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By now, our inboxes, LinkedIn feeds, and websites of cybersecurity companies have all tried to tell you that Company employees are the most significant attack vector and pose the most considerable cybersecurity risk to all businesses.  Those same companies advise firms to subscribe to some online training for “all your problems will be solved.”  This advice, unfortunately, is not valid.

Since the early days of the westward expansion, fast-talking elixir salespeople have been peddling the magic potion that cures what ales you.  As with most things, complicated problems demand a complex solution.  This could not be more true when evaluating cybersecurity risks and putting together a strategy to lower those risks.

It’s true; cybersecurity awareness training does affect reducing employee-related cyber attacks.  However, it’s only a piece of a larger strategy to improving a companies security posture.

Black Bottle IT advises clients to address six critical areas to tangibly lower cybersecurity risk. 


  1. Security Awareness Training – Online training, monthly newsletters, in-person training.  These are all great ways to educate employees on the day-to-day threats. Education material needs to be delivered with more regularity, we recommend monthly.
  2. Email Security – Email is the most common way employees get duped into giving credentials or cutting a check to the wrong payee.  Email security alone just isn’t enough.  A phishing AI engine that learns employee email habits can effectively flag and stop the excellent attackers from posing as an executive and social engineering an incident.
  3. Security Operation Center — Having suspicious activity analyzed in almost real-time to detect unauthorized network access is critical to stopping/limiting a cyberattack before any real sensitive data is stolen. Some companies may have cyber tools to alert, but having the expertise to analyze alerts, determine if the threat is credible, and quickly determine the next steps is crucial to respond to an actual attack.
  4. Ransomware Protection — Stopping a ransomware attack before it encrypts meaningful amounts of data is the best peace of mind a company could ask for.  Bad actors will attack, employees will click on threatening emails, and ransomware will try to encrypt critical data. 
  5. Solid Back-Up Strategy – In the unfortunate event of ransomware attacks, having off-site, isolated back-ups is the only way to restore business operations and prevent a costly crypto payment from resuming operations.
  6. Incident Response Planning — Knowing the who, what, where, when a cyber-attack is suspected saves valuable time when a cyber threat is supposed. Performing annual “fire drills” to simulate actions taken during a cyber attack will ensure a quick response and could potentially limit the damage during an actual incident.

Ok, so there are seven recommendations, but this one is outside our expertise. We’ve seen enough offer this advice:


7. Cyber Insurance — having a good cyber insurance policy can further reduce the financial risk of a cyber attack. Most companies with some kind of cyber insurance have no idea if the coverage is correct for their level of risk.  Look to FifthWall Solutions for more information about access to the right insurance policy for your size of business and industry. 

About the Author:

This blog was written by John Hensberger, Managing Partner of Black Bottle IT.  Earlier in his career, John was also part of a company that experienced a cybersecurity breach. That experience fueled his passion for assisting other companies with their cybersecurity needs to mitigate their risk. As Technology Executive and Cybersecurity Advisor, John was recognized as the Pittsburgh CIO of the Year, 2014.  Connect with John here.