Modern technology has made it easy to run your business entirely online. With the power of the internet, businesses can connect with clients all over the world. However, online businesses are also vulnerable to hackers from all over the world as well.
No business is completely safe from digital threats, regardless of the size of your organization or what industry you are in. This is why it is so important to have a cybersecurity strategy in place for your company. Part of that strategy should include best practices for all of your employees to follow in their work. Here are some of the biggest cybersecurity threats facing small businesses today, as well as the cybersecurity best practices your team can use to combat them.
Today’s Top Cybersecurity Threats
Because technology is changing so rapidly, cybersecurity threats are changing very rapidly as well. Understanding modern cybersecurity threats is key to preventing them from happening to your team.
Phishing and other forms of social engineering are particularly common right now. In a phishing attack, the hacker will send an email, SMS, or social media message posing as a trusted contact in an attempt to gain access to secure information. For example, a hacker might pose as your bank or as a popular tech company like Amazon or Google to get access to your login information.
Malware is another major cybersecurity threat to keep an eye out for. Malware are dangerous software programs designed to steal information or compromise your systems in some way. There are many different types of malware, including ransomware, spyware, adware, and more. Ransomware is particularly prevalent right now. Ransomware steals valuable pieces of data to hold hostage and charges the target a large sum of money to return it.
These are just two of the most common cybersecurity threats out there right now. Others to watch out for include DDOS attacks, SQL injections, and man-in-the-middle attacks. Hackers are constantly working to develop new cybersecurity threats as well, which is why it is so important to stay informed.
Cybersecurity Best Practices For Your Employees
In order for your cybersecurity strategy to be fully effective, your entire team needs to be on board. Implementing cybersecurity best practices across your company not only reduces the chances of a cyber attack happening, but it also minimizes confusion and keeps everyone on the same page. It’s also important to make sure your team has the cybersecurity resources and training to use these best practices.
1. Use secure passwords and two-factor authentication for all accounts.
Passwords serve as the first layer of defense for your secure accounts, so it’s very important that every password across your entire organization is a secure one. Strong passwords are complex and difficult to guess, with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. They should not be related to your birthday or other personal information that a hacker could easily look up.
Additionally, everyone across the company should implement two-factor authentication for their accounts. This means that you will have to enter an additional code sent to your phone or email in addition to your password in order to log into your account.
2. Implement firewalls across your systems.
Firewalls are another very important component of any cybersecurity strategy. Firewalls essentially filter out suspicious web traffic on your network to keep hackers out. Your in-office networks should all have firewalls, but employees working from home should also have them. Offer firewall software to your remote employees and provide training on how to use it.
3. Use secure WiFi networks, especially during remote work.
When working remotely, it’s important to make sure your WiFi network is secure. In general, you’ll want to avoid public WiFi networks and stick to using secure networks at home or at the office. If your team needs to work on the go, encourage them to use secure private hotspots and VPNs to protect themselves.
4. Carefully monitor emails for phishing attacks.
Since phishing attacks are so common, all employees will need to be vigilant when opening emails and social media messages. Before opening a message, check to make sure it is from a sender you recognize and that the email address is correct. Avoid clicking any links or opening any attachments from senders you do not recognize.
5. Use anti-virus software.
Having your employees install updated anti-virus software on their work devices is a simple policy that prevents malware damage. Anti-virus software provides an extra layer of protection for your systems. Even if a virus does make its way onto your device, the anti-virus software prevents it from accessing your data or damaging your system.
6. Update your systems regularly.
Encourage all of your employees to regularly update all of the software programs they use and the devices themselves. Updates will fix vulnerabilities that developers have identified, which keeps your data safer and helps your systems run better as well. Scheduling time for system updates across the entire organization can be an efficient way to do this.
7. Have multiple copies of your data and back them up frequently.
To protect against ransomware and other forms of data theft, you’ll need to keep multiple copies of your organization’s data. The data should be stored in different places – for example, having a main copy stored in the cloud and a secondary copy on premise. Have your employees back up their data frequently. This ensures that you’ll still have access to your data in an emergency.
8. Vet third-party service providers carefully.
Third-party service providers help you run your business more efficiently, but they also present some additional security risks, especially if they have access to any pieces of valuable or sensitive data. When selecting third-party providers to work with, take the time to learn about their cybersecurity policies to ensure they align with yours.
Many of these cybersecurity best practices are easy for your employees to implement and can go a long way toward protecting your organization from hackers. Scheduling regular cybersecurity meetings and training sessions is an effective way to get everyone on the same page.
Carl is Co-Founder and President of eMazzanti Technologies, CISSP, Microsoft Gold Partner and WatchGuard Platinum One Partner, leading one of the premier IT consulting services for businesses throughout the New York metropolitan area and internationally. The firm manages the Cyber Security coverage for over 400 active organizations ranging from professional services firms to high-end global retailers.
eMazzanti is all about delivering powerful, efficient, Cyber Security tools and outsourced IT services, such as computer network management and troubleshooting, threat hunting, PCI DSS compliance, security awareness implementations, mobile workforce technology, malware remediation, cloud computing, and business continuity and disaster recovery.