Looking at crime in general, cybersecurity is easily up there amongst the most lucrative.
The unfortunate reality is that it doesn’t require much to get into this field, with cybercriminals capable of getting their hands on ransomware for a subscription fee. The chances of getting caught are relatively low, which means the risk of getting caught is not a deterrent. As businesses grow and expand their presence online this equally expands the number of cybercriminals in this place, resulting in various critical aspects of people’s lives becoming increasingly vulnerable.
The number of attacks along with the impact of cybersecurity is something that has not stopped growing.
With such a big threat landscape, it proffers the question that is applicable to every employee irrespective of their level at the company. What are the measures one can take to shield themselves from these threats?
The kinds of threats an organisation may face will come from both skilled and unskilled attackers, and range from ransomware, to virus attacks, to malicious software, to social engineering, opportunistic hacks, and other more common threats that have been around for some time, and don’t look like ever going out of style.
No matter what kind of security policy you currently have in place, there are always things you can do to enhance the overall defence of your company. Which should encourage you to seek this knowledge out.
Below, you will find a list of 5 most common and effective ways of protecting your business.
- Data Backup
One of the most effective and cheapest ways of protecting your company, in the event that your data is compromised, stolen or corrupted, is to back it up. It’s recommended that you go with multiple backup solutions, to increase company security as much as possible. This could mean incremental daily backups to the cloud or a portable device, yearly and quarterly backups. You always want to test your backups, to ensure they are working and recoverable, in the event that you need it.
When it comes to a portable storage device, it’s recommended that the device is not left connected to the system, to prevent the backed up data from being infected. Instead this data should be held offsite to protect it from possible threat or physical harm. The cloud storage provider you go with should use encryption technology along with multi factor authentication, in order to protect your data.
- Cybersecurity Assessments
When it comes to building your own defence policy, it’s important that you know where you stand before anything else. Cybersecurity assessments are an integral part of this for any working security programme, as it will provide you with the strengths and weaknesses of your security profile, allowing you to make improvements where applicable.
When you start off with an assessment, it ensures you are able to create the steps that are needed to secure your work environment. The end goal is to boost productivity, by minimising downtime and money wastage. Once you have all the formalities in place, you may choose to take things to the next level by adopting a risk management approach. This should entail creating priorities and analysing various items appropriately.
- Use Complex Passwords
The vast majority of web-based apps require some kind of key to access it. Whether it’s your more traditional password or the answer to a security question, you’ll want to use a complex one, so that hackers have a difficult time cracking it.
When it comes to creating security questions, you may want to consider translating it into a foreign language. There are online translation tools that you can use for that. This should increase the difficulty in deciphering and decrease the susceptibility to social engineering.
Adding spaces within your passwords is also another creative and effective way to fool hackers. That way, even if you were to write your password down somewhere, you would still be safe, as only you would know exactly where the spaces should be. You also want to consider the use of both lower and upper case letters, in additional to numbers and special characters (if supported).
- Staff Training
Any company is only as secure as its weakest link. Which for any company, will be its least informed employee. Attackers are always on the lookout for points of entry into your network system.
This could be an employee with a very weak password or someone who falls victim to a typical social engineering attack. Your team must know all the different ways cybercriminals will look to trick them, how to identify a potentially harmful email or phone call, especially ones that come from friends or family members. Provide them with the necessary information to protect the company.
Make sure you have strong policies in place, ones that are aligned with the best practices of cybersecurity. Then ensure your team is aware of it. Create the appropriate atmosphere for the team while training them. Encourage them to look out for one another, as this will increase company security tenfold.
- Install Encryption Software
If your company deals with sensitive data, such as bank accounts, credit card numbers, social security numbers and the like, on a day to day basis, then having encryption software in place is a no-brainer. Encryption is able to protect this data by altering it in such a way that it becomes unreadable.
All encryption is created with worst-case scenario in mind. So even if a hacker was able to obtain your data, they wouldn’t be able to do anything with it, as they would lack the decryption key to read the data. This is a must for anyone and everyone, especially in this world, where billions of records are compromised every day.
When it comes to encrypting your software, you have many options. The most convenient option would be to go with Microsoft BitLocker. But there are others, for Apple users there’s FileVault, and IBM has Guardium. All of which are equally as effective. So just choose the solution that works best for you, and try it out before you buy it. Most of these tools have free trial periods.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk