September 21, 2015

13 Ways to Attain Cybersecurity Without Spending a Fortune

Hackers used to focus on big corporations and government bodies in order to steal data. However, we have seen a shift recently, and hackers are targeting smaller businesses and individuals instead.

This isn’t all that surprising. Bigger corporations not only have a bigger budget to spend on information-security personnel and technology, but they also have better relationships with law-enforcement. This lowers the odds of a hacker’s success and increases their chances of getting caught.

Many small businesses won’t use enough of their resources to increase their cybersecurity, and this leaves them at risk. However, there are some things they can do to become more secure online all while doing so on a budget.

1. Be aware

You must understand that you are a target, and you must convince your employees of that fact as well. People who know that they can be hacked by criminals will act differently than those who do not believe it is a possibility.

2. Offer basic security training

All your employees should have basic security training. They should know how to avoid cyber-risky behaviour that could open the door to hackers. Opening email attachments or clicking on links from unexpected mail messages, downloading music from random websites, or buying products online from unknown stores. Ask us about our training services!

3. Don’t give everyone access to everything

If one employee goes rogue or if a hacker gets access to one individual, you want to be able to limit the damage that ensues. Give employees access to only what they need to do their work, but not to everything else. Ask us how to manage your file security permissions!

4. Do your backups regularly

If you backup often enough, you’ll avoid the panic over lost data if something goes wrong and you need to restore from backup. Note that you shouldn’t keep backups attached to production networks. If malware gets into the network, it could corrupt your backups. Ensure that you have offsite backups as well as onsite backups. Ask us how we can help you maintain and store regular backups of all your systems!

5. Encrypt

Store your sensitive data in an encrypted format. If you’re not sure whether something warrants encryption, do it anyway to be safe.

6. Do not share credentials

Everyone should have his or her own login credentials when accessing a system. This will allow you to better audit people’s activities if necessary, but it also encourages people to better protect their passwords.

7. Use a password policy

Consider other strategies for password creation to avoid people using the same passwords for everything, such as a combination of words, numbers, and proper names. For very sensitive systems, consider stronger forms of authentication, like biometrics or multi-factor authentication. This is something we can help you with! Ask us how!

8. Implement social media policies

Social media posts can inadvertently leak sensitive information, violate compliance rules, and assist criminals in carrying out attacks. Implement social media policies and enforce them. Simply asking employees not to use social media or not to post particular things is not enough. They may not realize they are making inappropriate posts. Try using technology to limit and control social media at the office.

9. Use security software

All computer devices that have sensitive information, or are attached to networks that do, need to be armed with security software. Portable devices should have security software as well and should have remote wipe capabilities. This is something we can help you with, so ask us how!

10. Segregate Internet access

Implement a separate network for employees’ personal use. Most modern routers offer this capability.

11. Secure employees’ BYOD

If your employees are allowed to use their own devices for work, make sure there is security software on them. Also enforce social media policies with technology.

12. Comply with industry regulations

If your industry has specific regulations, ensure that your business complies with all of them.

13. Ask the professionals

Outsourcing an information-security company is cost-efficient and they’ll be able to help you with designing and implementing your cybersecurity approach. The cost of professional advice will pay for itself in the long run. Businesses often shy away from hiring IT professionals, but don’t forget: if you were being audited, you would hire an accountant; if you were being sued, you would hire a lawyer.

Inevitable cyber-attacks

It is nearly certain that one day, you will be cyber-attacked. Make sure you’re prepared. It doesn’t take much to form a proper defence. 60% of small businesses close within 6 months of a cyberattack so ask yourself this: is it worth playing the waiting game?

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