Cyber attacks pose a huge risk to businesses, and even the smallest companies are vulnerable. You don’t have to possess sensitive customer data or proprietary information in order to be at risk – even sole proprietors could be targeted by a hacker who plans to hold email accounts or devices for ransom. Every business owner is at risk, and needs to take steps to manage that risk.
Fortunately, appropriate cyber risk management can protect your business from the majority of cyber attacks. Here’s what you need to do to keep your company safe from cyber attacks.
Know Your Vulnerabilities
The foundation of a successful cyber risk management policy is understanding your business’s vulnerabilities in the cyber sphere. Start by assessing how your organization is currently handling cyber security. Where are the gaps in your security system? You could be lacking strong antivirus protection or allowing employees to use insecure passwords. Physical security for premises and devices could be lacking. By evaluating what vulnerabilities exist in your organization, you’ll know exactly what steps you need to take to ameliorate them.
Encrypt and Back Up Data
Sensitive data should always be encrypted, just so it’s that much harder for hackers to gain access to. You don’t want to make it easy for attackers to obtain sensitive proprietary information or private customer data. Use data encryption so that even if cyber criminals gain access to your important private data, they can’t read it.
It’s also important to back up your data. Cyber breaches and attacks can cause data loss, as can equipment failure and other issues. You should use the 3-2-1 rule to back up data – store at least three copies of your data, with two on different media and one on an offsite location.
Perform Regular Cybersecurity Training
If you have employees, they need to be trained on proper cyber risk management regularly. People forget things, and regular training helps keep memories refreshed. It also presents the opportunity to update cyber risk management knowledge for your employees and you. Cyber criminals are constantly improving their tactics, and you have to stay one step ahead of them.
Ensure Passwords Are Appropriately Strong
Strong passwords are one of the most important tools in your arsenal against cyber attack. Eighty-one percent of data breaches happen due to weak passwords. Password crackers are becoming more advanced, and passwords need to become more complex as a result. Ensure that your employees understand the importance of using strong passwords and that they know how to create them. Make sure they’re not reusing the same passwords at work.
Protect Attack Surfaces
Attack surfaces include assets that hackers could gain physical access to, assets that hackers can access digitally, and people that hackers can manipulate using social engineering attacks. A cyber risk management policy should not neglect physical security – use biometrics or keycards to restrict physical access to your premises to authorized personnel. Keep servers, filing cabinets, and other repositories of data under lock and key. Educate your staff to help them resist attempts at social engineering, and use cyber risk management tools to protect your digital assets.
Assess Vendor Risk
Vendors can be a source of third-party risk to your organization. You need to make sure any vendors you’re working with are using appropriate cyber risk management techniques, both at the time of onboarding and throughout your relationship. Make sure they’re not compromising your compliance with regulations, local legislation, and agreements you may have entered into. Ensure that business-critical vendors won’t be able to disrupt your business operations or hamper your ability to meet your objectives as an organization.
Firewalls are invaluable for cyber security because they can keep questionable traffic from accessing your network. A good firewall should protect your network from brute attacks and will detect any suspicious network traffic so you can prevent irreversible damage from a data breach. Your firewall could protect your organization from spyware and malware. Choose a firewall that offers full visibility into your network and apps, as well as prevention and protection features.
Managing cyber risk for a business isn’t always easy, but it’s always necessary to protect your company from cyber breaches, ransomware attacks, and other digital threats. Cyber criminals are getting better and better at executing their crimes, and you and your employees need to stay on your toes to keep your organization safe. Implement an effective cyber risk management policy, and use the right software tools to protect your company, your data, your devices, and your staff.