The medical, legal, and accounting industries are well known for taking the privacy of their clients seriously. However, privacy is an important issue for all types of businesses. In light of several recent cyber attacks, cybersecurity has been highlighted as a vital component of any successful organization. We have developed a list of cybersecurity tips for businesses and employees to help with your organization’s cybersecurity posture.
Having top of the line cybersecurity measures in place does not guarantee your organization’s safety from cyber attacks. Cyber education should be a part of your company culture too, because ultimately your employees are the gatekeepers of your business’s confidential information.
With that in mind, here are five cybersecurity tips for businesses and their employees that should be followed to better protect their digital information.
1. Teach Employees the Value of Cybersecurity
If you think about it, your employees are the people who are responsible for keeping company and customer information safe. Their passwords are what keeps company financial records safe, and customer payment details behind closed doors. What happens when a finance employee clicks on a phishing link? You can say bye to your business’s sensitive information.
Teaching cybersecurity awareness to all employees is a must in today’s technology landscape. Cyberattack methods are becoming more sophisticated as time goes on. Proper education provides even non-technical employees with the knowledge and tools to identify common attacks and react appropriately, further protecting businesses.
If you want to kickstart your company wide training right away, download our customizable employee security training kit!
2. Use and Maintain Anti-virus Software
Using anti-virus software is necessary for companies of any size. Viruses and malware are some of the most effective weapons in a hacker’s arsenal. Even computers with the latest security measures are still at risk if they were compromised in the past.
A good anti-virus software should:
Offer complete protection
Stop viruses and malware in their tracks
When you are browsing the web your anti-virus software should be actively scanning to block malicious attempts to steal your personal information.
Simply installing and using an anti-virus application is not enough. If your software solution does not offer automatic updates, it must be updated frequently. Keeping your anti-virus programs up to date is important to maintaining a secure computer.
If you have questions about the best anti-virus solution for your business contact us today!
3. Create a Data Backup and Recovery Plan
A catastrophic loss of data will cripple your company, often beyond the point of recovery. For this reason, backup and data recovery plans are essential, even for startups. These plans help companies survive and recover from both physical and digital disasters.
A data backup plan specifies how backups will be made, as well as how frequently they will be tested. If you already have a backup plan, consider revisiting it. Many plans fail due to changes in infrastructure or data organization and lack of testing. It is important to regularly test your data backups!
A data recovery plan attempts to restore the backup, taking various concerns and scenarios into account. Successful recovery plans can minimize both the loss of data and downtime associated with a catastrophic event. They are worth their weight in gold when such an event occurs. If you want to find out how much downtime your company can afford, use our free tool to find out!
Having an effective data backup and recovery plan is also the best way to defend against ransomware. Ransomware is software that denies you access to your files or computer until you pay a ransom. If you get hit with this type of cyber attack, you can restore your data with your newly revised, highly efficient, backup plan and alert the proper authorities about the breach.
4. Use a Firewall
Firewalls, not to be confused with switches or routers, are important tools that help keep your information secure. They manage and control incoming and outgoing traffic, providing an inherent defense from attackers.
Think of firewalls as drawbridge spanning a moat around a castle. If it detects bad traffic coming your way, it lifts the drawbridge. If it identifies good traffic, it will keep the bridge down. Firewalls are available as either software or hardware.
Creating a firewall by using a hardware device can be complicated — leave this to the experts. Hardware firewalls are used to provide uniformity across the entire data system. According to chron.com this type of firewall “will inspect all the data that comes in from the Internet, passing along the safe data packets while blocking the potentially dangerous packets”.
Software firewalls are typically pre-configured and easier to set up. These are more appropriate for smaller businesses. They are installed on each computer within an organization’s network. Chron.com elaborates more by saying, “This lets them allow data to one program while blocking another. Software firewalls can also filter outgoing data, as well as remote responses to outgoing requests.”
5. Control Access to Protected Information
Controlling who accesses privileged or protected information is vital to protecting customer data privacy. As a result, access control systems must be established to determine which users have permission to view certain documents.
Implementing role-based access levels is the solution to this problem. An employee working in the billing department would have an authorization level different than that of the company’s CEO. The same is true about administrative assistants and senior partners, or other comparable positions in any industry.
For companies with an internal IT department, system administrators should be responsible for setting users’ access levels. Companies without internal IT support can manually assign access using an access control list.
There is no comprehensive list of cybersecurity tips and best practices for every business. This list is a starting point for companies that thinking about how they can better protect their data. If you were to take one tip away from this article, it should be that cybersecurity awareness needs to be ingrained in your company culture. Your employees are the first line of defense against cyber attacks, don’t leave them without the necessary education to become cyber aware.