Cyberthreats are everywhere. As soon as a business connects its devices to the internet, ransomware, phishing attempts, and data breaches can threaten its financial standing. Internal risks, such as employee errors and malfeasance, might also create vulnerabilities that lead to attacks. Protecting your company against these dangers isn’t really a question. However, businesses sometimes fail to enact cybersecurity measures and action plans for real-world attacks.
Not putting protective guardrails in place can become detrimental, whether it’s due to a lack of know-how or resources. Besides the immediate financial impacts of a cyberattack, a company can find it hard to recover from the loss of reputation. The effects of a data breach or ransomware attack may last for years. Everything from future sales to HR’s recruitment efforts might stall or fizzle out.
That’s why businesses need the right knowledge and tools to fix absent or lax cybersecurity measures. Using the proper resources and staying on top of new developments is essential. The discussion below explores effective ways you can protect your business against cyberthreats.
1. Implement Governance, Risk, and Compliance Tools
Governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) practices include managing cybersecurity threats. GRC applies a systemic approach to identifying security vulnerabilities in an organization. This includes procedures and outdated software applications that may expose a business to cyberthreats.
Although uncovering gaps in cybersecurity measures is a crucial step, risk management also analyzes the seriousness of each threat. Management then designs appropriate ways to respond to each potential hazard. For example, one that leaves the backdoor to the network wide open might lead to business failure. A vulnerability like this takes precedence over a threat that won’t result in downtime or financial loss.
Because of the complexity of governance, risk, and compliance, GRC tools can help businesses streamline risk management. A GRC solution assesses the risk of cyberthreats from a holistic viewpoint. You’ll see how data storage practices can either strengthen or weaken the use of other defenses, such as anti-malware programs. With increased visibility, you’ll be able to implement broad cybersecurity practices that cover every facet of your business.
2. Train Staff on Cybersecurity Risks
Research on data breaches discovered that 85% were linked to employees’ actions or decisions. Compromised logins were responsible for 61% of breaches, revealing potentially flawed credential or password management practices. These might include sharing logins with others or writing down passwords in easily visible places.
Poor or misguided actions or decisions can stem from distractions, fatigue, and conditions in the work environment. However, skill deficits and a lack of knowledge or awareness are other typical culprits. If staff members don’t know how to recognize a phishing attempt, they’re more likely to fall for it. Training employees about cyberthreats and instilling best practices for password management can help prevent attacks.
Using password tools may cut down on behaviors that leave a business vulnerable. Yet employees should also know what good password management entails. A solid training program covers handling sensitive information, avoiding suspicious links and attachments, and using multifactor authentication. Bring your own device (BYOD), virtual private network use, and remote work policies can also become a part of cybersecurity training.
3. Implement Secure Disposal Practices
Businesses don’t keep IT equipment around forever. Eventually, you dispose of old laptops and other devices. It could be because these devices are out of date or they’re deemed unrepairable. Whatever the case, it’s not safe to simply hand over old equipment to someone else to recycle or use.
That’s because laptops, desktops, and servers contain hard drives with company information. This may include network passwords, intellectual property, and Wi-Fi configurations. Even if you wipe the hard drive, that may not get rid of your data. All it takes is the right program and someone savvy enough to restore some or all of it.
Secure disposal practices do more than remove or wipe hard drives from used equipment. It’s best to destroy hard drives entirely, making it impossible to recover or restore overwritten data. Most recycling companies will still take computers without hard drives. These businesses will reuse or resell the remaining parts, including memory sticks and motherboards. Organizations that receive donated equipment can also purchase and install new hard drives.
4. Install Security Software and Keep It Up to Date
Firewalls and anti-malware programs are no-brainers in today’s environment. Without them, you can’t secure your network and everything you store on it. While firewalls help prevent intrusions and block unauthorized network activities, anti-malware programs provide a second layer of protection.
Anti-malware solutions are like the person keeping watch over the fort or castle. The software scans the network and connected devices for problems and isolates actual occurrences. That said, anti-malware programs and firewalls can’t keep doing a good job without regular updates.
Keeping firewalls and anti-malware solutions up to date is essential. While you can automate updates, it’s best to also spot-check devices for issues. Automatic updates may fail if there’s a connection problem or an undetected error in the program. Some solutions that deploy updates on a mass or enterprise-level scale will send alerts when automatic updates fail. This feature increases efficiency, since IT staff will know which devices need manual intervention.
Guarding Against Cyberthreats
Research on cyberthreats shows that they’re escalating from minor hiccups to attacks that can shut businesses down. One of the biggest threats, which has the power to cripple a company, is ransomware. This type of attack targeted 37% of businesses in 2021.
Putting cybersecurity measures in place might mean the difference between your company’s survival and dissolution. Governance, risk, and compliance tools, employee training programs, secure disposal practices, and up-to-date security solutions help businesses establish guardrails. Using these protective methods can mitigate the most common and serious sources of cyberthreats.