Aside from the ongoing global COVID pandemic, rising costs due to inflation, and serious supply chain issues that have plagued the world in 2021, the damage of global cybercrime is expected to exceed $6 trillion this year as well, according to Cyber Security Ventures. What’s worse is that some cybersecurity experts are predicting that the total could climb to $10.5 trillion annually by 2025 per an article by Entrepreneur.
While all of this news is quite depressing, there is good news to be had as well. Businesses can take steps to protect themselves and prevent a devastating breach. The information technology (IT) and cybersecurity professionals at ORAM Corporate Advisors have gathered 10 of the best cybersecurity practices any business can implement today to better secure their organization against hackers tomorrow.
Best Cybersecurity Practice 1: Conduct Regular Risk Assessments
The first step to knowing whether or not your business is properly protected is by conducting regularly scheduled risk assessments. A baseline risk assessment will tell you what threats your business may be facing, how to prevent them, and if your current cybersecurity is up to the challenge.
An effective cybersecurity risk assessment includes several components such as:
- Identifying potential threats to your business
- Identifying vulnerabilities within your business
- Predicting the impact of threats to your business
- Providing threat recovery options should a breach occur
As a result of conducting regular cybersecurity risk assessments, your business will reap many benefits including increased awareness of the risks your business may face, how those threats could enter your systems and networks, and the impact they could have on your employees, partners, and clients.
Another benefit is the ability to mitigate future risks. Once risks are identified, you can prepare to prevent them and rebound from any cyber incidents that do occur. Being prepared for hacks can save a business time, money, resources, and their reputation. Not only does knowing what risks your business faces and what shortfalls you have in your existing security, but you can take steps to mitigate the damage of an attack.
Best Cybersecurity Practice 2: Employ Multiple Layers of Security
Every business should implement multiple layers of security on both the physical security and digital security fronts. If you don’t already have a password policy in place, create one that requires strong passwords. Passphrases are even better as they contain 16 characters or more. Either way, be sure passwords or passphrases are complex using upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Businesses should utilize software that monitors employee accounts so you’ll be alerted if there is a breach. Dark web monitoring is also a necessity to protect your digital assets and those of your employees, partners, and clients.
Additionally, every business should install a modern firewall. Modern firewalls can monitor traffic flowing in and out of your network(s), stop malware and viruses, provide virtual private network (VPN) support, and even offer internet protocol (IP) mapping and inspection capabilities.
Best Cybersecurity Practice 3: Keep Software and Apps Updated
Software and application manufacturers often provide updates and patches for their digital products. This happens as companies realize their products have security flaws that leave them vulnerable to hacks and/or they update the product to offer more to clients. Either way, it’s a best practice to ensure that your software and apps are always kept up to date.
If you don’t install updates and patches on an ongoing basis, cybercriminals can exploit security holes in your business software and apps to gain access to your computers, mobile devices, network, and data. Updates and patches can be automated with the use of a remote monitoring and management tool on a regular basis during off-hours so your business experiences zero to little downtime. Remember that all mobile devices from laptops and tablets to cell phones also need to be updated regularly as well.
Best Cybersecurity Practice 4: Craft Clear Cybersecurity Policies
Every business needs to craft clear cybersecurity policies that apply to the threats it may face as determined in the cybersecurity assessment mentioned above. Your IT team or a third-party provider such as ORAM Corporate Advisors can help you produce a clear set of rules and instructions on cybersecurity best practices for your staff and business partners.
Once you have written your cybersecurity policies, you will need to distribute them to your employees. Don’t just send them in an email and expect that will be enough. You need to review these policies in person with your staff. That’s where best cybersecurity practice 5 comes into play.
Best Cybersecurity Practice 5: Train Every Employee Regularly
Cybersecurity awareness training is imperative to protecting your business. Why? Because your employees can be your greatest threat (through human error or malicious behavior) or your greatest security asset. The fact is that 29 percent of information loss is caused by human error, according to a piece by Hosting Tribunal.
Your entire workforce should be educated on common scams and threats, techniques for avoiding them, and how to report suspicious activity or breaches. Train employees to forward suspicious emails to your IT department or third-party provider immediately. You will also want to conduct incident response exercises to best prepare your employees in the event an incident does occur. This training should occur during the onboarding process for all new employees.
Additionally, every employee should be given a refresher course at least twice a year to review breaches that have occurred, examine new threats that have emerged, and keep them on alert. This ongoing training is especially important for updating your employees on the latest cyber threats that have emerged since their last training.
Ensure that your training content is relevant and is updated to reflect the current threat environment. Your IT department can provide this training or you can hire an outside contractor such as ORAM to assist you with this training. Also, take advantage of free training events that can benefit your entire company such as the one ORAM will be hosting next week on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, via Zoom.
Be sure to watch for Part II of this blog in the next couple of days to get more cybersecurity best practices for your organization. You can also contact ORAM Corporate Advisors at (617) 933-5060 for more information about cybersecurity best practices for your business. The call is free and there is no obligation.