2020 has brought us numerous curveballs, one of them being a massive shift in traditional workforces. Many companies have moved to remote or hybrid structures, which brought on new security issues. The line between our online and offline lives is almost indistinguishable, and in these tech-fueled times it’s more important than ever to keep security top of mind.
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The overarching theme for Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2020 is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” The theme empowers individuals and organizations to own their role in protecting their part of cyberspace. If everyone does their part – implementing stronger security practices, raising community awareness, educating vulnerable audiences or training employees – our interconnected world will be safer and more resilient for everyone.
Here are 12 cyber readiness tips to help prepare your business for potential threats and do your part!
1.) Have A Cyber Readiness Plan
With headlines full of cyberattacks and security breaches victims, it is time to take the risks seriously. The success and survival of your business will be determined by your ability to overcome security threats or breaches. You need a cyber readiness plan that includes elements of prevention, continuity and recovery strategies.
2.) Establish Strict Policies and Procedures
Policies and procedures regulate business operations and are essential for defining the standards and expectations of employee behavior and actions in the workplace. While establishing strict, security focused protocols is essential, a system of validation and enforcement is equally important. After all, rules without consequences are merely suggestions.
3.) Keep Updates — Up to Date
While updates often introduce new or enhanced features into your apps, programs and systems, they also install security and performance fixes known as patches. Undiscovered defects or flaws can leave your systems exposed. Hackers will exploit any vulnerability or security gap they find. Keeping your systems updated is vital for keeping your business cyber ready.
4.) Force Authentication
One-level security is no longer enough. Even the strongest passwords are vulnerable to theft or exposure. Requiring more than one method to authenticate user identity or access permissions can reduce or eliminate the risk of stolen or unauthorized credentials being utilized.
5.) Back Up Everything!
Data is the lifeblood of every business. Unfortunately, the risks and threats to the protection, privacy and usability of that data are endless. Follow the 3-2-1 method for backups; a minimum of three unique copies of your data, two available locally and one off-site or in the cloud. Make sure to test your backups often for functionality and integrity.
6.) Don’t Neglect Compliance
Maintaining regulatory compliance is mandatory for many organizations. While navigating and satisfying the obligations can be complicated and stressful, achieving compliance is a critical component of having a cyber ready business. Security and privacy are integral elements of compliance.
7.) Continuous Network Intelligence
Knowledge is power. A critical component of cyber readiness is having on-demand insight of anomalous activities, suspicious changes, potentially harmful misconfigurations or any other malicious activities occurring internally on your network. Promptly detect and remove threats before they cause damage.
8.) Security Awareness Training
Users are the weakest link in security, given a lack of education and experience. Instituting a security awareness training program for every member of your staff will significantly reduce the probability of user-related errors and exposures.
9.) Combat the Password Crisis
With over 80% of hacking-related breaches linked to weak, reused or stolen passwords, user credentials are emerging as the top vulnerability for businesses. Balance convenience and security by monitoring the dark web for exposed credentials, implementing multi-factor authentication, and streamlining control of password management.
10.) Don’t Skip the Insurance
Increasing risks and threats of data breaches and ransomware, regardless of size or industry, have prompted many businesses to adopt Cyber Risk Insurance to protect themselves from catastrophic loss. Investing in a cyber insurance policy could save your business should you be the next victim.
11.) Reduce Supply Chain Vulnerabilities
Nearly two-thirds of firms (65%) have experienced cyber-related issues in their supply chain in the past year. As a part of your cyber readiness plan, you must deploy protocols to evaluate and monitor the security of your supplier networks and third-party vendors.
12.) Deploy a Multi-Layer Security Strategy
Security is asymmetrical. Where businesses must plan, prepare and defend against every threat or scenario, cybercriminals only need to find a single weakness or hole in your defenses to carry out their malicious plans. Protect your data and your business by deploying multiple security strategies together as one.