Are your cyber defenses up to the challenge?

2015 was a particularly good year for hackers. Big data breaches and cyberattacks made the news quite frequently —and the victims were well-known companies like Anthem, CVS, Walgreens, Experian, Scottrade, and V-Tech.

According to a recent study of business risk managers released by The Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company of Canada (HSB BI&I), 90 percent of Canadian businesses experienced at least one hacking incident last year.

Cyber experts don’t think 2016 will be much better, and all businesses are vulnerable. As cybercriminals become more and more sophisticated—and more and more business is being conducted online and in the cloud—companies of all sizes need to adopt more aggressive strategies to safeguard against Internet piracy. And your company is no exception.

Steps you can take to shield your network.

In a previous blog, we discussed the limitations of antivirus technology in preventing attacks by sophisticated custom malware. In addition to advanced malware protection, there are other ways to help protect your IT infrastructure.

A firewall is a network security system, either hardware- or software-based, that controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on a set of rules. It protects your company against attackers by shielding your computers and other devices on the network from malicious or unnecessary network traffic and prevents malicious software from accessing your network. Firewalls can be configured to block data from certain locations or applications while allowing relevant and necessary data through.

There are many different types and brands of firewalls. But if you’re looking for one with maximum security potential, you can’t do better than the Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services. Designed for today’s new era of sophisticated cyber threats, it offers advanced malware protection and integrated threat defense before, during and after an attack.

A firewall that gives you foresight.

While many security solutions struggle with security blind spots, Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services is centrally managed by the Cisco FireSIGHT Management Center. This means you get comprehensive visibility into suspicious web traffic, not to mention control over all activity within your network, which includes all users, devices and communications among virtual machines as well as network vulnerability, threats, client-side applications, files and websites. The Cisco FireSIGHT Management Center also gives you the ability to track and determine the root cause of an infection, so it can be remediated faster.

By consolidating multiple security layers in a single platform, Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services reduces the need to buy multiple security solutions from a variety of different vendors—and the manpower required to manage security functions. And by correlating threats, it makes it easier to detect and prioritize them based on their risk. It’s not only effective but also cost-effective.

Security appliances offer another form of protection.

Network security appliances combine multiple capabilities and functions to protect your IT infrastructure, providing a unified way of managing potential threats to your data and other business assets.

Take the Cisco Web Security Appliance (WSA), which has been configured to offer a complete and comprehensive web security solution. It offers advanced threat defense, advanced malware protection, application visibility and control, insightful reporting, and secure mobility—all in one.

The Cisco WSA draws on the resources of Cisco Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group, the world’s leading intelligence organization. The Talos team analyzes incoming data from Cisco, including billions of web requests and emails, and millions of malware samples and network intrusions, analyzing threats at every point in your network (including users’ computers and mobile devices, virtual systems, web and email) to protect your company against known and emerging threats.

What’s more, you get complete control over how your users access the Internet. By identifying hundreds of applications and micro-applications, the appliance allows your network administrator to create highly granular policies. You can determine which specific features and applications (like chat, messaging, video and audio) should be permitted, restricted or blocked entirely. By setting the requirements, you no longer need to block access to entire websites.

Bolster your defenses.

With new security tools by Cisco and other providers, there’s no reason why you can’t take additional precautions to protect your network infrastructure from cybercrime. If you’re ready to take the next step, let’s talk. In this era of sophisticated hackers, we can offer some added peace of mind.