In our ever-digitalized business world, cybersecurity is one of the main concerns a new business has to worry about. There are thousands of cyber-attacks across the globe every hour. And, while not all of these attacks are successful, it does tell us one glaring truth: hackers are out there, and they’re always looking for vulnerabilities to exploit. If there’s one thing you can depend on, it’s that a hacker will find the vulnerabilities in your system if he’s truly looking. This is why it’s so important to take preventative measures and cover all your bases before an attack occurs. That way, if and when it happens, you’re already one step ahead of the hacker trying to access your data.
In this guide, we’ll go over seven steps any business can take to improve its cybersecurity and stay one step ahead of hackers.
1. Make Security Your Priority
Security should always be one of your business’s top priorities. This means making time for cybersecurity training, allowing a larger budget for security tools, and putting the security of your company’s data at the top of the list of things to do. Your IoT security depends on regular upgrades to the system and serious attention to detail. Everything from industrial machines, power grids, and personal devices that connect to your network needs to be secured for maximum protection.
Unfortunately, many small businesses leave cybersecurity out of their budget, to their dismay. The average cyber attack on a small business can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, which would pretty much bankrupt just about any startup. The next time you want to skip the cybersecurity budget, ask yourself if your business can cover a $200,000 bill.
2. Be Proactive
If you only take action after you’ve been attacked, you’ve already compromised your system. Cybersecurity requires you to be vigilant and proactive. This means securing your systems, investing in the necessary tools, and training employees. The more proactive you are, the better chance you stand at identifying a potential threat and stopping it before it causes serious damage.
3. Don’t Forget Your Employees
Most of us think of an IT person when we think of cybersecurity. That’s their job, right? The truth is that it’s the job of everyone in the company to ensure that data is safe and secure. One person misusing or storing data improperly can potentially jeopardize everything. One stolen password can mean the difference between life and death for a small business. It’s everyone’s responsibility to not only take cybersecurity more seriously but to participate in it as well.
Don’t forget about your employees and the role they play in your cybersecurity. Provide them with the tools they need to maximize their security and be sure to send out frequent reminders of cybersecurity best practices. The more informed your employees are, the better your chances are of preventing a serious cyberattack.
4. Use A Password Manager
In a world where passwords are the most common breach sites for hackers, it’s important to start taking company passwords much more seriously. A password manager is a good way to both secure passwords and other sensitive information, and to monitor old passwords for needed updates, strength, and more. Modern password managers can store everything from passwords to secure notes and documents and more. Everything is encrypted in your password manager’s system, so your data is secure even if someone accesses the company network.
Not to mention, password managers have the added benefit of providing secure password generator tools, notifications for duplicates or weak passwords, and more. A password manager is more than just a place to store passwords: it’s one of your greatest weapons against cyberattacks.
5. If You’ve Been Hacked Already…
Having your business hacked can be scary, but the good news is that there is plenty to learn from such an attack. Identify your company’s weaknesses by looking at where the breach occurred. What tools could you have used to prevent it? What data was compromised? Who had access to the server? Assuming you’re still in business after a breach, it’s important to perform a thorough investigation, not just to identify the extent of the damage, but also your system’s weaknesses. Once you’ve found them, you know exactly where to invest money into your cybersecurity.
6. Multi-Factor Authentication
This simple but effective technique allows users to access your system only after they’ve been authenticated in more than one way. For example, you can set up multi-factor authentication that requires a password and a one-time code sent to a verified email address or phone number. This is a serious hurdle for hackers because they’d need access to the employee’s phone in order to get the authentication code.
Requiring every employee to use multi-factor authentication when logging into your system can massively increase your business’s cybersecurity overnight. It’s an option that’s both simple and incredibly effective, and shouldn’t be ignored.
7. Protect Your WiFi
You might be surprised by how many companies don’t actually put a password on their WiFi network, or, at the least, create a guest network. Protecting your WiFi is important because it can either act as a block to a hacker or a highway straight to your company’s data. It’s easy and only takes a few minutes to put a password on your router, so why wouldn’t you? That way, you can control who has access to your network and protect everyone’s data more effectively.