Data theft, ransomware, and other cyberattacks can devastating impact any business operations, especially if one hasn’t taken proper security measures to avert the same.
Many businesses have fallen victims to data theft and ransomware, causing major service disruptions and, worst of all, having to close shop. While there isn’t a fool-proof way to keep hackers and other malicious persons at bay, the best you can do is have the proper security measures and procedures in place.
While most data breaches can be damaging, they are relatively easy to avoid and prevent. All you need is to invest in the most up-to-date XDR cybersecurity measures to prevent your business from becoming a target. Unknown to many, you don’t need to spend more than you can afford to protect your business. The top 10 simple, practical, yet effective ways to keep your data safe and secure are outlined below.
Create A Formal IT Security Strategy
Every business, big or small, should have a well-laid out security strategy outlining how to protect company data and resources and how to contain a situation if the worst happens. With the policy in place, you will have the upper hand and know what/how to react to a data breach, rather than making decisions in the heat of the moment. Creating the IT security strategy is one thing; using it as a guideline and making necessary adjustments and updates is another. The IT sector is constantly evolving; let the laid-out plans evolve with it.
Secure Your Network and Computers from Malware
Malware is one of the worst forms of intrusion your business can have. It would help if you thus took the proper measures to keep your networks and digital devices (computers, laptops, etc.) safe and secure from these. The worst thing about malware is that it can run discreetly in your computer systems undetected for long enough, collecting vital/damaging data. You can, however, protect yourself from malware attacks by:
– Turn on/install a firewall: Firewalls help prevent unauthorized traffic and packets from penetrating your network and computer systems. At the very least, turn on your router’s firewall, then start thinking of installing a more robust firewall system with time.
– Install PC protection software: You will need a strong PC protection software to detect and prevent most known viruses and infections without affecting the PC and network’s performance. Good security software should be capable of dealing with malicious websites, identity theft, and hacking attempts, all in one place.
– Install anti-spam, and email protection software: Most hackers use malicious emails to penetrate networks and computer systems. Having a system in place to scan all incoming/outgoing emails for malicious code and bugs and filtering them out can help lower your risk of becoming a target.
Secure Your Wireless Networks
Unlike wired networks, wireless networks are susceptible to breaches, especially if it is unsecured or you’ve used the default security settings. Leaving your Wi-Fi network open makes it possible for anyone to log in from a distance and, if tech-savvy enough, take control of both the network and computer systems connected to it. Secure your wireless networks using the strongest security setting possible, and use a unique key/password. Making the network invisible will also go a long way in protecting your business, leaving hackers and malicious people guessing.
Keep Your Passwords Secure
With dozens of online accounts and passwords to remember, many people resolve to use an easy-to-remember password for all their accounts. Unknown to them, this only leaves all these accounts and profiles exposed should someone guess their passwords right. Cybersecurity experts recommend creating passwords at least 8 characters long with a mix of letters, numbers, and special symbols. You also should change these passwords at least once every 3 months for improved security. Remembering complicated passwords can be a challenge for many, a reason you might want to use a password manager. Password managers make it possible for employees to access data and profiles they have clearance to without ever remembering or writing down the passwords.
Have A Well-Laid Out Plan for Personal Devices
According to this HR consultancy in Scotland, personal devices pose a serious IT security risk to your business, especially if any of them is already infected. Creating a plan governing the use of personal devices within the organization/business can, however help mitigate most of these risks. You can thus have a comprehensive guideline and policy touching on how these devices should be handled and location tracking, internet monitoring, and pertinent data deletion where possible.
For employees working remotely (with their personal devices), the business will need to make a provision on what they should do to avoid infecting the entire network. While working remotely has its benefits, it introduces a new security concern that ought to be managed efficiently.
Enable Automatic Software and Security Updates
Software and operating system developers create and dispatch software and security patches to help fix known vulnerabilities. Old and out-of-date operating systems and software are one of the easiest targets for hackers. Enabling automatic software and security updates on all systems helps ensure the systems get the latest updates as they are released, leaving them more secure than before. This makes it almost impossible for hackers to exploit known vulnerabilities the previous software version might have had.
Run Background Checks When Recruiting
Hackers can masquerade as new employees, a reason you want to be extra vigilant when looking to hire new staff. Running background checks on everyone interested in the positions can help protect the business from internal threats. It would also be advisable to keep an eye on current employees, especially if one starts showing signs of depression and character changes.
Enact Clear Guidelines on Data Disposal
How you dispose of company data (critical or not) makes a lot of difference security-wise. This is particularly important when disposing of hard drives, old computers, and anything else that may hold company data. Some of these systems could have crucial data/information on how to access one of various systems or data. That said, create guidelines on how such should be handled to avoid any data falling into the wrong hands.
Formatting hard drives, reinstalling the operating system, or deleting files and folders isn’t an option here. Even a cleanly formatted hard drive can contain files that could be recovered using readily-available data recovery systems. Experts recommend using tools known to overwrite and make data irrecoverable before disposing of the drives, computers, or phones.
Consider Cloud-Based Services
If managing computer systems and keeping them secure is too much, you should then consider switching to cloud-based services instead. These service providers provide industry-grade levels of data protection that small businesses wouldn’t be able to afford. The service provider is thus responsible for implementing various security measures, software patches, and data storage/security.
Sensitize Your Employees
Your employees play a crucial role in company data security. All the measures outlined above would be worthless if none of your employees understand data security or know what is required of them. Experts recommend enlisting them for bi-annual refresher courses to educate them on the various data security measures and practices. This is one of the best steps toward improved Cybersecurity within the company.