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As a business executive, your responsibility is to protect your company from all threats, including cyberattacks. While there are many advanced technologies and solutions available to prevent cyber attacks, there are also some straightforward steps that you can take to safeguard your business. This article will discuss six shockingly simple tips that your employees need to know to protect your business from cyberattacks.
#1: Use Strong Passwords. Change Them Regularly.
One of the most basic yet essential steps to protect your business from cyberattacks is to use strong passwords and change them regularly. A strong password must contain a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters and must not be a dictionary word or easily guessable. You must also avoid using the same password for various accounts or systems.
To ensure that your employees follow this practice, you can implement a password management system that requires them to use strong passwords and change them every few months. You can also encourage them to use two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible, adding an extra security layer to their accounts.
#2: Enable Firewalls and Antivirus Software
Firewalls and antivirus software are crucial tools for protecting your business from cyberattacks. A firewall helps to block unauthorized access to your network, while antivirus software prevents the execution of malicious software on your systems.
You must ensure that all your devices, including computers, servers, and smartphones, have these security measures enabled. You should also keep these tools updated with the latest patches and definitions to ensure they are effective against the latest threats.
#3: Back Up Your Data Regularly
One of the most common tactics cybercriminals use is to hold your data hostage by encrypting it and demanding a ransom to decrypt it. To protect yourself from such attacks, you should regularly back up your data to a secure location, such as an external hard drive or a cloud-based storage service.
If your data is compromised, you can restore it from the backup, minimizing the attack's impact.
You should also ensure that your employees know this practice and encourage them to back up their data regularly.
It’s also a good idea to set up automated backups of employees' devices and retain the data following your internal policy while complying with local regulations.
#4: Limit Access to Sensitive Data
To prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data, you should implement access controls that limit access to specific individuals or groups. For example, you can set up different user roles and permissions based on the level of access required for each employee.
This way, you can ensure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive data, reducing the risk of data leaks or breaches. You should also regularly review and update these access controls to ensure they are still relevant and practical.
If a contractor or a vendor needs access to your network, systems or data to maintain it, create temporary access and restrict them using a predefined timeslot.
For example, if a vendor tells you it would take them 3 hours to complete the maintenance, make sure that their access expires in 3-hours. In addition, make sure that you have a chance management entry to identify why the access was given in the first place. It will help you if there are either technical or security-related issues.
#5: Educate Your Employees on Cybersecurity Best Practices
One of the most effective ways to protect your business from cyberattacks is to educate your employees on cybersecurity best practices. This includes teaching them how to identify and avoid phishing attacks, create strong passwords, and recognize and report suspicious activity.
You must conduct regular training sessions or workshops to keep your employees updated on the latest threats and how to protect against them. You can also consider hiring a cybersecurity expert to provide training and guidance to your employees and automate attack simulations to ensure your employees are aware and prepared.
#6: Use Encryption for Data Transmission
Encryption is a powerful tool for protecting your data from cyberattacks, especially when transmitting it over the internet. By encrypting your data, you will ensure that it is secure and can only be accessed by authorized parties.
You should use encryption when sending sensitive data over the internet, such as via email or online forms. Consider using a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt traffic, making it invisible at any time.
Steve E. Driz, I.S.P., ITCP