There’s no way to cover every aspect of cybersecurity in a single article—which is why companies hire professionals and staff highly-skilled IT departments—but there are a few very basic rules and resources that every business can put into practice.
These measures can make all the difference between reducing your business’ risk of a breach, and open the doors wide to a hacker.
First, the basics: your company’s employees are quite possibly the weakest link in your cyber security defenses.
Too many companies do not have a computer use policy in place, one that addresses both the company-owned technology and personal devices that connect over the business’ network. They also tend to be short on comprehensive and ongoing technology training, such as providing information that covers the latest threats like boss phishing and ransomware attacks.
Once employees have become well-versed in the best practices for securing your company’s network, it’s time to look at your technology and network itself.
Make sure your business has invested in strong antivirus and antimalware software, ones that will protect your computers in real-time. Many of these programs can block infections from installing even if something slips through. Set calendar alerts to check for updates to this software and to run scans of your hard drives and server routinely. Finally, make sure all of your software, hardware, and your network are password protected with strong, unique passwords that you change on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, all of this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your business’ cybersecurity needs. That’s why it’s important to find out what resources are available to you and to sign up for alerts about the latest threats and protocols.
1. Test your company’s fraud health with this free training and Fraud Prevention Checklist from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). This PDF, available free to both ACFE members and non-members, contains valuable resources in your company’s ongoing fight against fraud. It also includes the video “Fraud and the Tone at the Top: Ethics in the Executive Suite.”
2. The National Cyber Security Alliance offers informative tools on its website, StaySafeOnline.org. These tools are meant for any type of tech user, including families and parents, but the information is an excellent starting point for businesses as well.
3. When it comes to setting up employee training, the National Cybersecurity Society can help. Their resources can help you identify your company’s areas of weakness, and tailor your training and policy manual to your industry.
4. If your business is charged with gathering and storing customers’, vendors’, or employees’ data, you’re sitting on a gold mine for a hacker. The Better Business Bureau has an entire site dedicated to helping you understand how to safely store your important data and how to respond in the event of a breach.
Remember, it doesn’t matter what industry your business is in, or if your company is a profit-based or a non-profit entity: if you have a network, there’s a good chance there’s a hacker willing to work their way in. Securing your technology is a vital step to keeping your business in operation.