Although cyberattacks on businesses have become increasingly prevalent in recent years, the adoption of cybersecurity best practices is still far too often overlooked. This often stems from the notion that cybercriminals target larger companies. However, the reality is that cyberattacks are opportunistic crimes, and small businesses often hold a wealth of sensitive data without adequate safeguards. Therefore, it is essential for every owners of all business scales to have a plan in place to prevent becoming a victim of cyberattacks. The recent Forbes article, Cybersecurity in 2022 – A Fresh Look at Some Very Alarming Stats, denotes a key statement to support this claim: "43% of cyber attacks are aimed at small businesses, but only 14% are prepared to defend themselves". This article will outline a few effective strategies for deterring cybercriminals and safeguarding your business.
Implement password management solutions
Deploying a company-wide password management solution is a well-respected measure for enhancing security across all systems and applications in the contemporary cybersecurity era. Passportal, for instance, offers various features such as auditing password changes, integrating with multifactor authentication solutions, encrypting passwords both in transit and at rest, and streamlining password updates through automation. These functions are invaluable in protecting your organization’s sensitive information. Stand-alone password managers are recommended over the convenient in-browser password managers as they provide extra layers of security along with further functionality.
Regular Data Backups
Backups are looked at as one of the most critical pieces of any given environment. Creating backups ensures that data can be restored in the event of primary data failure. Such failures can occur due to hardware or software malfunctions, data corruption, or human-induced incidents such as accidental deletion or malware attacks. Backup copies enable the recovery of data from a previous point in time, facilitating business continuity in the event of an unplanned disruption. Often times, backups are scheduled on a daily basis to allow for various up to date restoration point options.
To guard against primary data loss or corruption, it is essential to store backup copies on a separate medium. This can be critical in events such as if the given device were to be damaged or corrupted, the backup in which case would still be accessible This can be a simple external drive or USB stick, a disk or tape drive, or cloud storage. These storage mediums can be kept on premises or in a remote location.
Making consistent and regular backup copies is crucial for minimizing data loss between backups. The longer the time between backup copies, the greater the likelihood of data loss during recovery. Retaining multiple copies of data provides added security and flexibility to restore data to a point in time unaffected by data corruption or malicious attacks.
Keep your systems updated
Business owners and employees often overlook system updates because of their busy schedules. However, this is a dangerous mistake because outdated systems are more vulnerable to hacking. Often times updates, referred to as "patches", are pushed out to address any vulnerabilities found since the release of the given software. In turn, not applying these updates, would leave the system open to compromise. To avoid this, it is crucial to regularly upgrade and update your hardware and software to close security gaps and make it difficult for hackers to gain access. Furthermore, your IT team should be consulted when installing any applications, making any changes updates cycles or etc.. to advise and adjust the networks policies accordingly.
Implement the principle of least privilege (POLP)
Access control is governed by the principle of least privilege (POLP), which specifies that a person should possess only the essential access privileges required to accomplish a particular job or task, and nothing else. For example, an employee tasked with processing payroll checks should be granted access only to that specific function in the payroll application. The benefits of POLP include:
- Minimizing the attack surface – By safeguarding superuser and administrator privileges, the attack surface is reduced, which in turn reduces the number of pathways that a malicious actor can utilize to obtain access to sensitive data or launch an attack.
- Mitigating the spread of malware – By restricting access to only the necessary resources, POLP can prevent the spread of malware throughout the network, thus preventing it from infecting other connected devices.
Multilayer Approach: Use additional security protocols
To protect your business against cyberattacks, it’s crucial to deploy multiple security measures. Antivirus protection is a necessary tool that can prevent malware from compromising your devices and data. You should choose reliable programs from reputable providers and use only one antivirus application per device. Nowadays, modern anti-malware protection comes with advanced options that utilize artificial intelligence and detect abnormal device behavior that may signal an attack.
In addition to antivirus software, implementing a zero trust policy and next-generation security measures can significantly enhance your business’s cybersecurity. Investing in firewall protection is another effective strategy to safeguard your business against hackers. Firewalls can screen out harmful activities and viruses on the internet and regulate traffic entering your devices. Combined with intrusion detection, firewalls can serve as virtual security guards that can keep potential threats from entering your systems. Typically, this will go hand-in-hand with the use of a Virtual Private Network , which will encrypt a users via the secure connection established. These are merely a glimpse at the many options available for additional layers of security based on the needs of the business.
Guidelines & Policy: Train your employees
The age-old idiom, a chain is no stronger than its weakest link, has much application in regard to the effect user training has in cybersecurity. Many employees fall prey to schemes that are not technically complex in nature, such phishing schemes or they'll share passwords without any hesitation. Therefore, the human element is one of the weakest links in any cybersecurity plan. To combat this, it is essential to educate and train all employees on how to recognize and prevent potential cyberattacks on a consistent basis to stay current with the standards.
Cybersecurity is a critical concept for our team here at Beringer. Don't tackle these various threats alone, schedule a consultation with our team to review your network's infrastructure at your convenience!
Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution also provides expert Managed IT Services, Backup and Disaster Recovery, Cloud Based Computing, Email Security Implementation and Training, Unified Communication Solutions, and Cybersecurity Risk Assessment.