Find out what IT Security is and how your Bellevue business can benefit from them.Bellevue holds its own place in the Pacific-Northwest's bustling tech scene. As per Washington Technology, high-tech jobs constitute 24% of the city’s workforce. Home to titans like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google, the Eastside tech market is set to rival the might of Silicon Valley.

However, technology is a double-edged sword, easy to weaponize and abuse. As a rising number of Bellevue businesses embrace new tech, the threat of cybercrime looms large in the distance. Worse still, no organization is too small for an attack.

Navigating the modern digital landscape without an IT security plan is dangerous to say the least. You’ll be putting yourself at risk of exposure, essentially inviting criminals to have a field day with your business data.

First, let’s walk through the basics of cybercrime, the many different attacks you’re vulnerable to, and the impact it can have on your enterprise.

Cybercrime 101: An Introduction

Cybercrime is the bane of the internet: an illegal activity that either uses or targets a computer network for malicious purposes. Cybercriminals attack businesses to steal money, credentials, and data, among other things. In some instances, hackers sabotage operations and handcuff the enterprise until their demands are met.

The cost of global cybercrime has increased nearly 50% in the last two years, as per a survey from McAfee. And, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2020, cybercrime is going to be the second-largest threat to international commerce over the next decade. Needless to say, it’s not going away anytime soon.

The Different Types of Cyberattacks Against Businesses 

To protect yourself against cybercrime, you must first understand it. Exploring the various types of cyberattacks against businesses can help you build better defenses.

A few categories of cybercrime include:

Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks 

Simply put, a Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack renders a network unavailable to its intended users. Most often, the attacker sends several meaningless service requests to the targeted server, blowing up its traffic. The server is unable to process the illegitimate requests, gets overwhelmed, and denies service to the actual customers.

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a variant of the DoS, where multiple machines work together to devastate one target. DDoS attacks are more powerful than the DoS, and increasingly difficult to pinpoint.

Social Engineering

Social engineering attacks use psychological manipulation to trick unsuspecting employees into breaking security protocol. Generally, social engineering uses emails or other modes of communication to incite fear or urgency in the targets, leading them to divulge sensitive information or click malicious links without a second thought.

The most common social engineering attacks made on companies are:

  • Phishing Scams: The attackers pose as a large, well-established company to send you emails with fake websites/forms, as an attempt to steal your personal information.
  • Spear Phishing: In a spear-phishing attack, a similar email is likely to come from someone you know personally, usually a person in a position of authority.

The tricky part is, social engineering preys on human error. Bellevue IT security can only get you so far, but until your employees learn to treat suspicious emails with caution, you’ll be vulnerable to attack.


Ransomware is a part of the malware family, a vicious software program that encrypts your files and causes you to lose access to them. The hacker then proceeds to demand a ransom in exchange for the data. Their main objective is not to corrupt your files or disrupt your workflow, but to extort money from you.

For example, in April 2020, Cognizant and its customers were hit by the Maze ransomware, a strike that took nearly $70 million to contain.

Ransomware is, by far, one of the most dangerous types of cybercrime. For starters, it directly impacts your revenue. Plus, once the cybercriminals get their hands on your data, no IT security software system will be able to restore it. You’ll have to accept the hackers’ demands to regain your files.

Insider Threats 

Believe it or not, your employees (current and former) are as much a threat to your IT security as a cybercriminal.

Insider threats originate within the organization. In other words, anyone who has access to your network may be a potential threat. Because internal threats are often unintentional, they are difficult to detect and extremely expensive to fix.

Based on the motivations of the perpetrator, insider threats may be broken down into multiple types.

  • Negligent insiders may not intend to leave the door open for cybercriminals. But their unhealthy security practices, isolated errors, and blatant disregard for safety can certainly add fuel to the fire.
  • Collusive insiders act alongside malicious external threat actors to compromise your IT security. Although this isn’t as common as insider negligence, an alarming number of cybercriminals are leveraging the dark web to hire employees as allies.
  • Malicious insiders leak sensitive information for financial rewards or other personal gains. For example, employees seeking a second source of income may sell you out to a competitor.

The Impact of Cybercrime 

Cybercrime isn’t child’s play. Even a single, successful attack can have far-reaching consequences for your business, such as:

  • Significant financial disruption.
  • Loss of productivity.
  • Long-term damages, including loss of reputation
  • Potential lawsuits from affected customers.
  • Loss of sensitive business information.

How to Fortify Your Network Against Cyberthreats 

The fact that cybercrime is a professional industry should tell you a lot about how prolific it is. Given the rate at which technology is advancing, chances are that perpetrators will grow sharper talons in the future.

There will always be an opportunistic hacker trying to sink their teeth into your network’s weak spots. However, robust IT security protocols can work wonders to throw off the average criminal. All you need to do is understand your specific business needs and come up with a plan that covers all the bases.

Here are a few steps you can take to strengthen your IT security.

Limit Employee Access 

You may think giving your employees free rein over your data will help establish a transparent work culture. But in reality, it’ll only leave you exposed to an internal threat.

When you limit access to important business data, there's a reduced risk of human error. This is why it’s better for employees to only have access to the systems and information they require to do their jobs.

Also, if you don’t want a resentful ex-employee to wreak havoc with sensitive information, take protective action immediately after they resign. Be sure to delete their passwords/profiles and collect their identity badges/keycards to block off any possible entry points into your network.

Install and Update Firewalls 

Firewalls are critical to enterprise-grade IT security systems. Not only do they shield your tech network from unnecessary traffic, but they also prevent malicious software from infiltrating your systems through the internet. In other words, a firewall filters data from specific locations, applications, or ports, letting only what’s relevant and secure pass through.

However, firewalls need regular updating to function at full capacity. This can easily eat into your work time. Moreover, unless you’re a specialist, you may not know how to go about this process.

Instead of diving off the deep end, you can team up with a Bellevue IT security company providing firewall services. These managed IT firms will configure and manage your firewall, installing security updates as and when required.

Establish Response Plans 

Imagine this: you’ve been hit by a cyberattack, but have no idea how to respond to it. Chaos ensues while you scramble to wrap your head around the situation. Meanwhile, the criminal walks away with all your data.

Preparing for a cyber breach is as important as preventing it. It’s significantly easier to respond to an IT security incident when you have a response plan in place. The quicker and more efficiently you react to a cyberattack, the better chances you have at containing it.

Here are a few general steps you can follow to draw up an effective cyberattack reaction policy.

  • List all the potential cybercrimes your business may be exposed to.
  • Under each attack, jot down the first responses you’ll need to take to mitigate the situation.
  • Elaborate on each process. Be careful to not miss out on any detail. It’s important to ensure that the plan is crystal-clear to anyone who enacts it.
  • Once your draft is ready, you can get it reviewed by a Bellevue IT security expert. They’ll be able to detect and point out any loopholes.
  • Discuss the plan with your internal employees. Provide for any additional resources they may need to play their role to perfection.
  • Store the plan in a secure location, especially far away from vicious prying eyes with an agenda against you.

Seek Help from an IT Security Consultant 

Truth be told, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to cybersecurity. Each business has its own needs and interests. What works for one company may not work for you.

In this regard, amateur IT security planning can land you in a world of trouble. Unless you’re sure about what you’re doing, you are more than likely to leave gaping holes in your security strategy.

This is why you’re better off hiring an IT firm offering network security consulting services. Their cybersecurity experts will help you identify your weaknesses and create an IT security roadmap that fortifies your network from all sides.

Wrap Up

Criminals often set their eyes upon the low-hanging fruit. This is why organizations with razor-sharp defense protocols are far less likely to fall prey to cybercrime. As long as you assess your vulnerabilities, establish appropriate security measures, and prepare for impending attacks, you have very little to fear.

What is IT security? How does your business benefit from it? Schedule an appointment with us and we’ll find out together!