Today, cyber threats are a common problem for all organizations and individuals. Actually, everyone can become a victim, and the consequences may be very upsetting. If individuals can cope with such a problem by themselves, companies and organizations are advised to think beforehand about the proper security level. That will greatly help them to save their money and reputation.
However, even if your company has a security operation center, you must be sure that everything is organized properly there. Moreover, it is recommended to test your systems via such tools as pen testing and red teaming, which help to evaluate the level of existing protection.
Here, we are going to discuss the basics and those steps and instruments that belong to the to-do list for proper information security. They are not as hard to implement as they may seem, and the result will be definitely worth spending your time on cyber security issues.
Basic Cyber Security Tips
In 2022, cybersecurity should be the focus of all companies and organizations. Some small and medium enterprises may view cyber defense as a secondary concern or may not have in-house resources or expertise. Nevertheless, it is a matter of great importance to protect your company now and in the future.
Somehow, it may seem that cyber awareness of medium and small companies is less than for their big counterparts. In many cases, they really don’t have a lot of funds that can be utilized for this purpose. Still, there are some basic steps that may be implied even without some huge resources. Let us get acquainted with them.
Software must be updated
One of the most common ways hackers gain access to systems is through software vulnerabilities. All software has flaws, and developers often release patches and updates whenever they close those loopholes.
Failure to ensure that all software you use is up to date will only increase your risk profile. Updating so many devices can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have an IT department to answer to.
Luckily, many apps can be set to update automatically, so be sure to check with the vendors of the software you’re using.
For all your IT devices, make sure the software is always up to date. Regular updates are critical to improving security. Operating systems, programs, and software should be set to update automatically whenever possible.
Keep hardware up to date
It is not necessary to always follow the latest technological innovations, but you should at least keep your software up to date. Because software developers are aware of the risk of software vulnerabilities, they offer periodic updates.
However, these new updates may not be compatible with your device’s hardware. As a result, the equipment becomes outdated and not suitable for running the latest versions of software – avoid such risks.
Create strong passwords
A password is an important component of protection against hackers, that is, part of data loss prevention programs. That is why most companies have policies in place to create and manage passwords. It is generally accepted practice to use passwords that are created according to the following characteristics:
- Have at least 8 characters.
- Combine numbers, letters, and some characters.
- Do not utilize any personal data.
The main thing is not to save passwords in the browser. After stolen Facebook, Google, and online banking logins are posted on a hacking forum, it takes an average of nine minutes before the first attempt to log in to your account.
Also, in most browsers, the cache and cookies store confidential information that you enter on various sites, including mail services and social networks. It is necessary to regularly clean them and remove the save password check box when entering confidential data on the site.
Use multiple layers of protection
Sometimes, the password is not enough to protect your data. As an additional layer, it is recommended to use multi-factor authentication for online accounts, electronic devices, or computer networks. For example, when you not only enter a password but also have to fill in a code that comes in a message to the other device.
It seems that most medium and small companies do not require remote workers to use any additional methods for their authentication. However, some of them have started to use this practice and verify the identity of the user not only by an additional password that is sent to the other device but also by using biometric identification.
In addition, do not neglect the additional protection layer if most team members work using unsecured home and public networks.
Maintain a secure connection
It is necessary to constantly monitor computer networks for anomalous activity that can signal real-time data leakage. In addition, you can utilize a number of tools to ensure the security of the connection.
Virtual private networks (VPNs) are very handy tools that allow you to secure all the data transmitted from your devices:
- They use secure communication protocols and high levels of data encryption to make sure everything you send or receive is private.
- Using a VPN protects devices not only in the office but also on the road. This means that as long as your employees and you use a VPN, you can work securely from anywhere in the world.
Furthermore, antivirus software should be used on all devices, from PCs to laptops and mobile phones. The most reputable Internet security companies have special plans for small business owners, which allow them to protect all their devices with a single license.
You can also choose from different types of Internet security apps. Some basic ones may only offer antivirus features, while more complete versions will be fully loaded with a few features.
Think about backups in advance
All companies should regularly back up important data. Critical data, such as customer details, invoices, financial information, and more, are vital to your business. If this information is lost, it will be a big problem.
Making regular backups can ensure that all important data can be restored at any time. What’s more, backups can be easily automated so that people don’t waste money on such routine tasks.
Today, there are many easy-to-use and low-cost data backup applications or services suitable for small businesses. If you don’t want to use dedicated backup software, at least use cloud storage and perform manual backups. Using cloud technologies means your data is separated from your geographic location, reducing the risk of physical damage.
Conduct cybersecurity training for employees
Employees can make your business vulnerable to attack. Research shows that half of the data breaches are caused by employees who intentionally or unintentionally give cybercriminals access to your networks.
There are many attack scenarios involving employees. For example, an employee lost their work tablet, leaked credentials, or opened a scam email that launched a virus onto the network.
To protect yourself from insider threats, train your employees on cybersecurity. Teach them how they should act if they receive a suspicious email, for example.
Keep in mind that the human factor poses one of the biggest risks in this area, and attacks now happen on a daily basis. That is why one needs to educate regularly, educate the family and workers about cybersecurity, and be persistent about it. For both small and medium-sized companies and large organizations, there are fantastic and often free resources to help them get there.
Control access to data and apps
Hackers use not only an employee’s personal laptop to obtain data but also any device from which he/she enters the company’s local network, which can be a smartphone, a tablet, etc. It is important to inventory work devices to understand who owns a particular laptop or smartphone, where it is now, and which of them is connected to the company network.
To do this, you can utilize:
- A service that permits administrators to manage access to network resources. This is a data store or a huge directory containing data about the company’s general resources and devices that are used for everyday work.
- Also, you can use a system that collects all network activity in one place in the form of a comprehensible data set. They help security professionals monitor the company’s security perimeter.
- To control and protect employees’ mobile devices, use systems for mobile device management. This is a corporate mobile device control system in which employees’ smartphones are registered.
Secure employee devices against malware and ransomware
Make sure the employee working from home uses an encrypted Wi-Fi network. In addition, it is better to change the default password for the router. The default password is the weak link in data security. And so, an attacker can gain access to the device by intercepting all the data you send through it.
It is also important to properly configure the firewall on the employee’s router.
Don’t underestimate the danger and risks
There are many types of attacks that hackers can carry out, so business owners should at least pay attention to some key points. Regardless of their primary purpose, any of these methods can harm your business and take a long time to sort out.
Advanced persistent threats (APT)
These long-term targeted attacks are mainly for theft, espionage, or hacking. Intrusion into the network can be carried out covertly and in several stages. After gaining access, attackers may even do nothing for a long time, waiting for strategic moments to occur.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
DDoS attacks are designed to disrupt a network or website by flooding it with requests and information. When the server can no longer handle the flood, the services start to crash and eventually shut down.
Phishing is a very common cybersecurity threat. According to reports, thousands of people have been victims of phishing attacks and related attacks with over millions of dollars in losses.
This is the act of sending fraudulent emails that look like real ones to entice recipients to send back sensitive data. Phishing attacks are usually aimed at capturing user credentials, such as usernames and passwords, or even financial information.
Over the past few years, ransomware has grown in popularity and targets a wide range of victims. Unknown victims may find that all their hard drives are encrypted with a note asking them to pay a ransom for the decryption key. Users who don’t pay usually lose all their data.
Loss of valuable data, hacking, and the human factor constantly remind us of the threats and risks emerging in the virtual world. The money that can be lost through data leakage and a bad impact on reputation can be significant. That is why it is better to think about protection beforehand and do all the necessary steps to avoid such problems.
However, how can you do all this?
One person will not be able to cope with all the issues even in a small company. Therefore, many organizations create security centers and departments. On one hand, it is good to have a responsible team who knows its work. On the other hand, it may be a bit costly. And actually, the hardest step is setting up the security system.
For this purpose, you can search for a reliable vendor who can organize your cyber security from scratch and provide your company with all the needed instruments for further secure work. Such companies also organize training for employees so you can apply the whole cyber security culture and avoid worries about further steps that you need to do to stay well-protected.
Working with the right technology partner to achieve your security goals is key. Diesec is a recognized and trusted leader that can offer you personalized support for the benefits and needs of your business. The company offers a support service that can provide customized advice on the benefits of your specific environment and needs. Therefore, you can find here comprehensive cybersecurity services for your company and get all you need for proper protection in one place.
Questions and Answers
Why is cyber security important for business?
Cybersecurity incidents can be devastating to companies and businesses in terms of both money and reputation. This blow can be especially harmful to small organizations. In addition, they will then need a lot of time to recover from such an attack.
What is a business disruption in cyber security?
There are many ways for business disruption, such as sending confidential information via the company’s email, an insecure connection of different devices, and the use of networks by remote workers. It means that businesses can be attacked from many sources and reveal significant information to hackers.
What does cyber security consist of in retail business?
For retail businesses looking to secure their networks from common attacks, it is essential to install the basic software. If building reliable networks and using powerful firewalls is costly, the company may implement at least device-level security and teach the team the basic security rules.
How much should I spend on cyber security for a small business?
The cost of implementing, maintaining, and upgrading the main security components is to some extent included in the budget of all companies. They include anti-virus protection, firewalls, redundancy, access control, and intrusion detection systems. There are different pricing policies for them, so you can choose those options that suit you best.
What is a business network in cyber security?
Such a network allows you to securely access a digital asset, regardless of location. Moreover, the system that protects you is not concentrated in one place, but each user gets individual protection. This model is especially popular today when we use cloud technologies and increase the number of remote workers.
Why is cyber security crucial for your business?
The real manifestations of cyber-attacks are hardly predictable, and their result is significant financial and economic losses or unpredictable consequences of disruptions in the functioning of information and telecommunication systems that affect the financial and economic security of the business and the process of its consumption.