Businesses have been facing continuous threats of cyber attacks. Phishing scams and malware attacks remain top popular practices for conducting cybercrimes. The remote and hybrid working model has made people more prone to cyber-attacks. With most companies embracing the remote work trend, employees are supposed to keep important documents on their computers. In fact, 20% of all cybercrime attacks in 2020 occurred because of the pandemic, affecting the remote working population.
Are you confident your sensitive data is secure? Have you encrypted your data? Well, that’s no longer optional now. We have seen government entities, educational institutions, banks, financial companies, and nearly every industry falling victim to cybercrimes. With hackers finding new ways to get access to your confidential data, it has become important for businesses and individuals to store their data safely, more now than ever.
Tech-savvy users know which file might contain malicious software or how to protect their data from unauthorized access, but not everyone pays attention to where they are storing the data or if there’s a backup. These criminals don’t only target small companies and people with a lack of robust security tools, but they target large corporations as well. Acer, for example, reported a ransomware attack in March 2021 when a hacker got access to the company’s sensitive files. They sent the pictures of these stolen files to Acer, threatening to leak the files if they didn’t get $50 million. The same criminal was behind the ransomware attack on Travelex. Not only that, they fetched up to $100 million from small and large businesses (combined) in one year.
Anyone can fall victim to these attacks. And considering the rate at which cybercrime is growing, it’s safe to say that we need to be extra careful with our confidential data. You don’t have to shell out for expensive security tools to ensure the best protection for your devices. A few simple cybersecurity practices will go a long way in keeping your data safe.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the best cybersecurity solutions for 2022. Let’s take a look:
Spread Cybersecurity Awareness
It is the employer’s duty to spread awareness about cybercrime risks and educate employees about the ways to mitigate these risks. Your employees are either your biggest risk or a strong defense system. You may use the best and most up-to-date technology, but it will do little to mitigate the risks of cybercrime. Hackers use people working in your company as an entry point to get access to your company’s sensitive data. That’s why it’s important to adapt to the people-centric approach to cybersecurity, instead of relying on technology only.
Responsible workers handle your sensitive data carefully. They know the risks associated with the company’s information and what can happen if the data gets leaked. It won’t cause any harm to an individual working for you, but their negligence can have a devastating impact on your business. Spread awareness about the latest technologies, security measures, and the best cybersecurity practices. They should be familiar with phishing attempts. For instance, an employee should know which attached file might contain a virus or which malicious link can give hackers complete access to the company’s system.
In short, here’s how you can embrace a people-centric approach to enhancing the cybersecurity of your business:
- Educate your employees about the latest techniques used by cybercriminals to trick people into leaking data. Make sure each employee (especially those with access to your company’s sensitive data) is aware of phishing attacks, malware, ransomware, etc.
- Track each session where your employees use the company’s sensitive data.
- Ensure that each employee follows the latest cybersecurity practices established by your IT department.
Employees who neglect cybersecurity threats can pose the biggest threat to your company. They might not handle your data carefully. There’s also a risk of them falling victim to phishing attacks, as cybercriminals are incredibly smart when it comes to tricking people.
Be Careful When Giving Employees Access to Your Critical Data
As a business owner, you need to select the employees you can trust with your company’s data carefully. It’s best not to allow your employees to access your business’ sensitive files unless their job involves working with this data. When you allow someone to access your confidential business information, make them responsible for ensuring the security of this data.
Employees working from home must not allow any user to access their device. You must also track employees’ activity using the latest tracking software so that you know which employees accessed what information and how they used it. Whether they bring their devices to the office or work from home, you need to install tracking software in their systems so that your IT department can monitor their activities throughout the day.
For Cyber Security And Risk Management Enable Multi-factor Authentication
Social media has integrated the multi-factor authentication system. These two-factor authentication requests an OTP, a security question, or a fingerprint from the user trying to log into your account. Whenever you use a new device to access your private data, you will be asked to clear the multi-factor authentication. You should use multiple security questions, email verification, phone verification, and other tools to ensure that nobody except the authorized users gets access to your system.
Multi-factor authentication doesn’t cause any inconvenience. You will only have to crack this protection layer when you are accessing your social accounts or company’s data using an unknown network and from a random device. When you are logging in on a managed device, you can easily get access to the system just by entering your login credentials.
Have a Strong Password Policy
Last year broke all records for data breaches. In 2021, 1,862 breaches occurred. One of the easiest ways for the hacker to get access to your private information is by guessing the password. So, the first step in improving your system’s security is to choose a strong password.
Here are a few tips for choosing a password for your devices:
- Keep the length up to 15 characters
- Mix uppercase and lowercase characters. Use symbols, digits, and special characters to make it difficult for anyone to guess it.
- Do not use easy phrases; instead, focus on adding random keywords that make no sense or can’t be found in a dictionary. For instance, the chocolate cake will make a poor password. A good password will be a hot chocolate burger with cream sauce.
If you can’t find a good password, use a password manager. It will create a strong password and store it in a centralized location that can be accessed with a master password.
For better for Cyber Security And Risk Management change passwords after every few months and make this your habit.
Create Data Backups
A backup of your data is essential to ensure its safety in case it disappears or is stolen. It is one of the most important cybersecurity practices that have gained a lot of attention lately, especially after the growing number of ransomware cases. Ransomware attacks have become the leading type of attack, and considering the current growth rate, it is obvious that ransomware will outnumber phishing attacks soon.
A ransomware attack happens when a third-party (hacker) gets access to your company’s confidential data through phishing and other practices. They encrypt this data such that it becomes inaccessible to anyone other than those with special keys to decrypt this information. As you might have guessed, these hackers demand a ransom for giving you the special key to decode the encrypted data. If you don’t have a data backup, you will have no other options than to pay ransom to hackers in order to get your data back.
Besides that, your data can be lost or stolen in many ways. For instance, someone might delete your important business data from the cloud storage, or it may simply get lost due to the breakdown of your machine. That’s why it is important that you store your data in more than one place so you can use the backup if your data gets lost.
Monitor the Privileged User
Not all data breaches occur when a hacker accesses your sensitive data. Sometimes, an internal member leaks your company’s sensitive information to third parties. Nobody has as much access to your company’s information as a privileged employee.
The employer allows these people to use the data however they want. Even if it’s a trusted employee, it’s best to monitor their sessions regularly. They may not share the data intentionally, but it can get leaked through them. For instance, a hacker might get access to this employee’s account and use their identity to find your company’s confidential information.
According to a 2021 Insider Threat Report, 61% of the organizations accepted that they closely monitored the privileged users to prevent the risk of a data leak.
Here’s what you can do to minimize the risk of data leaks due to privileged users:
- Limit the number of authorized users who can access your company’s sensitive data
- As soon as an employee leaves your organization or gets retired, their privileged account must get terminated.
- Use the best tracking tools to track your employees’ activities, especially when they are working on your company’s important data.
- Employ tools and the latest security software apps that detect the unauthorized use of your company’s data or any unusual activity automatically.
- Educate your privileged users about the safety of the data and the cybersecurity practices they must follow when using this data.
As a business owner, you should know who accessed your business data and why. Are they authorized users? Did they share the data? How exactly did they use it? If you were the one who shared your company’s data with vendors, marketers, and other people in the supply chain network, monitor their activities regularly. You should get a complete report of who logged into your system. This makes it easier for businesses to detect malicious activities.
Not only does the third-party access increase the risk of insider attack, but there is a chance a hacker might get access to your system through these vendors. It’s important to update the list of the “third-party access right” every month so that you know who exactly is entering your system. You must use one-time passwords and manual approvals to ensure that only authorized users request access to your company’s data.
Conduct Audits and Investigations Regularly
You may not detect a small unusual activity in your network immediately. By the time you know something is wrong with your system, it is too late. That’s where the regular audits and investigations come to your rescue. Regular analysis of the actions taken by your employees, privileged users, and how the third-party vendors use your confidential information plays an important role in ensuring data security.
Regular audits keep your data safe by allowing you to detect any unusual activities by cyber attackers or internal members that went unnoticed. You can view the complete list of the privileged users and remove the accounts that should no longer exist. You should also make a habit of reviewing the cybersecurity policy from time to time, and update it whenever required. Your IT department will take care of these audits. They need session records, audit logs, and metadata to get a clear picture of who logged into the system and how your privileged users used the sensitive data.
You can also hire Cyber Security Consulting Services for a thorough investigation of your company’s security practices. They will conduct penetration testing to evaluate your system’s security.
Have a Simple and Robust Technological Infrastructure
Employing multiple technological tools will only increase the risk of security threats. The more software and hardware solutions you install, the more tools you will have to manage, and the higher the risk of security breaches. It’s best to streamline your technological infrastructure by limiting the number of technological devices you use and combining them into a single application if possible.
For example, instead of having separate HR management and accounting software, you can invest in an all-in-one management application that has all management features. Not only does it make your infrastructure safer, but it makes it more convenient for people to execute the management operations from a single platform. You don’t have to enter data manually between different systems.
Educate Your Staff About Phishing
The most common technique employed by cyber attackers is phishing. Even the tech-savvy employees might get tricked into leaking their private details, let alone those with little technical knowledge. These methods allow cyber attackers to collect your employees’ login details and get access to their bank accounts, email, and social media accounts, not to mention, their business accounts. They can also get access to the employee’s financial information or the company’s confidential data.
According to Identify Theft Resource Center, Phishing is one of the most popular techniques used by cyber attackers for hacking into employees’ accounts. In phishing, the cyber attacker sends a malicious link to the target user through SMS. The minute they click on this link, the hacker collects their personal information. The worst part is that the target doesn’t even know their account has been hacked until they perform an audit and detect any unusual activity, such as a major withdrawal from their bank accounts or leaked data. As an owner, you should raise awareness about phishing techniques.
Update Your Cybersecurity Policy
With the growing number of cybercrime cases reported in nearly every industry, businesses are taking their cybersecurity policy more seriously than ever before. Not only do they have a robust cybersecurity policy in place, but companies keep updating this information regularly. A written policy serves as the main guide that your employees and the entire team are supposed to follow. It keeps your employees and the top-level management on the same page.
At the same time, keep the policy flexible enough to be changed whenever needed. That’s because each department has a different function. Some unnecessary rules in the cybersecurity policy can make things complex for certain departments. It is best to organize a meeting and discuss the policy guidelines with the entire staff before creating a cybersecurity policy.
Employees’ feedback is also important to ensure that everyone understands the guidelines and follows them as required. Every company should have one central policy that covers the detailed guidelines of security and a separate policy for each department. Let these departments create a security policy themselves.
These were the top cybersecurity practices every company (no matter the size) must follow to ensure safety from cyber attacks. Even small negligence from a team member, such as keeping a weak password or clicking on a malicious link sent by a random person, can have a detrimental effect on your company’s security.
You don’t want to lose your image, money, or customers’ trust just because you couldn’t deploy a robust cybersecurity infrastructure. The above steps will help strengthen your cybersecurity and protect your employees and the company from malware, ransomware, phishing, and other cyber attacks. Visit Softude – one of the best Cyber Security Consultant Companies to enhance your company’s security.