Your business needs to prioritise cybersecurity, no matter your size and no matter your industry. Every business with digital assets faces cybersecurity threats. This list of cybersecurity practices will provide you with a deeper knowledge of the risks you need to identify, the assets you should be protecting, and how to plan for the worst.
1. Inventory your I.T. assets.
You can’t protect what you don’t know you have. An important first step is to inventory all your business technology. This includes hardware such as company desktops, mobile devices, and routers; plus, you’ll need a current list of all software and applications you use. This will evolve, so plan on updating your inventory asset list on a regular basis.
Encrypt any mobile devices and make sure you have the ability to wipe those devices clean. That way, if a laptop or smartphone is stolen or goes missing, you have control of the data.
Note: If staff bring their own devices, you need to inventory those devices too where possible. You’ll want to establish a policy for the types of devices people can connect. You should also limit the apps users can download, as they could harbour malware or other risks.
2. Perform a risk assessment
Once you have an IT inventory, it’s easier to perform a risk assessment. Besides the hardware and software you have to secure, you’ll also want to determine your data assets. For example, if you’re in healthcare, you have patient health information to protect. If you’re in retail, you have to protect payment information. Other valuable assets could include trade secrets, employee details, and market trend data.
You might also be at risk because of the role you play in the supply chain. As part of the assessment, consider the most critical threats you face. Maybe your industry is often targeted by hackers or you’re using legacy technology that you haven’t yet replaced. It’s time to have a think about it.
3. Maintain a strong password policy
Your business will better protect customer, employee, and proprietary data by calling for strict password guidelines. An easy step is to encourage staff to use password generators to ensure password complexity and to encourage the use of encrypted-password managers to securely store all those unmemorable passwords.
You should make a habit of requiring password changes on a scheduled timeline or when data breaches occur. Finally, use multi-factor authentication to add an extra layer of protection to your user access.
4. Limit user access
Following on from passwords, it’s time to manage your staff’s user access privileges. Give team members the ability to only access the tools they need to complete tasks. This follows the Principle of Least Privilege for restricting access rights. It’s like the “need to know” principle you hear about in spy movies. Limiting user access can minimise the damage caused by a breach.
5. Protect your end points
In 2022, it’s never been as important to manage your end points. There was a time when you would only need to set up firewalls around your business systems to keep the bad guys out that way. Now that more people are working remotely or in hybrid environments, however, you need to protect all IT end points to establish stronger security parameters.
Firewalls check all your incoming and outgoing traffic, but if you have a hybrid workforce, you need to employ other cybersecurity methods. Geofencing, for example, tracks access based on the internet protocol address. Antivirus software and malware removal tools also play an important role.
6. Update your I.T.
Maintaining your staff’s current web browsers, software, and operating systems supports your security profile. Manufacturers update their technology to block attacks when threats or vulnerabilities are detected. If you ignore an update notification, you could be leaving your business at risk. If you’re relying on old technology, think twice. Cybercriminals are known to target legacy infrastructure, because they know that people get complacent and don’t upgrade, even when security support is no longer available.
7. Secure your WiFi
If you haven’t changed the default password on your WiFi device at work, do so now. Also, plan to rotate the passwords for your WiFi to keep the network safer. In your work environment, use separate guest and business networks. Limit both the access and how long someone can be online using the guest network.
Another good idea? Turn off your WiFi during business ‘off’ hours. Leaving it on makes it more likely a hacker can get in when no one is there to notice. You should also restrict off-site WiFi use by your employees. When they connect from outside of your business, require them to be on private, encrypted WiFi.
8. Monitor for threats
You’ll also want to set up scanning software to look for trends and quickly spot a possible attack or vulnerability. Monitoring your data logs and user access behaviour can also help you spot activity that you don’t want.
Keep yourself aware and up to date on all the latest threats. Product manufacturers work to stay abreast of what cybercriminals actors are up to, which can help you to stay informed about any new threats discovered. This will help you know what signs to look for and be proactive for your business.
9. Educate your employees
This one is extremely important. Employees are often the weakest link in your cybersecurity. Mistakes will happen, and people grow more careless over time. Make ongoing awareness a priority, and don’t just rely only on an onboarding cybersecurity session.
You might even test your employees’ ability to identify phishing scams and ransomware. You should also be changing your security policies regularly to reflect changing security trends. Communicate those new policies to your employees and offer training sessions as needed.
10. Backup your data
Having a backup plan can help secure your business data if the worst happens. Data backup best practices include:
- implementing a data backup process;
- keeping more than one data backup
- encrypting data backups
- Limiting access to your data backups
- Test your backups.
Regularly scheduled data backups can help you through a hack or other emergency. But don’t rely entirely on automated backups. Something could go wrong, and you might not know until you need that backup. Setup a process in your business for a human evaluation of the data backup process.
11. Plan for data recovery
If you really want to avoid a long term catastrophe; plan ahead for the worst. Data recovery is smoother and faster if you proactively evaluate and test your process. Write down the steps you will take if a breach occurs or a natural disaster strikes, and know who in your company is responsible for what. Decisions to return to business as usual are easier if you put a process in place first, as it’s far more difficult to do this when you’re in the midst of crisis stress.
Does your business need a Cybersecurity checkup?
Ultimately, every business needs to expect and prepare for a cybersecurity crisis. The above information helps you gauge risk and put plans in place to protect assets and recover sooner. However, if you’re not an expert and you need to focus on the running of your business, you might need some help as this can all feel a little overwhelming. There’s no need to worry!
Don’t stay in the dark about your IT security vulnerabilities. Schedule a cybersecurity audit to uncover vulnerabilities so they can be fortified to reduce your risk.
Looking to become more cyber-aware? ITM Tech provide a number of cybersecurity solutions and training services for businesses in Kildare and Dublin, including:
- Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery
- Email Filtering
- Incident Response Plans
- Phishing and cybersecurity Training
If you need a dedicated IT company, with a team of trained professionals who can manage your company’s cybersecurity, look no further than ITM Tech! Based in Naas, Co Kildare, ITM Tech supplies and implements reliable technical support for your entire IT environment.
We are dedicated to quickly and effectively resolving cybersecurity issues, leaving you to concentrate on running your business. Contact our experts today at 045 409984 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about cybersecurity and what we can offer you, check out our last blog; Is Your Business Ready To Prevent, Detect And Respond To Cyber Attacks?