Adhering to cybersecurity best practices, such as creating a strong password and enabling multi-factor authentication, are essential to keeping your business secure.
Cybersecurity advocacy firm BullGuard estimates that around 43 percent of small businesses have no cybersecurity defense plan at all. When remote working became the norm during the pandemic, these risks became even greater. Even the White House recently weighed in on the matter, sending out a note on the dangers of cybercrime.
Joe Giordano, director of the cybersecurity program at Touro College Illinois, advises companies to take simple precautions to protect sensitive data. “It is good practice to train employees to spot phishing emails, avoid clicking on suspicious web links or attachments, and create more secure passwords. Businesses should ensure that they use up-to-date antivirus software and other security measures to protect sensitive information. Just following a few simple guidelines can go a long way in ensuring that an organization is safe and secure from a cybersecurity perspective.
While it is not possible to replace a full-fledged cyber defense team, there are a number of basic common sense cybersecurity techniques that will make you and your business safer.
10 important cybersecurity best practices
It is much easier to prevent a hack than to recover from a hack. Once your company’s sensitive data is stolen by a ransomware attack, recovering it is often a long and arduous process. Educating employees about basic security, personal cybersecurity, and the prevalence of cyberthreats goes a long way in stopping ransomware attacks before they can really cause harm. Your employees should understand that they can be the target of malicious actors, eager to exploit any entry they can find in your company.
the average cost of a cyberattack is 3.86 million and the cumulative total of global cybercrime is expected to cost $ 6 trillion. If you don’t pay to train your employees in cybersecurity best practices, you might end up paying more in the long run. Free, high-quality training for your employees is available from several government resources, including Stop thinking connect and some Department of Homeland Security.
2. Better passwords and multi-factor authentication
Think no one will guess that your password is your mother’s maiden name and date of birth? Think again. Cyber thieves have developed powerful algorithms that can correctly guess difficult passwords in seconds. Traditional password advice suggests using a password that is at least 12 characters long with a mixture of numbers, symbols, and upper and lower case letters.
While this is a good strategy, it is not enough and almost all security professionals recommend using two-factor or multi-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is a security process that requires two different authentication factors to access programs or resources.
3. Know your business
Take advantage of a simple resource: your own knowledge. Think about your business and where hackers are likely to target. Would they be interested in your employees’ personal information, or are they interested in your customer databases or your intellectual property? Find the most likely targets and secure them appropriately.
4.Safe and secure Wi-Fi
It may be obvious for a business to have a secure, encrypted and hidden WiFi network, but with the advent of remote working, it is important that your employees also securely encrypt their own personal networks. The safety of your employees is also your safety. Hacking an employee’s remote network is an easy way to potentially gain access to the corporate mainframe.
5. Backups Backups Backups
Hackers thrive by being able to disrupt the activities of an organization. An offline backup will allow your business to get back on its feet while cybersecurity experts deal with the damage and fallout from a cyber attack.
6. Install anti-virus software
Even the best trained staff sometimes make mistakes. Installing antivirus and anti-malware software on computers adds an extra layer of protection, especially against phishing attacks– a social engineering attack used to steal data and login credentials.
7. Secure physical devices
Just like you lock doors when you leave your desk, company laptops need to be secured with passwords or pins. Laptops given to employees who are no longer with the company must be collected. Think of every work computer as a possible gateway to your business.
8. Update software and firmware
The UK’s National Cyber Security Center estimates that over 80% of hacks are indirectly caused by outdated software (Centrify). The best antivirus and anti-malware programs are as good as their latest patches. Forgetting to install patches will allow hackers to exploit weaknesses in the system.
9. Be careful rather than sorry
Do the emails look suspicious? Don’t click on it. Pop-up offering you a good deal? Same. The ABCs of cybersecurity is Always Be Safe. Check where emails are coming from before replying, especially if something goes wrong.
10. Have a plan
As a small or medium business owner, having your own cybersecurity team is a big expense. Fortunately, there are a number of free resources that will help you develop a basic cybersecurity plan and give you an idea of what to do if you’ve been hacked. We recommend cybersecurity risk management plan published by the FCC, as good as cybersecurity guide published by the Small Business Administration.
An urgent need for cybersecurity experts
In the years to come, companies must take cybersecurity seriously and invest in it with adequate resources. Following these 10 best practices in cybersecurity and network security is a great place to start. Businesses of all sizes need a cybersecurity team, in-house expert, or at least a consultant to monitor network and device security and ensure vulnerabilities are addressed quickly.
If you or your employees are looking to learn cybersecurity skills but don’t have the time to enroll in a full program, our Graduate Certificate program is a great alternative. Even if you don’t have a lot of prior knowledge in the field, Touro College Illinois’ Graduate Certificate Program in Cyber Security can help you get started. Explore our program and features and see if the program is right for your educational and professional needs.