Despite the world gradually bouncing back after an unfavorable period of long social distances due to the COVID pandemic, which also spiked up cyber attacks, cybersecurity continues to become a significant concern for businesses.
A Cyberthreat Defense Report (CDR) showed that 89.7 percent of US companies have an issue with a cyber attack within one year. And the more important part is that if business owners and their employees continue to take cybersecurity issues lightly, cybercrime will worsen deeply in the coming years!
Now, these are the best practices for securing your business in 2022
Implement a Network Access Control Solution (NAC)
What is NAC? NAC is a generic term for a solution that offers network access to user devices leveraging security policies and other criteria determined by the authentication and authorization process, security posture (i.e., if a device has updated operating systems and antivirus software), and other requirements.
Utilizing modern NAC solutions will help to achieve a granular and scalable level of access control. NAC technology can be flexible and efficient with a policy-based enforcement system that can be applied to all networks, including wired and wireless. In addition, it allows each employee (or device) to authenticate uniquely and offers an increasingly robust mechanism to trace potential logins in the case of a data situation. Hence, NAC solutions have become highly valuable in bolstering network security.
Create a Strong Password Policy
Weak passwords make hacking easy for hackers. But deploying a strong password with at least 12 to 15 characters can be reliable to a reasonable extent. Also, ensure the characters are mixed. In essence, they should combine uppercase letters with lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. The more effort you can put into making your passwords complex, the more you are guaranteed a more secure account.
Avoid sequential keyboard paths like qwerty, numbers like 123456, asdfgh, or a1s2d3f4. Ensure to change passwords often. Consider this every month or twice a month. And then deploy tools such as password managers to auto-generate and store passwords for you.
Prioritize Two-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication
Strong passwording is great; however, it can still be hacked. Hackers often steal login details, including passwords. Hence, boost your account security by using two-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication. This will require you to input a password and pass another security layer, such as identification via fingerprint, facial recognition, etc.
A one-time code will also be sent to you via SMS or email, making hacking much more difficult. Deploy two- or multi-factor authentication to defend your network against security issues.
Make Security Questions Tougher
Harnessing security questions prevent unauthorized infiltration of the network verification process. And when they are more challenging, legitimate users will be able to authenticate themselves.
A tough security question should not be guessable or way to be researched. The user should be able to relate to the answer, and it shouldn’t change over time. For the most secure user sign-ins, you should consider merging elements such as biometrics, emails, SMS/text messages, multi-factor authentication, and challenging security questions.
Backup Sensitive Data
Data backups will save you lots of worries if the unexpected happens. But, don’t forget that regardless of how tight your security strategies are, they may still be compromised. So, it is essential always to plan to have something to fall back on.
One of the harsh downsides of not having a backup strategy for your data is that you may lose your business and never recover from an attack. In an attack situation, some questions you may want to consider asking yourself include how long your business will stay down. Also, will you ever know what steps to take to recover your stolen data?
Ransomware attacks have cost many companies so much money. The WannaCry ransomware attack was one devastating worldwide cyberattack that occurred in May 2017 and targeted computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting data and requesting huge payments as ransom in the form of Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
An employee can accidentally deploy ransomware attacks in a system by clicking a malicious link. Once deployed, your company data will be held hostage till you pay a requested amount to the attacker. This process can hamper business activities and ground the reputation of your business.
Consider creating a cloud copy of your data on a server hosted in a remote location. Then, if you get attacked, your company can still run efficiently while you resolve the situation.
Embrace Cybersecurity Training
Employees are the first to consider in a cybersecurity situation. Most attacks are implemented through a malicious link in an email that an employee has ignorantly clicked. This kind of attack, known as phishing, is the most common type of cyber attack small businesses have to combat. To curb this, sensitize your employees on identifying potential phishing attacks — what to look out for — and why protecting the companies will reduce the likelihood of an attack.
Organize certified cybersecurity training and workshops for your employees periodically. Consider organizing quarterly training to keep your employers constantly sensitized on security updates. Doing this will help reduce cyberattacks often caused by human error and acts of negligence by employees to a great extent.
If you are working with a managed service provider, they can help create a custom training program specifically targeted toward your business and team. Some tech companies also organize free training that can benefit your team.
Hire Experts to Monitor Your Network Activity
Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their approach. Hence, your approach to cybersecurity cannot be simplistic. Consider hiring experts to monitor what goes on on your network. Also, ensure to acquire leading technology and update them often. This will also increase your level of data protection.
Small companies might find it quite challenging to employ highly skilled IT personnel who can help you oversee how users access your network, secure it, and add an extra layer of protection. This is why you should consider managed service providers. They’ll help manage and monitor the network system 24/7, perform system audits, install upgrades and patches, and periodically review and improve backup and recovery strategies.