Running a business is more than bringing in customers, creating marketing strategies, checking stocks and inventories, and paying your employees. For organizations to continue their operations and grow, cybersecurity should be at the top of their list.
Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting networks, devices, programs, data, and software from online threats. It keeps unauthorized access away from sensitive information and documents. Furthermore, it prevents unnecessary network disruptions that can cause delays in projects or the organization’s workflow.
Hence, as we continue to stay connected online, it is better to implement rules and regulations that secure our data. No matter how small your business is, hackers will still find a way to get your data.
Cybersecurity Practices for Your Business
Cybersecurity practices can help businesses secure their data, prevent attacks, avoid unnecessary expenditure, and prevent businesses from stopping their operation.
- Using Strong and Complicated Passwords
Passwords that are simple and easy to remember serve as a benefit to users in the short term. However, when it comes to long-term benefits, short passwords aren’t enough.
Cybercriminals are clever nowadays. They don’t need to keep guessing passwords for the whole day. There are tools that they use that can effortlessly determine uncomplicated passwords.
Therefore, the best way is to use long and complicated passwords. A good password contains upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols, and at least 6 or 8 characters. Furthermore, a password should not have any sensitive information, a dictionary password, or one recycled from your previous passwords.
Make sure to use different passwords for different accounts. In that way, when an account is hacked, cybercriminals won’t have access to other accounts.
Can’t remember complicated passwords? A password manager is a lifesaver for many. It can store as many passwords as you want and even autofill login forms to make it fast and effortless on your part.
There are various password managers offered online. You can also try free versions with limited features. The best free password manager on the market is LastPass.
Here are some examples of complicated passwords:
- Create Cybersecurity Policies
Businesses should create policies or documents regarding cybersecurity rules for employees to comply with. It keeps everyone on the same page. A single document for the entire organization can work, but creating policies for each department helps to focus on protecting the valuable information that each department contains.
Cybersecurity policies direct employees’ security practices and assist the IT team in determining what to do in the event of a cyber-attack. The policies contain detailed rules about what to do to prevent attacks, how to recognize suspicious activity, what to do when an attack is present, and what should be done after.
- Educate Your Employees
For small businesses, 48% of data breaches were caused by negligent employees. Meanwhile, in the healthcare industry, 81% of cybersecurity incidents are due to employee negligence. It shows that employees lack knowledge of cybersecurity and how it can cause damage to a business.
Educating your employees can help you secure your necessary data. It can help make sure that everyone understands and knows what to do to avoid attacks.
Employees should learn about the primary threats, read about the policies implemented by the organization, and have an idea of what to do in the case of attacks.
When employees violate company policies or contracts, organizations should impose penalties or consequences. This will persuade them to follow the security rules established by your company.
- Using the Necessary Cybersecurity Tools
If businesses want to protect their data, they need tools to keep them safe. There are plenty of software or applications available to block threats, encrypt files, and so on.
- Antivirus Software: When it comes to antivirus or anti-malware tools, it depends on your business’ needs. There are plenty of competitive brand names on the market, such as Kaspersky, Bitdefender, and Trend Micro.
- VPN: You can secure your location and hide from hackers when accessing your data from an unsecured network.
- Firewall: You can also keep your data or activities safe online with firewall protection. It monitors all incoming and outgoing traffic on your network. Any suspicious activity would be blocked by it.
These cybersecurity tools can help block threats, remove spam emails, get rid of malware, and so on.
- Back up Files or Data Regularly
The number of times you need to back up your files depends on your company. Some businesses back up their files every day or once a week.
It is crucial to perform regular backup in case of a ransomware attack. When it happens, you won’t need to put a halt to your business.
There are various ways to back up your business data. You can move it to the cloud, store it offline, or keep it on an external drive. You need to implement rules on how to protect your company’s data.
Backups can also be done manually, or you can perform scheduled backups.
- Update Software and Systems
Software and systems require updates from developers because they include new features and critical security patches.
Hackers use outdated software as a back door to enter a system. The updates provided by the developers can be used to combat or secure against the most recent threats.
Also, software updates help improve the overall performance and get rid of bugs in previous versions.
Similar to data backup, you can choose to manually or automatically update your software and systems.
- Using Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security system that requires two steps of identifying an individual before the account can be accessed. It adds a layer of security, now that hackers can now skillfully guess your passwords.
2FA may include a password, PIN, code, or biometrics like a fingerprint. The code or PIN is received via email or SMS.
In this way, you can be sure that your employees are the ones logging into their accounts. Also, you can determine if there is a suspicious login attempt.
- Create Policies for Mobile Devices or BYOD Practices
Some businesses allow employees to use their devices when accessing business data. BYOD provides benefits for organizations and employees. It saves money, as business owners don’t need to buy a new computer. Meanwhile, employees don’t need to spend time learning about the device.
However, BYOD can also put businesses at risk if there are no policies.
Organizations should record all mobile devices, implement creating strong passwords, update software, and so on. In this way, businesses can be sure that data won’t be compromised.
If you want your employees to implement the policies, include sanctions or consequences if the rules are not followed.
- Limit Access to Admin
Some businesses provide access to all their employees, even those who don’t need it. Since employee negligence is one of the greatest threats, limiting people who can access your account is crucial.
Only give access to admins or those who need particular data. Also, make sure to monitor third-party access, such as contractual employees or organizations.
When employees leave the company, remove their access and implement changes to all accounts.
Furthermore, limit those who can access software and your system to an authorized individual only.
- Avoid Clicking on Unknown Email or Links
Phishing is a common cyber-attack used by hackers to steal data. They send an email with attachments or links where employees will click without recognizing them as malicious content. Once personal or company information is used, hackers can access the employee’s account and then all the company’s data.
Therefore, inform your employees to never click on links or download files from an unknown source. When in doubt, always contact the admin or authorized individual to confirm the email received.
Every day there are companies experiencing attacks and losing their valuable data. Therefore, if you want to avoid experiencing loss of data or spending thousands of dollars to retrieve your files, implement the cybersecurity checklist listed above for cybersecurity best practices for companies. It’s always better to prevent attacks, as it is less expensive and time-consuming.