Overall, global spending on cybersecurity is increasing. Because of that increase, incidents, including reported data breaches, are declining. However, with that being said, the recorded amount of individual records being exposed is increasing. This data proves that cybersecurity is just as important as ever, if not more. Here are several practices businesses and employees alike can take to minimize the risk to hackers, viruses and other malicious programs.
The importance of creating security policies is paramount for any business. This will not only further reduce cyber hacking risks to the business, but it can protect employees individually as well. These policies can range from documenting to which personnel is allowed priority access, to a simple checklist of what to do at the end of each day, like locking the computer down and cleaning one’s desktop of information.
Properly documented policies and procedures can help create a more unified understanding between all employees, which will reduce the number of holes that can arise with variation in cybersecurity practices.
It is important to note, however, that security needs can vary drastically from department to department. This is why you may want to account for some flexibility in policies or, instead create a single, centralized approach with each respective department creating their own procedures around that central policy.
Company policies, like a BYOD (bring your own device) strategy for mobile phones or laptops or a program for locking/logging out of devices, are all important to consider when creating or updating your security documents for employees.
In addition to proper documentation, educating employees on specific best practices is an important step in mitigating risk as much as possible. In addition to simply teaching these practices during onboarding, you may want to consider implementing break-out sessions as a form of continued education.
Some topics you may want to consider for sessions might include safe password practices, examples of real-life security breaches, how to avoid scams like phishing and spoofing. Prompting employee feedback on what security processes would complement their workflow, and it is a great way to make sure the business security systems are as efficient as possible.
Equally as important as education, is proper risk assessment and management. A proper risk analysis can help highlight more possible problem-areas than many think. Frequently, businesses don’t, “take a step back” to realize what could be valuable information.
Continuing to assess the current state of their cybersecurity system is the only way to ensure the proper improvement of the system. Often, there are more holes than businesses realize. Bad passwords, outdated software, and failing to encrypt data are problems that can be easily fixed but are usually glaring vulnerabilities hackers look for.
Ensuring that only the proper personnel are able to access sensitive information is a basic way to prevent data breaches; however, this can be done in a myriad of ways. Multi-factor authentication is one of the ways to further prevent valuable documents from getting in the hands of those with malicious intent.
MFA (multi-factor authentication) requires several different credentials rather than just a username or password, making it much more secure than traditional logins. A few examples include answering security questions and typing a number or code that was texted to you. Nowadays, with such a phone-driven culture, it would be foolish to not add this to your arsenal of tactics against cyber wrong-doings.
As we move further into the future, biometric identification is steadily becoming the most secure choice. With the increasing adoption and innovation of things like facial recognition and fingerprint scanners, many are quickly getting used to using their highly unique features as passwords instead. As technology gets better at recognizing these “biological signs,” other kinds of authentication are quickly becoming less effective, and therefore, more obsolete.
That is to say, passwords probably aren’t going anywhere any time soon, but biometric identification means that passwords won’t be the only thing you need to access sensitive information.
Even if all your businesses’ software is completely up to date, you may still be missing some essential types of protection. In addition to the general external firewall included in most browsers, an internal firewall or antivirus software for all employees is also needed for other Internet-based threats.
They also separate internal, private networks from the public Internet acting as a “wall.” Anti-malware should also be downloaded to further protect yourself and your company from things like spyware, ransomware, viruses, worms and trojan horses.
Many don’t realize it, but anything with the ability to connect to the Internet can be an access point to hackers. That’s why these vulnerabilities should be heavily looked after and guarded. Printers, phones, security alarms, and even modern doorbells can all now connect to the Internet, making devices like these a target for cybercriminals.
Something important to keep in mind about these devices is to change the hard-coded passwords on them after purchasing. These passwords can easily be found out, and so changing them to be more secure is crucial.
It is important to understand that threats are constantly evolving. That is why you must adapt as well. Be sure to constantly update your software and hardware, policies, and educational programs. You should also make sure your equipment is protected by the most modern software to combat these threats as best you can. All these efforts and practices combined should prove extremely useful to fight off all the threats that exist to your business’s current cybersecurity system.