No matter the size of a company, there can always be a threat for data breaches. That’s why business leaders should enforce the best safety practices for cybersecurity. According to Cybercrime Magazine, global spending on cybersecurity will reach $10 billion by 2027. However, no matter how dependable cybersecurity is, a great software is only half the battle. Employees and employers must also know how to stay safe online. For National Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October, we challenge companies to think about how they can implement these best practices amongst their staff.
» Enforce a cybersecurity policy
There is no better way to get an entire staff on the same page than a detailed policy. To help enforce best practices throughout the company, educating the staff on what best practices to follow can help clear up the confusion. However, not all departments work the same and not all rules will apply to each team. Consider starting with a centralized policy that can branch off to different departments and have the ability to be altered if need be. In doing this, you’re considering the needs of all departments.
Encouraging the staff in each department to help design the policy will help make sure you are covering the basic needs of each team. This helps the company have a basic guide to refer back to for basic security practices and specific department cybersecurity measures.
» Use caution when using USBs
If you’re using your own personally purchased USB to help store and transfer data, that is perfectly acceptable. However, employees can come in contact with foreign USB devices that they may want to plug into their work devices. This is something no one should ever do. While this is a rule of thumb for all devices, it is especially prevalent for work devices. Whether one knows the person or they received a USB handout at a work conference, every plug in should be treated as a cybersecurity threat.
Rather than plugging the device into a computer and taking the risk, bring the USB to your IT department for them to check. That way you can make sure it doesn’t host malware, keystroke detection, or a USB killer that could fry your device with a burst of electricity.
» Install cybersecurity software
Leaving any company devices without cybersecurity software is a sure way to create holes in the security of your company. It’s important to have cybersecurity software, such as antivirus and anti-malware, in place. But most importantly, it’s crucial for individual devices to have their own protection software. Cybersecurity companies like Norton suggest using virtual private networks (VPN) to help make online devices untraceable and untrackable.
According to Norton, “VPNs essentially create a data tunnel between your local network and an exit node in another location, which can be thousands of miles away, making it seem as if you’re in another place. This benefit allows online freedom, or the ability to access your favorite apps and websites while on the go.” If you're a company that has remote workers or employees that travel while on the job, VPN security software if worth investing in. The software can give workers the freedom to use their connected devices safely and will provide company leadership with the confidence that their data is secure.
» Monitor privileged users
The amount of privileged users is different for each business. While some smaller companies allow every employee full access, larger businesses might have to limit who gets access to what information. Unfortunately, privileged users have the means of stealing data or accidentally exposing company data through unsafe cyber safety practices, but there are ways of limiting that risk.
For one, a company should strategically limit the number of employees who have privileged access. Not every employee needs to know all the data required for each department, so a good rule of thumb is to keep things on a need-to-know basis. Monitoring privileged users is a great way to track what is happening with the data inside your network. Looking at a day-to-day activity can be a little excessive, but in times of emergency and data breach, you’ll be happy you have the information. Finally, teaching privileged users these safety precautions is essential. HR consultants even offer classes to help train employees on this type of protocol.
» Don’t fall for phishing tactics
Cyberattacks through spam emails and phone calls are nothing new, but unfortunately, so many people fall victim to phishing techniques. So many employees often are scammed by phishers and give their information away to what they think is a reliable source. Once they give away personal or company information to the wrong person, hackers could find a way into their accounts and possibly their software.
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This list will helpEndpoint Security is the method of protecting business endpoints, including all devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, or any wireless devices that connect to the business network.
To prevent phishing tactics from being successful, companies should always be on the defense. The first step would be to get a proper spam filter to make sure spam emails are automatically blocked. The next would be to educate your staff about what phishing scams look like so they can stay away from them. According to Verizon’s records, education on phishing is actually successful in preventing it. In their 2018 Data Breach Investigation Report, there was only a 3% click rate for phishing attacks that year.
» Report issues to IT staff
The IT department at companies can often feel either over or underutilized depending on the company’s current software situation. However, no one should ever feel like they can’t talk to their IT staff about software problems. While one may think they can fix a software lag themselves, the IT department should always be involved when it comes to company devices. Oftentimes employees try to “fix” the issue themselves and end up making the situation worse.
It’s also important to let the IT department know if you are going to be traveling with a work device. As mentioned before, using public Wi-Fi can leave company devices vulnerable if they are not properly secured, so having the IT staff check your cybersecurity before you leave is a wise choice. That way if you overlooked any updates, for example, they can help make sure your software is up to date and protected.
Staying on top of these practices will prevent a company’s risk of an expensive data breach. While these are just a few examples, there are so many more that can keep business devices secure. If your staff stays educated and you install some preventative cybersecurity, your company will be sure to stay secure for National Cyber Security Awareness Month and beyond.