5 Cyber Security Tips to Keep Your Business Safe
A major concern for CISO’s, IT teams, SOC teams and other cyber security personnel during 2022 has been protecting their organisations from cyber security attacks. But are you taking all the necessary steps to keep your organisation’s data and online presence secure? As businesses become more reliant on technology, they also become more exposed to cyber threats. However, knowing where to start in terms of protecting your business can be daunting. Here is “5 Cyber Security Tips to Keep Your Business Safe”: a guide to help businesses navigate the world of cyber threats.
Keeping information safe and secure has been a challenging task for businesses of all sizes over the last few years. Meteoric shifts from in-person-, to online-, to hybrid workplaces forced companies to change, or at least reexamine, their cyber security practices and protocols. Far too often they weren’t prepared for what they found. In reality, a total of 108.9 million accounts were breached in the third quarter of 2022 alone, a 70% increase compared to the previous quarter of the year.
Cyber attacks don’t just put your company, money, data, and IT equipment at risk. Hackers may use their access to your network as a stepping stone into the networks of other companies whose supply chains your business forms part of. One study found that 60% of all companies that suffer a data breach go bankrupt within six months. This makes total sense considering the high costs of such a breach. But what’s surprising, and tragic, is that most SME’s still don’t view cyber attacks as a legitimate threat. A cyber threat study found that 66% of senior decision-makers at small businesses believed they were unlikely to be targeted by criminals at all.
While bankruptcy may be the most drastic potential result of a cyber attack, there are other consequences that a business could experience, including:
- Financial losses from theft of banking information
- Financial losses from disruption of business
- High costs to rid your network of threats
- Reputational damage after telling customers their information was compromised
Fortunately, you can take steps to protect your company by keeping up with the latest cyber security ideas. Below are 5 cyber security tips to keep your business safe. Businesses of any size can use these tips to better protect themselves against cyber attacks:
1) Identify the “Crown Jewels” of Your Business
An organisation’s crown jewels are typically the most valuable data existing on systems, any intellectual property (IP) as well as any trade secrets that form a business’s identity. These assets are of great value and would cause major business impact should they be compromised.
Identifying crown jewels is a critical process in developing any kind of breach-readiness or robust cybersecurity culture. The best way to determine whether or not something is truly a crown jewel is by assessing the impact that its loss would have on your business. For example, personal information such as payroll data and employee records, as well as systems that store and process this data, are all examples of crown jewels. Another example would be CRM or customer relationship management systems; without these, it would be difficult for businesses to retain and engage with customers.
The protection of crown jewels is also of utmost importance, particularly those that reside with third parties or cloud platforms. These must be equally as secure as those used for assets within the business. Threat-actors often use third-parties as a gateway into larger organisations, knowing they don’t always receive the same amount of security. Constant monitoring is key in ensuring the security of these valuable assets.
2) Protect Assets by Updating and Authenticating
At the end of the day, protecting your data and devices from malicious actors is what cyber security is all about. In order to accomplish this, make sure your security software is current. Investing in the most up to date software, web browsers, and operating systems is one of the best defenses against a host of viruses, malware, and other online threats. Furthermore, make sure these devices have automatic updates turned on so employees aren’t tasked with manually updating devices. Additionally, make sure all data is being backed up either to the cloud or via separate hard drive storage.
Another important way to keep your assets safe is by ensuring staff are using strong authentication to protect access to accounts and ensure only those with permission can access them. This includes strong, secure and differentiated passwords. According to a PC Mag study, 70% of people admit they use the same password for more than one account. Using weak and similar passwords makes a hacker’s life a lot easier and can give them access to more materials than they could dream of.
Finally, make sure employees are using multi-factor authentication (MFA). While this may result in a few extra sign-ins, MFA is essential to safeguarding data and can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful breach.
3) Monitor and Detect Suspicious Activity
Companies must always be on the lookout for possible breaches, vulnerabilities and attacks, especially in a world where many often go undetected. This can be done by investing in cyber security products or services that help monitor your networks such as antivirus and antimalware software.
However, trying to keep on top of potential cyber threats to your company can be hugely complex, resource intensive and expensive, but not if you allow a specialist cyber security advisory firm to take this workload off your shoulders. With managed cyber threat intelligence and threat monitoring services, suspicious activity can be detected 24/7, allowing you to function much more efficiently.
Moreover, make sure your employees and personnel are following all established cyber security protocols before, during, and after a breach. Individuals who ignore or disregard important cyber security practices can compromise not only themselves, but the entire organisation. Paying close attention to whether your company is fully embracing all of your cyber security procedures and technology is incumbent upon business leaders.
4) Have a Response Plan Ready
No matter how many safeguards you have in place, the unfortunate reality is that cyber incidents still occur. However, responding in a comprehensive manner will reduce risks to your business and send a positive signal to your customers and employees. Therefore, businesses should have a cyber incident response plan ready to go before a breach occurs.
An incident response plan is a documented, written plan with distinct phases that helps IT professionals and staff recognise and deal with a cyber security incident like a data breach or cyber attack. Properly creating and managing an incident response plan involves regular updates and training. In it, companies should embrace savvy practices such as disconnecting any affected computers from the network, notifying your IT staff or the proper third-party vendors, and utilising any spare and backup devices while continuing to capture operational data.
5) Train Your Employees
One of the biggest vulnerabilities that businesses face is their own employee base. Precise statistics vary by country and industry sector, but it is undoubtedly true that a high proportion of data breaches are caused by insiders who either maliciously or carelessly give cyber criminals access to their networks. In many cases, employee-initiated attacks can be traced back to innocent mistakes. For example, an employee might lose their work tablet or disclose login credentials accidentally. They may also mistakenly open fraudulent emails which can deploy viruses on your business’s network.
As you protect your business against external threats, don’t forget about the dangers that can come from within. Establish clear policies regarding how data should be handled and protected, as well as how customers’ information should be treated. Invest in security awareness training for your all of your employees. These courses teach staff the importance of using strong passwords, how not fall prey to phishing emails and averting social engineering attempts.
For large organisations, effective cyber security operations rely on layers of offensive testing, defensive architecture and monitoring, forensics and incident response planning, cloud security, and solid leadership. Advancing your capabilities in these focus areas should be your mission because it furthers your ability to protect your entire network and supply chain.
For many small businesses, cyber security is not necessarily a core focus. As your business grows, you need a cyber security company that can grow with you. Focus on companies that offer a full range of security systems for businesses, including those you may need in the future.
For expert cyber security advice and product suggestions, whether you are a multinational enterprise or a startup just getting off the ground, contact Elasticito. We like to think that we bring the best value to our client relationships, combining the latest new innovative solutions and services that focus on helping you, our customers, to identify, prioritise and manage the most important cyber risks that face your business.