The ingenuity of hackers never stands still — new data theft methods emerge regularly, which makes cybersecurity crucial for any business. Proper security measures help companies prevent hackers from getting into the systems and accessing their bank account or customer data, and, therefore, damaging their reputation and business in general. Penetration testing also helps — these experts predict the cybercriminals’ actions and prevent them from happening. Having a pen tester on your team can significantly reduce the number of vulnerabilities, but there are more ways to increase your cybersecurity.
Use the provided recommendations to make it as difficult as possible for cybercriminals to get into your system.
1. Pay attention to your passwords
Using the same simple password on all the platforms is dangerous — it’ll be very easy for hackers to crack it and access all your accounts. To prevent this, create long (at least 15 symbols), non-obvious, and strong passwords including letters (both upper and lower-case), numbers, and special characters. Update passwords frequently, don’t let anyone see you entering them, and create a unique combination for every single platform and device you use.
2. Prevent phishing
Phishing attacks involve sending messages that often look legitimate, but clicking the links included in them can provide hackers with your passwords and infect your system with malware. Not clicking the links is the most obvious recommendation, but it would also be wise to get antivirus software, set up a firewall, and install anti-phishing extensions for all the browsers you use. Keep the software up to date and block pop-ups. If you visit a website without a security certificate, don’t download any files from it and never enter your sensitive information.
3. Protect your devices
Your devices contain all your sensitive data, so it’s crucial to protect them. Update the operating systems regularly and don’t keep all your data on a single device. Avoid using public Wi-Fi, log off when you leave your devices unattended, and leverage Full-Disk Encryption or Volume Encryption to protect against theft or loss.
4. Use social media securely
We live in the era of social networks and use them both for business and private purposes. In turn, hackers use them to steal data. To prevent this, create secure passwords, delete the inactive accounts, and monitor your social media activity — if you find a post that isn’t on your content calendar, this may indicate that a hacker has gained access to your account.
If you or your teammates also use personal accounts for work, don’t share your phone numbers, birth dates, locations, and other information that can help hackers find and identify you. Update your privacy settings so that everything you post will be visible only to the people you know and trust. Besides, add to your network only your actual friends, relatives, and colleagues.
5. Limit access
To make your business more resistant to cyberattacks and decrease the number of vulnerabilities, ensure that your employees have access only to the data they need for performing their duties. For instance, in the case of social media, limit account access, and posting rights, only a few key managers should have them. If one of them leaves the team, make sure to revoke the provided rights.
6. Create backups
Regularly back up your data locally and to the Cloud, and protect backups with passwords and encryption — in case of a cyberattack, you’ll at least have the data copies. Remember to test the backups regularly to ensure that they’re performed with no issues.
7. Encrypt all files
The encryption recommendation is relevant not only for backups — strive to encrypt all the files regardless of their location (stored in a server or on portable devices, attached to emails, etc.).
8. Use multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication allows protecting your data even in case your password gets stolen. Therefore, use this type of authentication whenever possible, and ask your team to do the same.
9. Have a contingency plan
Since hackers invent new data theft methods continuously, it’s important to have a contingency plan — protect your business with cyber insurance. This way, if cybercriminals still manage to access your data, you’ll get help from experts and avoid excessive financial losses.
10. Educate yourself and your team
New hacking tactics appear regularly, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on the news and stay aware of the recent methods. However, “older” methods like phishing are also effective, and it would be useful to train your team to make sure that they know how to behave on the Internet securely and protect their devices. Perform such training regularly to keep every team member “in shape”, and consider sending them fake phishing emails to test their behavior.
Penetration testing has become a trend, so business leaders often hire such experts to evaluate the security of their systems and detect vulnerabilities. If you don’t have a pen tester on your team yet, consider doing the same, as performing penetration testing regularly is crucial.
While looking for a professional, you can start with the basic things to enhance your cybersecurity. Create strong passwords (don’t forget to change them regularly), get antivirus software, and set up a firewall. Limit data and social media access, test your backups, encrypt all the possible files, and enable multi-factor authentication. Figure out what security features are implemented in the software you’re already using, and start leveraging them. Besides, get cyber insurance and prepare a training program for your team.
Cybersecurity is every team member’s responsibility, but it’s still important for you to provide effective leadership. Therefore, take the above-mentioned measures seriously to develop a culture of cybersecurity awareness and spread it throughout the company.