In an era where cybercrime is rampant, businesses must take a proactive approach to safeguard their confidential information. In 2021 alone, over 118 million people have been affected by data breaches, and this number is expected to rise exponentially.
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the best practices for businesses to protect themselves from cyber threats.
Always have a back-up
A good backup system is one of the best ways to maintain computers’ security and protect your business’s data. Regularly backing up important files can help ensure that you don’t lose any information if a cyber incident or computer issue occurs. Here are some tips on how to effectively back up your data:
- Use multiple backup methods. Have an effective backup system by using daily incremental backups to portable devices or cloud storage, end-of-week server backups, quarterly server backups, and yearly server backups. Remember to regularly check and test whether you can restore your data from these backups.
- Use portable devices. Consider using external drives or portable devices such as USB sticks to store your data. Store the devices separately offsite, and make sure they are not connected to the computer when not in use to prevent malicious attacks.
- Utilize cloud storage solutions. Cloud storage solutions are a great way of backing up all your important information. Choose a solution that provides encryption for transferring and storing your data and multi-factor authentication for access.
- Practice safe backup habits. Make it a habit to regularly back up your data, not just once but multiple times throughout the week or month, depending on the type of information you’re backing up. Additionally, it’s important to practice safe backup habits, such as keeping your devices away from computers when not in use and regularly testing that your data is properly backed up.
Train your employees
To protect your business from cyber threats, educating your employees about the risks and how to stay safe is essential. Training should focus on identifying phishing emails, using strong passwords, and reporting any suspicious activity immediately to the IT department.
Ensure that everyone is up-to-date with the latest threats and strategies for protection by conducting regular cybersecurity training sessions with all of your employees. Provide helpful resources such as tips for creating secure passwords, methods for spotting phishing attempts, and steps for safely sharing confidential information online.
Putting this emphasis on education and training will help create an environment of alertness so that any potential risk can be identified quickly and addressed appropriately.
Weak passwords are one of the most common entry points for cyber attackers, so using a secure password and password manager is essential to keep your business safe.
A password manager is a tool that allows you to store and manage all your passwords securely, with only one strong master password needed to access them all. Here are some tips for creating strong passwords and using a reliable password manager:
- Create strong passwords. Choose passwords that include numbers, symbols, upper-case letters, and lower-case letters. Avoid using personal information like birthdays or pet names in your passwords. Additionally, avoid using the same username/password combination for multiple accounts.
- Use a password manager. A reliable password manager will help you create and store secure passwords. Be sure to select a trustworthy provider, as they will be responsible for protecting your data.
An on-premise password manager like Passwork is an excellent option for businesses that need to store passwords on their own servers. Passwork provides the advantage of having full control over your data and features like password sharing and a secure audit log.
- Enable multi-factor authentication. Adding an extra layer of security to your accounts is easy with multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA requires two or more pieces of evidence to authenticate the user's identity, such as passwords and biometric data. Most password managers can enable MFA for all your accounts, so be sure to take advantage of this feature.
Finally, make sure you update your passwords regularly and always keep them private. Following these tips will help ensure that you are protecting your business from cyber threats.
Securing your network
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) effectively protects your business's sensitive data and prevents unauthorized access to your network. A VPN creates an encrypted connection between your device and the internet, making it more difficult for hackers or malicious actors to intercept and access confidential information. Here are some tips on how to leverage a VPN for optimal security:
- Research the best VPN providers for features that best suit the needs of your organization
- Ensure that the provider meets industry standards such as AES 256-bit encryption
- Set up two-factor authentication with users’ login credentials
- Configure the VPN for reliable and secure connections
- Monitor your network for any suspicious activity or unauthorized access attempts
- Make sure to update the VPN software with new security patches regularly
- Train users on the proper internet safety and best practices when using a VPN
- Use an antivirus program and scan all devices connected to the network for malware threats
VPNs are not only important for protecting data and preventing unauthorized access but also for maintaining user privacy. By encrypting the data sent and received over the internet, your organization can ensure that any information stays secure and confidential.
Consistent vulnerability assessments are crucial
Organizations of all sizes must remain vigilant in mitigating cyber threats — and one of the best ways to do this is by conducting regular vulnerability assessments. This will help identify any potential weaknesses or vulnerabilities that could be used by malicious actors to gain access to your system, allowing you to patch and address them before they become a problem.
Here are a few steps to help get you started:
Develop an assessment plan for your organization
Before starting, it’s important to understand the scope and objectives of the vulnerability assessment. Define the overall goals and objectives before identifying any assets or systems that should be included in the assessment.
Identify and document threats
Once you have developed a plan, it’s time to begin searching for potential vulnerabilities within your system. You can use various open-source intelligence techniques, such as scanning public databases and researching known security issues with similar software versions or operating systems that are present in your system.
Create a testing environment
After potential threats have been identified and documented, you should create a safe testing environment to validate the vulnerability assessment results. Doing so will help ensure that any tests conducted do not adversely affect production systems.
Run automated scans
Following the creation of your secure test environment, it’s time to run automated scans on your organization's target systems or assets. This should include both internal and external scanning tools, such as port scanners, web application scanners, or configuration management tools, depending on the scope of the assessment.
Analyze scan results
Once the automated scans have been completed, it’s time to analyze the results and identify any potential issues or vulnerabilities. Assess any weaknesses present in order to prioritize and address them more effectively.
Develop a remediation plan
After identifying potential security issues, you should develop a remediation plan based on the risk level of each issue. This could include patching vulnerable systems, implementing new security measures, or restricting access to certain areas of your system, depending on the severity of the threat.
By conducting regular vulnerability assessments, organizations can stay ahead of cyber threats and ensure their systems remain secure.
Protecting your business from cyber threats should be a top priority for any organization. With the increasing prevalence of cybercrime and data breaches, implementing effective cybersecurity practices is more important than ever.
By regularly backing up important files, training employees on identifying and reporting potential threats, using a secure password manager, utilizing a VPN, and conducting consistent vulnerability assessments, businesses can significantly reduce their risk of falling victim to cyber-attacks.