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  • Writer's pictureMaddie Cohen

10 Cybersecurity Best Practices for Businesses

Though some businesses are more susceptible than others, any company can fall victim to a cybercrime.

The truth is that cyber-attacks present a growing risk to not only individual businesses, but the economy at large. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed that in 2020, the cost of cybercrimes exceeded $2.7 billion. Yikes.

And while cybersecurity knowledge and preparation aren’t surefire strategies for keeping hackers, ransomware attacks, and other cybersecurity problems at bay, they can go a long way in mitigating risks.

You want to keep your sensitive information safe, right?

Of course you do. Here are 10 cybersecurity best practices that can help with exactly that:

1. Embrace team member privacy.

Data privacy awareness is greater than ever. To protect your employees’ privacy, you’ll want to make a point of anonymizing team member data and taking clear, transparent steps to safeguard it. Staff education is key as well, complete with presentations and training sessions on the impact of data privacy and cybersecurity laws.

Concerned your workers aren’t prioritizing privacy? Facilitate a mandatory all-staff meeting to discuss this crucial topic.

2. Assess your remote access security program.

Remote work has become our new normal (or at least more widespread). This makes developing a remote access security program more important than ever. Since many corporate employees have a habit of accessing business networkers via unsecured public Wifi outside the office, training and education on the risks involved are critical.

One precaution is to encourage—or require—the use of a virtual private network (VPN) when going online outside company headquarters.

3. Don’t forget about your third-party contractors.

We’re all connected. Many once-small businesses have gone global. And now more than ever, companies are hiring third-party contractors to fill the gaps in their services and skillsets. It’s important to note, though, that your contractors should be informed of your cybersecurity policies. You might even recommend they undergo the same training as your full-time staff.

The TL;DR? Everyone who has access to your business data needs to prioritize cybersecurity (and understand your unique protocol).

4. Add cybersecurity to your onboarding process.

We’ve mentioned training a few times now. And while cybersecurity training can be highly beneficial, you may also choose to add a cybersecurity section to your employee onboarding process. A number of surveys have found that two-thirds of all insider cybersecurity threats could have been prevented—and education is the first step in keeping cybercrimes at bay.

So, from their first day on the job, you’ll want to ensure workers are made aware of your company’s security-first culture.

5. Back up your business data.

Prevention is all well and good—but even with extensive security measures in place, you can still lose your sensitive information in a breach. The Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends backing up all word-processing documents, spreadsheets and databases, financial files, human resources information, and accounts payable and receivable documentation.

For an added layer of protection, be sure to back up all the data you store on the cloud as well.

6. Enforce quarterly password changes.

Frequent password changes are an inconvenience for employees, right? Wrong. Think again, because according to the Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, 89% of all web application breaches are the result of weak passwords. Though few small and medium-sized businesses enforce regular password changes, this practice really can make a difference in your company’s cybersecurity.

So require quarterly password changes across your business—and encourage team members to use a blend of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

7. Use multifactor authentication.

Some businesses don’t think about multifactor authentication until they have to—because it’s too late. Since cyber-attacks essentially consist of maliciously accessing a business’s internal resources, multifactor authentication may well be the prevention strategy you’ve been looking for. Whether you require a smart card with a PIN number or use biometrics, this tactic can be highly beneficial.

If multifactor authentication isn’t feasible across the board, you should at the very least prioritize it for security professionals, system administrators, and anyone else who can access your networks.

8. Prepare for a potential breach.

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: In some cases, security breaches are inevitable. Avoid making the mistake of assuming you won’t fall victim to an incident—because if you do end up embroiled in a cybercrime, you’ll want to have a plan of action readily available. This means having the right technology and team members in place, and being able to detect problems quickly.

You’ll also want to keep your teams prepared by educating your staff on the signs of an incident, and discussing how to best report them.

9. Audit user permissions.

If you haven’t done this recently, take a moment to review the number of people on your staff who have privileged access to your business data. While privileged access is a necessary risk companies must take, you shouldn’t grant access without doing your due diligence. You’ll want to audit your user permissions regularly, and develop a system that works for your organization.

Whether this involves temporary or rotating credentials, or simply touching base with your privileged users every few months, don’t let your user permissions fall through the cracks.

10. Monitor your privileged users.

One of the best ways to detect unauthorized behavior is to monitor your privileged users’ activity. This can help companies of all sizes identify actions that violate security policies, flag problems, and simply keep tabs on what’s going on. No matter how much you trust your people, you still need to check in from time to time. And this is a solid way to go about it.

Note: In addition to monitoring your user activity, you can elevate your security by deleting privileged accounts immediately when an employee is terminated. User activity monitoring solutions, meanwhile, can record actions taken inside your network.

These are just some of the ways you can amp up your cybersecurity efforts. Other tips include updating your hardware and software regularly, double-checking links before you click them, and using a secure file-sharing service. Anti-virus and anti-malware solutions are no less paramount—and you’ll want to make sure you’re scanning all external storage devices for viruses before you access them.

How does that sound? The above strategies don’t have to be overwhelming. Chip away at them little by little, and your business will be well on its way to reducing the threat of cyber-crimes.

Contact Umbrella Security Services for Your Free Consultation Today

Cybersecurity is integral to your business success. It can make or break your profitability and productivity. Accordingly, having a solid handle on your company’s cybersecurity is essential. Don’t be afraid to revisit your policies, and to offer both onboarding and refresher training sessions regularly.

Have questions or comments about the value of cybersecurity?

Interested in learning more about the security services available at our firm?

Whether you’re looking to protect the people you serve, pre-screen potential team members, or dive deep into a private investigation, we have you covered. Please contact us to schedule your free consultation.

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