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Top 7 Cybersecurity Practices for Your Business

There are more than 2,200 cyberattacks each day. If your company doesn’t have robust cybersecurity practices in place, you could be the victim of one of them. Not only will your data be compromised, but you’ll also face substantial financial losses and your reputation will suffer. Fortunately, there are a few basic security measures you can take to keep your business safe from cybercrime:

1. Educate your employees

Recovering data from a ransomware attack can cost you millions. According to a report by IBM, companies spend upward of $4.35 million to recover from data breaches. But that’s not all – cybercrime costs could rise to $10.5 trillion by 2025.

You may be well aware of the importance of security for your business, but your employees may not fully understand why. To prevent unexpected expenses due to a data breach, you must educate employees on the importance of cybersecurity and the impact it can have on the company. They need to be aware that they might be targeted by cybercriminals who are eager to find a way into your company’s systems. Ultimately, it would be cheaper to pay for cybersecurity training than to spend years’ worth of revenue to recover data.

2. Update your apps and software

Developers conduct a process called application security to ensure their applications are protected from threats. However, that doesn’t mean the application will always be safe. Cybercriminals have a keen eye for vulnerabilities to exploit. Plus, they’re constantly coming up with new ways to outsmart developers in order to penetrate a user’s system.

That’s why developers often update their software: to correct flaws they may have overlooked during the development stage and to mitigate criminals’ new tactics. So, the next time your application prompts you to update, don’t skip it – using outdated software is like welcoming criminals with open arms.

3. Remember to back up your data

Criminals aim to steal your data, so be sure to back up your files in case of a breach. In that way, you won’t lose information critical to your company’s day-to-day operations. With backups in place, you’ll be able to get back to business while your cybersecurity team deals with the aftermath of the attack. Without backups, you’d have to recover your data manually and from memory.

Backed-up data should be stored in a safe location that’s not connected to your local network, such as in an external hard drive in a safety deposit box. It’s a bad idea to store backups on-site as it puts them at risk of theft and destruction due to fires, floods, and the like. Remember to create more than one backup and use cloud storage to centralize your data on secure servers.

4. Enforce the use of strong passwords

A complex password can stop cyber criminals from retrieving your company’s sensitive information, but a weak password will leave you vulnerable. That’s why you should encourage your team to put more effort into their passwords. Here are some password-creation tips to pass on to your employees:

  • Do not include your personal data such as your name, address, birthday, and phone number.
  • Passwords should be at least 16 characters long and contain a combination of numbers, symbols, and letters.
  • Do not use reuse passwords. Once someone discovers the password for one account, they can use it to access the rest of your accounts.
  • Never use standalone words. There are tools that allow criminals to run every word in the dictionary until they find a match. For example, “security1” is a weak password.
  • Change your password every few months.

5. Use two-factor authentication

Unfortunately, a good password won’t be enough to protect you, considering how clever cybercriminals have become. With the use of two-factor authentication (2FA), you can provide your accounts with an extra layer of protection. It cross-verifies a user’s identity with two methods, such as their password and a one-time passcode (OTP) sent via SMS. In that way, only the person authorized to access the account can actually use it.

Even if a cybercriminal cracks an employee’s password, if they can’t provide a second method of verification, they’ll still be locked out. It’s extremely unlikely for them to have both a person’s OTP and password.

6. Restrict access to certain data

Practicing the Principle of Least Privilege (POLP) can reduce the risk of data leaks within your company. The POLP asserts that information should only be made available to those who need them. In other words, people should only use the resources they need to carry out their roles. For example, someone in sales shouldn’t have access to the HR department’s documents as HR-related duties aren’t within their scope of work.

Through the POLP, you can secure your data and reduce the risk of exploitation. One way to control how much privilege each employee gets is through network access control (NAC). This security solution lets you segregate employees into groups and check if they meet the criteria to access specific files.

7. Connect to secure Wi-Fi

Securing your workplace’s Wi-Fi network is one of the best cybersecurity practices you can implement. If your Wi-Fi network is unsecured, criminals can use it to spy on your company’s activities, steal sensitive information, and more. To safeguard your data, you must go to great lengths to make sure your Wi-Fi network is secure. Here’s how to do that:

  • Change the default password of your router.
  • Use wireless routers with WPA3 or WPA2 encryption. If your router doesn’t have these options, consider purchasing a newer router.
  • Create a separate Wi-Fi network for non-employees.
  • Mount your router where no one can tamper with it.
  • Update your router’s firmware.

Furthermore, with the advent of remote work, it’s important for your employees to use secured personal networks. If your employee’s security is compromised, it won’t be long before cybercriminals will infiltrate your company’s files. While you can’t control where your employees work, you can educate them on how to be safe when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. One of the best ways to lower the risk of public networks is by investing in a virtual private network (VPN).

Conclusion

Don’t wait for your business to become a victim. With cybercrime on the rise, you must implement every preventive measure to protect your company, your employees, and your clients. You must make cybersecurity a top priority and follow its best practices, otherwise, your business will be in trouble.

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