(Guest Post by Maddie Davis, Enlightened Digital)
The need for cybersecurity continues to increase as technology advances. Over the past few years, a number of major corporations have fallen victim to hackers due to seemingly minor oversights and a failure to properly manage vulnerabilities.
While the threat of cyberattacks is always present, you can take action to prevent some common susceptibilities and reduce your risk. To kickstart your security revamp, we’re breaking down a few high- and low-level precautions.
To improve your digital security, you can take precautionary action with some of these high- and low-level mitigation measures.
Security starts with proper management, so assigning a designated entity to oversee your organization’s security is crucial. When it comes to cybersecurity, this begins with effectively managing your admins.
When possible, enforce the principle of least privilege to control who can access what. Develop a clear plan that requires employees to gain explicit access to specific data, and be stringent in granting privileges only when necessary. Staying aware of organizational changes and team departures will also help prepare you to revoke or adjust privileges as needed.
Once access has been granted to the appropriate parties, the next security practice to implement is multi-factor authentication (MFA). As some companies learned the hard way, weak PIN numbers without a second, more secure authentication factor leave you open to attack. Never underestimate the determination of a hacker and never take password creation lightly.
Because identifying information like social security numbers or birth dates is potentially discoverable, it’s crucial to develop a follow-up authentication step that only the designated user can complete. When properly executed, MFA creates a layered defense that makes it more difficult for unauthorized persons to access a target account. MFA can be implemented through smart cards or token generators, sending a one-time password to the user’s phone or email, or scanning a fingerprint.
Beyond front-facing security precautions, there are several tools and tasks you can utilize to better secure your data. Conducting off-site backups and automated updates are two basic tactics you can implement to give you peace of mind.
Identity Finder CEO Todd Feinman recommends that your storage devices should not be accessible to unauthorized users. Developing a security control system that segregates users from your backups is your best bet for making data copies ransomware-proof.
For example, duplicating data and utilizing one data center in the U.S. and another in Asia protects you from losing everything from an isolated breach.
The most significant step you can take to safeguard your business is to keep up with each and every patch and upgrade as it’s released. According to Oracle CEO Mark Hurd, “The average patch takes about one year before it is integrated into [enterprise] systems.”
Considering what happens when a patch is even just a couple months late, the need for optimized patch management is greater than ever.
In short, patching is the process of repairing system vulnerabilities throughout different parts of an information system. All components of a networked infrastructure need to be kept up to date, including operating systems, servers, routers, desktops, email clients, office suites, mobile devices and many others.
As you can imagine, the number of system components that require regular upkeep can be overwhelming. While the process itself can be incredibly challenging, it’s important to get to work the moment a vulnerability is discovered. Immediate response prevents you from falling victim to a Zero Day Attack, which is an exploit that can occur as soon as a system weakness is publicized.
It’s highly recommended that you devise a patch management process as soon as possible to ensure that proper preventative measures are taken against potential threats. Implementing automated patch management systems can be helpful for companies of certain sizes, in the sense that they reduce the need for manual labor. If automation isn’t the right fit for your company, outsourcing vulnerability management to a qualified server in a remote location is another option.
For any of the aforementioned policies to be successful, you must inform your team of your expectations. Take time to thoroughly educate your employees about online threats and the roles each of them can play in protecting your business’s data.
Depending on the nature of your business, we recommend running a security assessment that can be used to develop your customized best practices plan. Emphasizing the importance of sharing business information securely, following the rules of user authorization, and observing password protocol are all crucial steps towards better cybersecurity, as is holding your employees accountable for any slip-ups.
Being fully prepared means training employees before a cyberattack occurs. A great way to get ahead of any potential problems is to hold regular cybersecurity training sessions. Starting this training during an employee’s initial onboarding and continuing with regularly scheduled educational events can keep employees engaged and aware of what to look out for, and warn them of certain habits to avoid.
After all, the number one threat to workplace cybersecurity is employees who leave laptops and mobile devices unattended in vulnerable places.
The fight against cyberattacks is ongoing, but you can get ahead of the threat through proper preparation and attention to detail. Security is not something to brush aside, so take the time to devise a strategy that works best for your company and keep it up to date.
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