With technology continuing to advance rapidly, we’re starting to see the emergence of new technologies with newer and better functionalities(opens in a new tab) than the ones already in existence. As these new tech developments gain wider adoption, it has also increased many organizations’ risk of data breaches. Cyberattacks and data breaches are not a new theme, but as technologies develop so do the threats, highlighting the vital need for strict cybersecurity measures.
There are a variety of cyber threats, and they can come from different directions. With technology, a significant part of our lives and something that we live and breathe both during work hours and in our personal lives, cybercrime growth has also increased exponentially, costing individuals and corporate organizations hundreds of billions worldwide. Every new feature, functionality, and technological access port acts as an avenue for hackers and cyber thieves to enter your network and corrupt it.
There are different types of cyberattacks you should be aware of:
- Phishing: this is an act of sending fraudulent messages mainly through emails appearing to come from reliable and reputable sources.
- Hacking/malware: this is the use of malicious software such as viruses, ransomware, spyware, and worms.
- Denial-of-service attacks: this is the flooding of systems such as networks or servers with traffic so that the bandwidth or resources are exhausted, ultimately leading to fulfilling legitimate request disruption.
- Man-in-the-Middle attacks: this is when the attackers put themselves in a transaction involving two parties mostly through malware or the use of unsecured public WiFi.
- Structured query language (SQL) injection: this is when an attacker inserts malicious code into a server using SQL, forcing the server to disclose its proprietary information.
- Zero-day exploit: this only happens when a network’s vulnerability is announced just before implementing the solution.
These security threats have hit different industries and organizations, so having a cybersecurity strategy in place is essential in order to protect your company and yourself.
To help you ensure that you don’t fail in your cybersecurity, check out the following five tips and look to implement them both in your business as well as be inspired for your personal life.
1. Host a Cybersecurity Training for Your Employees
Ensuring that all your employees go through cybersecurity training is one of the best ways to secure your organization. According to a State of the Industry report(opens in a new tab) in 2018, human errors like unintentionally losing a document or device, unlocking a device while it isn’t attended to, etc. accounted for 47% of accidental employee mistakes that ultimately led to a breach of security in their organizations. In other words, there is a significant connection between your employees’ being aware of and adhering to cybersecurity best practices and the chances of cyberattacks. Again, being properly educated on the risks and best practices is crucial in minimizing risk.
Integrated training and awareness programs for cybersecurity in your organization’s processes. Some ideas to implement are:
- Have zero tolerance for using social media platforms (unless for work purposes) and personal email accounts on the company’s device.
- During the employee onboarding process include appropriate cybersecurity training.
- Invite cybersecurity instructors and guest speakers to give presentations or special training.
- Create a schedule where you regularly audit data access. This will ensure that only present and employees that should have access to the information do, while ex-workers or ex-staff of the companies do not.
2. Use a Firewall Solution to Protect Your Network
When it comes to the firewall for your business, there are specific questions that you need to ask yourself:
- Is your firewall useful in monitoring the outgoing and incoming traffic in your network?
- Is it able to effectively prevent viruses and other harmful invasions?
- Does the firewall help your network operate at maximum capacity by adequately managing the network bandwidth?
The firewall of your network is the coverage epicenter for your IT dataflow. You have to continually monitor it to ensure your whole network is secure and efficiently prevent advanced threats.
3. Protect Your Employees, Regardless of Their Location or Where They’re Connecting
The workplace dynamics have started to shift from the office headquarters into a more flexible, remote, mobile, or combined workspace. This will also mean that employees may work at non-traditional hours. But it also requires real-time connectivity on different devices like phones, laptops, tablets, etc. Irrespective of where your employees connect to your network, you have to protect it. As they connect to different places with different devices, it becomes increasingly more difficult to offer the needed protection. The fact that they can connect from other sites and don’t know where you can set your project up for protection makes you vulnerable as there’s a gap to be exploited in your cyberdefense. Cyber attackers can leverage this and use it as their entry point into your organization’s network, and they’ll be able to cause havoc.
4. Carry Out Internal Threat Tests
One way to test the recognition and effectiveness of phishing attempts is with a phishing simulation test. You can use several approaches to stifle these attempts.
You can also regularly carry out penetration tests as part of your organization’s cybersecurity plan. Here, running a simulated attack on your organization’s system and network with the same techniques and tools of a cybercriminal would show the different points of vulnerability and strengths in your cybersecurity system. It would help if you carried out the penetration tests regularly, at least every quarter so that you can obtain and maintain optimal security levels(opens in a new tab).
5. Try out multi-factor authentication to make your password security stronger
There are different reasons for multi-factor authentication and single sign-on authentication. Single sign-on leverages on other sites that they trust for verification of the users’ identities before they are allowed to access the necessary information with one ID and password (that may be verified in other trusted sites, but the sites don’t keep it in their database). Multi-factor authentication gives the user the network access after they have presented at least two pieces of evidence successfully from one of the following:
- Something that they are (voice, fingerprint, etc.)
- Something that they have (chip, access card, etc.)
- Something that they know (password)
There are many solutions that you can use that are affordable, easy to use, and effective to reduce risks of cyberattacks and also prevent the case of user breach.
Cyberattacks(opens in a new tab) are rampant in today’s world. So much so that it is practically guaranteed that businesses of all sizes no matter how big or small will be attacked at some point. However, these attacks don’t happen on their own and they don’t happen in a vacuum. There are different variables at play, both in terms of the attacker or threat as well as the target. In turn, cybersecurity is now, more than ever, essential in both your personal and business life to help combat these cyber threats. Minimize the risk through proper information and training so that you and any of your employees are not caught off guard. Thankfully, with these five tips, you’re well on your way!
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