Ever since the internet has been around, people have been trying to find ways to manipulate and subvert companies’ websites for malicious reasons. Today, with so many businesses online, and so many people sharing their valuable and sensitive information over the internet, the threat is all too real.
Businesses must take cybersecurity seriously. There are major consequences for failing to do so. With privacy regulations in place, companies may face fines and other punitive measures for failing to secure data. Attacks can take out entire websites and networks, causing all kinds of problems when staff and visitors can’t access what they need. Cybercrimes are also something that consumers care about deeply, and a company that falls prey to a data breach or similar event may end up shuttering due to the hit to its reputation.
The proof of this threat lies in the statistics and numbers behind cybercrime and cybersecurity. Last year, in 2018, the average ransomware attack cost a company $5 million, a figure that could decimate a business. On top of that, stats show that it takes organizations an average of 191 days to identify a data breach, which is long enough for a cybercriminal to do major damage.
Your organization needs to be proactive about cybersecurity instead of scrambling to react and contain damage. Here’s what you can do.
Audit your Cybersecurity
You can’t know what you need if you are not aware of what’s already happening. Assess your current security measures, any risks, threats, or vulnerabilities, and what is working (or not working). This lets your team know where to focus your efforts, as well as helps shape a plan to understand and mitigate risks in priority. This information informs every other step.
Get Buy-In From the Top Down
Cyber breaches and other attacks can often, unfortunately, be attributed to employees who inadvertently create a hole for criminals to enter. Whether it’s clicking a malicious link, opening a bad email attachment, failing to secure credentials, or otherwise taking shortcuts or making mistakes, these problems have to be stopped before they can start. That means making cybersecurity part of your corporate culture from the top down, which the hard data from your assessment can bolster.
Management and stakeholders need to know why security matters and what they, and others, can do to keep it at the forefront. When other employees see that upper levels of the business are on board, they will see the value in following policies and procedures as well, understanding that everyone is accountable.
Train Employees and Users
You cannot just tell people they need to be more secure, you have to show them what to do. Invest in training and education for employees and users so they are aware of best practices, and the consequences of failing to uphold these security policies and procedures. This regular training and education keeps cybersecurity practices fresh in the minds of employees, so they are more likely to adhere to the rules.
Invest in Strong Software
Gone are the days where a free anti-virus program is enough to secure your business. You need enterprise-level security software that is made for today’s cyber-world. A product feature like GroupLink PowerShare Security goes beyond the basics, ensuring access control, individual user roles with specific security login rights, and secured customer data.
Cybersecurity is an investment that pays off. Understand that your data is valuable enough for people to want to steal it, and protect it accordingly.
Do Some Cleaning
You likely do not use every program in your system, nor do you need the old accounts for employees who have long since left the company. These unused applications, accounts, and services are not just digital clutter, they’re a potential threat, acting as unsecured loopholes for hackers who need a way in. If anything has expired, delete it and make sure the credentials are wiped too. This digital cleaning should be part of your regular IT routine.
Maintain User Privileges and Roles
Similarly, as you are cleaning out systems and accounts, be sure that users only have access to what they need. (Again, refer to GroupLink PowerShare Security for a practical tool here.) Many businesses, especially smaller organizations, give too much access to people who don’t need it, which can cause problems both accidental and purposeful. Stick with giving people the least amount of user privileges they need to get their work done, and adjust as needed.
‘Back up your work’ has been drilled into our heads for a reason. It’s advice that still applies today, and while it is more of a reactionary measure than something proactive, if you find that your data has been compromised you will be happy to have a replacement for it. Consider creating several storage methods, off-site or on the cloud, to cover your bases.
In summary, management and stakeholders all need to know why security matters and what they, and others, can do to keep it at the forefront. Attention to these basic security principles will help you avoid security threats.