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How Long Does It Take to Detect a Cyberattack?

Josh Moore
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Every minute counts in the event that your business is threatened by a cyberattack.

How you proactively prepare, could determine how much of a chance a hacker may have to break through your defenses. That’s why preparing now could save your business from big headaches and could limit the potential for damage.

Cyberattacks come in all shapes and formats. And they have targeted organizations of all sizes – both big and small. Often, small- to medium-sized businesses mistakenly feel that hackers will only target large organizations. In fact, studies have shown that small businesses are more frequent targets of cyberattacks than their larger counterparts.

Let’s take a closer look at the details behind how long it could take to detect a cyberattack.

RELATED: Top 10 List of Cybersecurity Facts for 2022

Cybersecurity Risk Factors to Consider

The two main cybersecurity risk factors to consider, are:

  • Where are you vulnerable to cyberthreats?
  • If a hacker is able to capitalize on a vulnerability, what is the risk to your business?

Many small businesses downplay their actual risk with misguided thinking that their business would not be on someone’s radar to target them.

If a cyberattack does occur, you could have your files encrypted and backups deleted. If this happens, the hacker may ask you to pay a ransom to unlock your data. In addition, data recovery may incur costly consultant fees and while your data is locked, your business could be losing revenue at a rapid pace. If your data is locked for an extended length of time, you could even be putting your organization at risk to go out of business.

Consider working with a Technology Management Provider to conduct a vulnerability scan, identify gaps in your current cybersecurity structure and rank their risk. A Technology Management Provider will review the entry points into your internal network and search for vulnerabilities such as: available ports, unsecured guest wi-fi, insufficient email security and inadequate spam filtering.

RELATED: Take the Free Online Cybersecurity Risk Assessment

Detection Signs of a Cyberattack

There are basically two ways to detect a cyberattack. The right way is to install tools to detect malware and proactively protect your business. The wrong way is discovering a cyberattack by reacting to a message (such as a ransom note) from a hacker. If your business is forced into reactionary mode, this means that the hacker has executed their attack and released their payload into your environment. This is also referred to as a zero-day attack. Reacting to a hacker could potentially be devastating and costly to your business.

What you’ll proactively need are a couple of tools that are very important for the protection of your business’ data.

First is an Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solution, which will look for odd behaviors in your data.

You’ll also want to implement a Managed Detection and Response (MDR) solution to provide 24/7 monitoring of your networks, endpoints, and cloud environments to help you detect, respond and recover from cyberattacks. MDR monitors logged data across your networked infrastructure – searching for any indication of a threat presence.

Both MDR and EDR search for malicious actors on your network. They proactively watch your network and alert both you and your security partner to ensure that the malicious actors are discovered and kept out or kicked out of your system before they do more damage.

These are critical tools that can significantly reduce the amount of time of a hacker is inside your network.

What to Do in the Event of a Cyberattack

It is crucial for every organization to have a cybersecurity incident response plan in place.

This plan should be used to document such information as:

  • Root cause
  • Entrance point
  • What data was exfiltrated
  • Extent of exposure during the attack
  • How you will get the hacker out of your system
  • How you will restore your files
  • Communication protocols for internal and external stakeholder audiences
  • An incident recap to document lessons learned and prevent similar future incidents

Once a hacker has entered through a compromised device and onto your main network, their main goal will be to move slowly through your system, while watching your internal data and to stay undetected.

This phase of undetected watching and waiting is called dwell time. If not detected by the business, many industry reports have indicated that a hacker could dwell within your network for months, gathering information, before revealing themselves. During this time they could be searching for information, such as:

  • Bank account details (to access your finances).
  • Supplier invoice patterns (to learn how to mimic your suppliers and send imposter emails).
  • The configuration of your backups (to understand how they could be encrypted).

This is why you need to be prepared, so you can identify hackers before they swipe credit card data, financial information or more!  

Cost of a Cyberattack

If your network isn’t secure, you could face costly consequences. The dwell time of a hacker is often related to the size of a business and the complexity of their infrastructure. If you are not proactively monitoring for a potential cyberattack, your network might be viewed as a gold mine of data where the hacker easily obtains what is needed to execute an attack.

Don’t give hackers a chance, be prepared in advance.

How to Proactively Prepare your Defenses Against a Cyberattack

A Technology Management Provider can give you better peace-of-mind by becoming your partner to provide a layered, proactive approach to cybersecurity. They are your best defense against hackers.

Elevity is here to help you be prepared and proactively mitigate cybersecurity threats as a technology management provider. We have the strategy, security, solutions and support you’ll need to monitor your network around the clock and keep your business well-protected.

Want to learn more about how Elevity’s holistic approach to provide a right-sized plan with a tailored strategy, robust security, best-in-class solutions and unrivaled support could work for your business? Contact Elevity to discuss your cybersecurity needs.

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