For your business to remain competitive, it needs to collect and analyze large amounts of data regularly. This data-driven approach has given rise to data security concerns. Indeed, hackers are targeting sensitive business information because of the value it can provide.
If you think that cyber security threats are not on the rise, keep in mind that a hacking attempt is registered every 39 seconds. Furthermore, 25% of businesses using the public cloud fell victim to data theft in 2018 alone. Considering these ongoing threats, your business should take active steps towards keeping its information safe.
Hackers use many different techniques to access sensitive company information. From ransomware to phishing and data breaches, your business should implement a robust cybersecurity plan to remain safe online.
1. Develop an IT Strategy
The best way of preventing cybersecurity threats is by making data security an integral part of your overarching IT strategy. In this way, you’ll be able to align your company’s operations to the standards you’ve put in place for preventing threats.
You can develop an IT strategy (that’s focused on data security) by establishing appropriate objectives, assessing your technology environment, and developing a plan for risk mitigation.
An IT strategy also allows you to consider all strategic, operational financial, and compliance risks that you might face in the event of a data breach. With all this information available, you can implement specific steps that are targeted towards repelling cybersecurity threats across multiple areas of your business.
2. Backup Your Data Regularly
After developing an IT strategy and outlining the goals of your business, the next step is to back up your data regularly. Data backups come in handy during emergencies, especially when ransomware paralyzes your systems.
While cloud-based backups are useful, you should also have physical media backups such as hard drives. Many types of software can be used to automatically backup your data offline. In this way, you’ll be up and running soon after experiencing a data attack.
3. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Password management is a hot topic in the cybersecurity world. Most companies don’t use secure passwords when protecting their online accounts, thus remaining vulnerable to hackers. A strong password is the first line of defense against potential data hacks.
Therefore, make sure your password has the following essential components:
- At least 6-10 characters
- A combination of numbers, lower/upper case letters, and special symbols
- No personal details such as pet names or the names of family members
- No phrases that are easy to guess
In addition to strong passwords, you should also implement two-factor authentication. This security step requires a second device that will be used to receive a unique code whenever you log in from a new location. Using two-factor authentication prevents hackers who have your password from gaining access to your online accounts.
4. Be Aware of Your Risk Environment
Not all businesses face the same level of risk. While companies that hire a large number of workers are vulnerable to phishing attacks, others may be more exposed to malware and ransomware.
Therefore, you should take time to develop a risk profile for your business. Find out the specific risk that you may be exposed to, and how such threats could potentially affect your operations. In this way, you can devote more resources to address significant risk factors while saving money on inconsequential threats. These 5 steps of risk management will also help you develop an efficient plan for protecting sensitive company information.
5. Train Your Employees on Data Security
Your employees are a critical part of your overall cybersecurity approach. Without training staff on the importance of data security, your company will remain vulnerable to phishing attacks and ransomware.
Your employees should be trained to identify suspicious emails and avoid clicking on attachments that they’re not familiar with. You should also implement a reporting system that makes it convenient for employees to report suspicious emails and other potential threats.
6. Follow a Data-Driven Approach
Being proactive is one of the best ways of keeping up with cybersecurity threats. You can use data analytics to identify and monitor potential risks in real time while developing an appropriate response. For example, predictive analytics involves the use of past data trends and events to determine the probability of future outcomes. This innovative approach can be used to keep your business one step ahead of data breaches.
7. Use a Secure Network Connection
In 2019, all your webpages should be secured with HTTPS protocol. This secure network connection prevents data from leaking as it travels between your website and the server. HTTPS websites also rank highly in search engine results, which is a win-win for your business.
8. Take Advantage of Cybersecurity Frameworks
Cybersecurity frameworks such as NIST, COSO, and PCI DSS provide guidelines for categorizing, managing, and mitigating various types of risk. By following a structure that falls in line with your company operations, you can effectively protect your business data and remain safe from threats.