With the massive rise of cybercrimes throughout 2020, mainly thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, cybersecurity will be the focus of many businesses and individuals all around the world throughout 2021.
Cybersecurity is no longer an issue exclusive for bigger companies and organizations. In fact, many cybercriminals have shifted their targets from bigger enterprises, which are commonly equipped with advanced cybersecurity infrastructures, to less-secure small businesses and individuals.
With that being said, having a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy is now a must if you plan to keep your company safe throughout 2021, and in this article, we will discuss some important actionable tips you can use right away.
Secure All Devices
When one device in your company’s network is compromised, attackers can potentially gain access to your whole system. Also, it’s important to note that not only your computers and smartphones are potentially at risk, but also various IoT devices that are now increasingly becoming a major part of our network.
In general, you should:
- Update your OSs and software regularly
If possible, set up all your OS and software to update automatically, and if you plan to update manually, you should update them as soon as the updates are available, especially if the updates involve security fixes. You wouldn’t want to have your whole system compromised just because you neglected to update your software.
- Set up anti-malware and firewall
Make sure all your devices are protected from malware by installing a reliable antivirus/anti-malware solution. Also, set up a proper firewall to protect your network, and make sure your anti-malware and firewall are also regularly updated.
- Turn on your spam filters
Reduce spam emails and especially phishing emails your company receives, as they often contain malware and/or links to fraudulent sites that can compromise your sensitive data and system security. The best approach here is to educate your team to reduce
2. Protect Your Network from Malicious Bots
Many cybersecurity attack vectors are made possible with the use of malicious bots–that is, a program or software that is programmed to perform automated tasks with malicious purposes.
So, detecting the presence of these bots and managing their activities are essential if you plan to keep your company safe from cyber attacks.
The thing is, bot programmers are increasingly becoming much more skillful and creative in adopting the latest technologies, including AI and machine learning technologies to create more sophisticated bots that can mask themselves as legitimate human users. This is why having a bot management solution by DataDome is recommended in protecting your network from these malicious bots.
3. Backup Your data
Ensuring you have at least one backup of your data is very important so your business can still run even in the event of a data breach or other issues.
You should back up your most important data regularly, and we’d recommend following the 3-2-1 backup rule: you should have 3 copies of your data (1 main data and 2 copies), on 2 different media (i.e. hard disk and DVD), and 1 copy should be stored off-site (i.e. cloud) so in the event of physical damages in your business location, you’ll still have a functional data backup.
Make a habit of backing up your data regularly, and regularly check that you can restore your data from this backup.
Nowadays, backing up your data is fairly easy and affordable, as even advanced cloud storage services are now getting more affordable than ever. So, there’s simply no reason not to keep backups of your valuable data.
4. Educate Your Employees About Cybersecurity Best Practices
Employee negligence and human errors remain one of the top causes of data breaches, and with how many employees are now working from home due to the prolonged COVID-19 restrictions, the risk has only grown.
Your company’s cybersecurity is only as strong as the least knowledgeable employee in your team, so educating your employees is very important in keeping your company safe from cyber attacks.
At the very least they should know:
- The importance of using strong and unique passwords (one complex password for one account), including how to use a password manager for this purpose
- Common signs of social engineering and phishing attacks
- What to do in the event of an attack (i.e. when they receive a suspicious email)
High-risk employees, for example, employees who handle sensitive data and/or financial transactions, should be the priority of this training initiative. Also, since cyber attacks are continuously evolving, it’s important to update this training regularly.
5. Monitor Devices and Systems Usage
Keep a record of all the devices and software that your business uses, and make sure they are secure.
You should make sure the software/OS is up to date, but don’t forget that data breaches can also be caused by physical losses and theft. Educate your employees to be careful about:
- Where and how they store their devices
- If they are connecting to public Wi-Fi, at least use VPN and in general, they should avoid making any sensitive transactions.
- Be extra careful when using portable hard drivers and USB flash drives as they can be easily infected by malware
Also, regularly check and remove any device or software no longer used. They might contain sensitive data and can be potential vulnerabilities when they are not updated regularly.
Similarly, remove access from people who don’t work for you anymore or if they change roles and no longer have the same authorization. Again, human errors are very common causes of data breaches, and unauthorized access by past employees is actually a very common security issue.
Cybersecurity is now a major issue not only for bigger enterprises but also smaller companies and even individuals. With how more cyber attacks are being launched every single day, it’s very important to implement cybersecurity best practices to keep your company safe.
The five tips we have shared above are among the most important ones in creating a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy to keep your company safe from cyber-attacks and data breaches.