Modern devices have changed our lives in the past decade. Smartphones, tablets, phablets, … they all help companies to develop better services and strategies, increasing productivity and end user satisfaction. However, this also creates new risks as the data of enterprises are exposed to ransomware, hacking and virus threats. Almost all of the data breaches are caused by end users. Still, most enterprises are not aware they have the solution within reach.
Not so long ago, employees used laptops that were provided by the company they work for. Those computers were closely monitored by the IT department. Today, they also have their own mobile devices to check emails or to use tools and applications. Similarly with the rise of freelancers also using their own equipment, it means multiple devices are connected to each other and to the infrastructure of enterprises. But what if a smartphone or tablet gets stolen, lost or hacked?
Ransomware could take your company down
Imagine one of your employees receives an infected email or link on such a device. As soon as he or she opens it, the ransomware starts working and the device gets infected. At first, nothing will happen as the infection wants to go undetected. During this time, the virus will develop scripts to obtain more privileges and begin an attack at a company level. Suddenly hackers could access important information and data, or even worse … they could take the operations of the entire organisation down.
Many companies have become victims of ransomware, so it would be a costly mistake to think it couldn’t happen to you. Some recent examples are Travelex, Picanol and the University of Maastricht. Within these organisations all activity stopped while they were trying to retrieve access to their data. Some companies decide to pay the fee demanded by the attacker, which usually is a very large sum of money. But even if you don’t pay, ransomware will cause a lot of financial damage.
On average, it takes around 17 days of downtime before the system of an organisation is back in business. Each one of these days means 24 hours without revenue for the company, or about 408 hours during the entire period of 17 days. Suppose a downtime of one hour costs € 100.000,-. Imagine then the cost of being down for weeks? Every hour the organisation loses the average amount of € 100.000,-. 100.000 x 408 hours = € 40.800.000,-. Or maybe even more important than direct money loss: you risk losing your reputation and the trust of your customers.
Without access to email systems, files and data, some companies are even forced to send their employees home. By making them technically ‘unemployed’, they temporarily stop working for their employer and they will receive some unemployment benefits until the issue is resolved.
Machine learning and Artificial intelligence
Most enterprises are already investing large sums of money in protecting against viruses and ransomware. On top of this, they try to communicate to end users the dangers of clicking on emails and links from unknown sources. Still, hackers are becoming more inventive too and it gets more and more difficult to detect malicious emails. So what can you do if you truly want to defend your data, environment and end users against cybercrime?
The answer lies in modern technologies such as Machine learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). These systems are capable of detecting threats before they can cause harm. And the solution is even closer than you think. In fact, many Windows 10 clients are not even aware they already use it. Windows Defender sounds like Microsoft’s anti-virus protection, but it’s much more than that. It contains a smart agent that helps companies detect threats and remediate them before causing any damage.
How does it work? Companies with Microsoft 365 licenses can simply start using Windows Defender, but they can also activate Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection. The AI platform will analyse all emails to track potential malware. Over 700 million devices are connected to this platform. When both threat programs are configured, they will support end users in identifying threats, protecting data and devices, and repairing the problem by isolating the infected device. The first device will still be struck, but the enterprise itself will remain secure.
A simple and inexpensive solution, already available to any user of Windows 10, could save your enterprise a fortune. As soon as a threat is detected, it won’t be able to do any more harm to those 700 million devices using Microsoft’s AI and Machine Learning platform.