issues such as ransomware and data breaches are increasingly common, and companies must take steps to prevent the disruption these elements cause.

The good news is that continued technological developments can offer practical solutions. DSM businesses are able to adopt some advanced tools in their fight against cyber criminals. It’s worth taking a moment to explore how these can make a difference.

Addressing Ransomware

In recent years, local businesses have experienced significant problems from ransomware attacks. It’s important to recognize that it’s not just high-profile targets, such as medical facilities, that cybercriminals are interested in. Small businesses are common victims of ransomware attacks, in which companies find their systems held hostage until a bounty is paid. It has, therefore, become essential for DSM businesses to adopt advanced tech tools to handle this threat.

Artificial intelligence (AI) driven threat detection systems are among the rising range of tools now. These software platforms analyze huge amounts of data related to company networks, industry activities and wider cybersecurity threats. Machine learning algorithms use this data to identify network behavior that is consistent with attacks. Many platforms also automatically quarantine such viruses. This means businesses can respond swiftly and effectively to ransomware attacks in real-time, rather than dealing with the aftermath.

Mitigating Data Breaches

Data breaches are problematic for both organizations and consumers. Stolen data can cause companies to experience financial losses. The public may be at risk of having their sensitive information put to nefarious use. In January 2023, the Des Moines public school system had to contact 6,700 people due to a potential data breach. Importantly, it took steps to bolster its security measures to prevent similar issues in the future. They stated that “the district remains fully committed to maintaining the privacy of personal information and continuously evaluates and modifies practices to enhance data protection.”

Tech tools can play a key role in helping businesses minimize the potential for data breaches. This should include adopting solid encryption protocols for the data being stored and shared. Software platforms can encrypt data stored on hard drives, meaning that even if thieves could gain the data, they cannot interpret it without a passcode.

Enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) tools on all business-related accounts is also effective against unauthorized data access. In essence, this process requires an additional form of identification — alongside the usual password — before a user can log in to an account. Usually, this takes the form of a single-use code sent to the registered user’s phone. Without this additional ID, criminals find it more difficult to steal data.

Underpinning Tech with Policy

Technology can certainly play a vital role in strengthening cyber defenses. However, these are not always effective unless there are strong policies underpinning the use of tools and handling of data. Many DSM businesses recognize how important a strong information security policy is to both maintain the efficacy of their efforts and reassure customers. Both the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines and Des Moines Area Community College make their policies available on their websites to increase transparency and communicate commitment.

But what makes an effective information security policy? First, it sets out clear goals for the policy and how it is intended to impact the company’s relationship with data. It should also identify who is accountable for data protection actions in the organization in specific scenarios.

If the data has various forms of sensitivity, the policy often classifies these and outlines the tech and other measures used to limit access. A good information security policy is also thorough, considering all the ways in which data could be handled, used, stored and stolen, providing guidance related to each.

It’s also important to remember that data security tech, threats, and methods are constantly evolving. Therefore, businesses must commit to regularly reviewing the information security policy and making relevant updates.

While businesses are facing increasing cybersecurity attacks, technology can help address some of the prevalent issues. AI-driven threat detection software can predict, spot and neutralize ransomware before it causes disruption. Encryption and MFA are also useful in mitigating data breaches. When these elements are underpinned by strong information security protocols, companies can better navigate the threats of cybercrime.

However, it’s also important to understand that cybercriminals can be creative and sophisticated in their approaches. It’s important for businesses to collaborate with other local enterprises and cybersecurity experts to understand the latest threats. Doing so can enable them to adopt the most relevant tools to counter such issues.

Looking for tools to help grow your startup or small business? Visit the Small Business Resources Hub to find the information you need.

Sam Bowman

Sam Bowman writes about people, tech, wellness and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.