Businesses of all shapes and sizes are finding themselves on the receiving end of a growing number of threats from cyberspace. Hackers are always looking for new ways of getting their hands on personal data which they can then either sell or hold to ransom. Ransomware is a problem that barely existed until relatively recently, but which is now plaguing businesses around the globe.
There’s no getting around the fact that there are determined cybercriminals out there who will always see businesses as their most potentially lucrative targets, and will go after them with according ruthlessness. However, while the existence of these criminals might be unavoidable, that doesn’t mean that they have to be successful in their endeavours. Even if you only take some very basic steps, you might be surprised how much they will reduce your risk of falling victim to a successful cyber-attack.
Putting a cybersecurity strategy in place is one thing, but actually making it stick and ensuring that it is being followed throughout your business is quite another. In order to succeed here, you will need to be able to lead by example and demonstrate to your entire workforce why it is so essential and how it can be best achieved.
This is the first and most important rule of improving cybersecurity in your business. You can’t expect your workers to take your new cybersecurity initiatives seriously if you aren’t able to yourself. If you clearly don’t place much value on the importance of good security, this message isn’t going to effectively leech into your corporate culture in the way that you want it to.
You want to get your business to a situation where all the other advice on this list becomes second nature. You want a workforce of people who have a firm grasp on cybersecurity issues and understand how to address and mitigate them as well as how to identify them. It’s one thing for an employee to know that they should be using strong passwords, but quite another for them to know how they can generate their own.
Let’s start with the most basic elements of good network security. If you want your network to be safe from the most immediate threats, you need to ensure that you have a firewall active and that there is antivirus software monitoring your systems at all times. Between the two of them, they should be able to automatically alert you to, and potentially even shut down, the most obvious threats to your network as they arise.
Of course, having a firewall in place is important, but you really need to have someone on your staff who understands how it works and how to configure it should the need arise. If you don’t currently have anyone on your staff who is able to tackle cybersecurity issues for your business, you might want to consider acquiring those skills.
You can bring in a dedicated cybersecurity specialist, or you could send an existing member of staff for some additional training. If you want to take on the challenge yourself, you can find training that works for you here at findcourses.com, including CompTIA security+ training. CompTIA’s Security+ certification is designed to be vendor-neutral and globally applicable, providing trainees with the skills that they need in order to perform the most important network security functions for businesses.
When it comes to cybersecurity, many of the most important training lessons for your staff have very little to do with computers or how to use them. Digital security systems today are very impressive - many are nigh on unbreakable. However, these systems are still ultimately operated by people and, while a person can be clever, they can also make mistakes.
People who don’t already have a pretty good grasp of how computers and security work can easily be persuaded to hand over sensitive information that might seem innocuous to the untrained observer. This is how many significant data breaches are ultimately achieved - through social engineering and exploiting human error.
The best defence against these kinds of lapses is to educate your staff. With even the most basic understanding of how your corporate network security tools and protocols operate, your workers will be much better equipped to avoid making the kind of serious but common errors that enable breaches in other businesses.
MFA is a security protocol that is becoming increasingly common. Many websites and services now offer their users the option of enabling MFA security. This means that when you want to log in to a website, you enter your password as normal. However, instead of being logged in straight away, a code will be sent to you via SMS or email. You then need to input this code in order to log in to your account.
This means that in order to access your accounts, someone would need to not only know the correct password, but also have access to the associated mobile phone or email account in order to receive the confirmation code. This extra layer of security will keep your corporate network safe in the event that legitimate login credentials are compromised and fall into the hands of malicious actors.
Always ensure that you are maintaining backups of your most important files; assume that at some point your network will be compromised and an intruder will be able to cause some serious mischief before you are able to stop them. Make sure that any files whose loss would be a disaster for your business are backed up manually and that you confirm that those backups are fully functional every now and then.
Keeping your data backed up isn’t just important for keeping it safe from cybercriminals. Physical damage to your storage devices can mean that you lose access to any data that is held on them. If you aren’t regularly updating your backups, then all it takes is one unexpected weather event, act of arson, or other freak occurrence to completely obliterate your data. Using cloud backups will help you to minimise the risk of physical damage rendering your data inaccessible, but you shouldn’t rely entirely on cloud backups as these will be maintained by third parties, and you won’t necessarily have control over them.
No matter how much you trust the people who work for your business, it is always best practice to only enable users to access the areas of your network that they need to in order to do their job. You shouldn’t enable people to do anything on your network that they don’t need to be able to do. Don’t think of this as taking away people’s freedoms. Instead, start by assuming that no one needs to access anything and then only open up their access to the things that they really need.
Implementing good cybersecurity practices throughout your business will make it much easier for your workers to understand the role that they can play in helping you to keep your corporate network safe. As your business grows, it will become an increasingly attractive target for cyber criminals. It’s best to begin implementing your cybersecurity policies early. Once these become second nature, your business will be safe.