There are numerous cyber threats out there that put businesses of all types and sizes at risk.
While cyber threats will always be with us, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of your business getting hit and potentially suffering major losses in terms of revenue and customer good will.
Here are seven tips that can help protect your business from current threats as well as any new threats that might be coming down the pike in the future:
1 – Assume you’re going to be attacked.
Don’t assume your company is “not important enough” for hackers to target. The size of your company nor how much important data you have doesn’t affect whether or not you’ll be attacked.
If hackers think you’ve got data (client email addresses, passwords, phone numbers, etc.) or money, you are a target. Add to this that recent ransomware outbreaks have demonstrated that you don’t have to be specifically targeted to fall victim.
Assess your current assets and threats, carry out threat modeling exercises, and implement feasible precautions to safeguard what’s possible.
2 – Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and strong passwords.
Make use that you use strong passwords for all your accounts and implement measures that force your employees to do so also.
Strong passwords are those that are long, random, and include special characters, numbers, lower case letters, and uppercase letters. A password manager can make it easier to keep track of all your login credentials. Make sure your employees are alert to the dangers of sharing or reusing passwords.
Activate 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) on all accounts offering the feature to control the risks of password reuse and weak password selection.
3 – Perform frequent data backups.
Deploying an automated frequent data backup schedule will ensure you don’t lose vital data in the event of an attack. Harnham Staffing discuss the transformative nature of data science.
Mass data loss is common in ransomware attacks and those types of attacks are increasing in occurrence. Perform regular data backups and store the backups in multiple offline locations where an infected live system will not able to reach it.
Carry out regular testing to ensure the backups remain inaccessible by online systems.
Moreover, test that data backups are being completed correctly on a regular basis, and that your data restoration procedures function.
4 – Use anti-malware defensive technologies.
Implementing all relevant security policies and establishing strong defenses throughout your company will reduce the chances of infection and will prevent malware from being easily spread over your networks.
Email security products and internet firewalls can automatically block messages from known malicious senders and remove attachments containing known malicious file types.
Meanwhile, browser security add-on, such as script blockers and ad blockers, can stop the downloading and execution of ransomware scripts from phishing links, web drive-bys, and malvertising.
5 – Handle removable media with care.
Infected removal media, including flash drives and external hard drives, can spread malware very easily. Therefore, you need policies in place to limit access to removable media devices.
You should also perform a malware scan on every device before connecting it to a computer on your company’s network.
On systems that contain sensitive data, it’s advisable to disable access to removable media completely.
6 – Enable user account monitoring and limit user privileges.
Employees should only have access to the essential data they need to carry out their jobs. Limit how many user accounts are given admin privileges and monitor activity on all accounts.
Keep a database of all accounts each employee has access to. When an employee leaves your company, remove all access and permissions for their accounts.
7 – Invest in employee IT security training and check their awareness of cyber threats.
Educate your employees so they’re aware of computer security risks they may face at work and on their home computers.
Make sure they understand what makes them a valuable target for hackers and how they can quickly identify any suspicious activity on their devices and accounts.
Ensure they understand what types of information should not be shared on social media or with third parties, and explain phishing and social engineering concepts.
Demonstrate how easily malware can spread, the importance of strong password security, and why they should avoid connecting to pubic WiFi networks in restaurants and hotels, and on public transport.
Use a range of methods to assess your employee’s cybersecurity awareness to ensure your company training is effective.