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Whether you are a small business owner or run a corporation, being aware of cyber safety tips and practicing them is a must. Why? Because cyber threats are a major problem for everyone and as a business leader, you must safeguard your business against them.
Due to the fast-evolving cyber landscape, it could be challenging to decide where to start and what to do to protect your business from cyberattacks. Yet, you need to act because your business data, money, and IT equipment are at risk if you leave your business vulnerable to such attacks.
Why Cyber Security and Safety Tips Are So Important for Businesses?
By gaining access to your network, hackers and others with malicious intent can inflict significant damage to your business based on what they can get their hands and eyes on, such as:
- Your company’s banking details
- Product designs
- Manufacturing processes
- Customer lists
- Customer credit card information
- Your pricing structure
- Business growth plans
- Other types of intellectual property
Cyberattacks don’t just put your company at risk. Hackers could use their access to your network as a stepping stone to get into the networks of other companies who are your business partners.
With more people and businesses doing a lot of transactions and communications online using various cloud-based technology and tools, cyber security has become even more important. To decide if your business needs cyber safety protocols, ask this question:
Does my business rely on the internet and cloud technology and tools for its daily operations, including
- Online meetings?
- Banking transactions? And/or
- Communication with customers, business partners, and vendors?
If yes, you must protect your data and cloud-based systems from hacks and unauthorized breaches. Practicing safety tips for cyber security is vital for both financial and reputational reasons.
Ready to learn the top 5 cyber safety tips to protect your business? Read on to know more and act on them.
Top 5 Cyber Safety Tips to Focus Upon as a Business Leader
1. Develop And Put to Use a Strong Cyber Hygiene Strategy
Cyber hygiene is an integral part of cybersecurity. It refers to a series of routine actions of businesses to secure emails, operating systems, networks, printing devices, and other technology and their users.
Since each access point to a connected device is susceptible, practicing good cyber hygiene helps avoid those vulnerabilities by taking into account diverse risks, thus safeguarding your confidential data against cyberattacks and thieves.
You can develop and apply a strong cyber hygiene strategy by following the steps mentioned below:
- Carry our periodic risk assessment
- Back up your files regularly
- Deploy antivirus software
- Keep your software updated
- Encrypt key information
- Restrict access to sensitive data
- Use a firewall
- Invest in a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that provides an additional layer of security for your business
- Ensure third parties you do business with are also secure
- Create a configuration management system and detailed inventory
- Run a strong business-wide authentication
- Set up a patching strategy that routinely scans possible vulnerabilities in the environments and alerts your cybersecurity team
- Improve mechanisms for business processes and data security
2. Protect Your Email Domain to Avoid Phishing
Did you know a majority of cyber criminals prefer to target emails? And that phishing emails act as the starting point of more than 90% of attacks on businesses? As a business leader, safeguarding your email domain to decrease the chances of email abuse is vital.
Here are some effective cybersecurity tips that can help you strengthen your email domain:
- Filter and quarantine spam emails containing malicious content
- Educate all your employees to identify phishing emails
- Use anti-malware software on all endpoint devices
- Adhere to cyber-hygiene routines to secure networks, users, devices, and sensitive data
- Stay updated on new phishing scams to mitigate risks by planning and implementing adequate solutions
3. Ensure Your Critical Assets Are Accessible to a Select Few
Since not all data and systems are created equal, you need to protect your critical assets. Not sure how to do it? With least-privileged access, which means all users won’t have equal privileges.
Instead of deploying one-size-fits-all cybersecurity strategies, you should identify and protect your most critical data and assets. For example, your business’s loyalty card program or customer data linked to a bank’s credit card program are of far greater value than the generic policy documents and invoice numbers your company generates in-house.
As a business leader, it’s your responsibility (and that of your team in charge of cybersecurity) to define roles and permissions for every user to access the company’s business information. It’s equally vital to develop identity and access management policies to help the users know what their roles and corresponding disciplines exactly are, which will facilitate in handling breach or unauthorized access.
For instance, you could set policies that allow a project developer to access the code repository, but not financial data. Again, a finance manager should be able to access financial data but may not access the code repository.
4. Educate and Train In-house Staff
Did you know threats from inside a company account for almost 43% percent of data breaches? For your company’s cyber security team, external threats are a huge concern. However, there are significant internal threats too.
Your in-house people, who are closest to the data or other critical assets, could often turn out to be the weakest link in your company’s cybersecurity program. This is especially true when these people share files or passwords over insecure networks, click on malicious hyperlinks sent from dubious or unknown email addresses, or otherwise (for revenge, fun, money, etc.) act in ways that make your corporate networks vulnerable to cyberattacks.
As a business leader, you must collaborate with your company’s cyber security team and departmental heads to find ways that can help decrease such internal risks. It’s crucial to educate your in-house staff at all levels about the realities of cyberattacks and best practices for avoiding them.
Some effective ways of educating your staff could be hosting cybersecurity training sessions, meetings, and/or phishing campaigns. You could even stage war-game presentations to make your employees aware of potential threats and let them learn cyber security safety tips that they can practice.
5. Prevent, Identify, and Respond to Cyber Risks
As a business leader, you should build a cybersecurity team that proactively hunts through the business infrastructure to identify possible cyber risks and quickly respond when the risks become a reality. To mitigate risks, you can stick to this 3-step framework:
- Prevent: You should apply multi-protective layers on critical assets, thus reducing the risk of intrusion.
- Identify: Since cyber threats keep evolving, simply focusing on prevention isn’t enough. You must be prepared to handle attacks but more importantly, invest in strong and sufficient detection mechanisms.
- Respond: Once your business identifies or accidentally suffers from a cyberattack or breach, make sure you and your cybersecurity team respond effectively and quickly to minimize probable impacts. Your next step will be to learn from the incident and strengthen your company’s present cybersecurity system for future incidents.
As a business leader, it’s vital for you to understand the significance of a secure environment, be aware of the risks, and then integrate cybersecurity into each business task.
Our top 5 cyber safety tips can act as valuable references for you and practicing them can help ensure you don’t let your guards down!