The First Steps to Secure Your Company from Cyber Attacks
We are living in an era of cyberattacks.
At a time where almost everything is digital, cybercrime is becoming more and more common. According to cybersecurity company Norton, around 2200 cyberattacks happen globally per day.
A study by Accenture also found that around 43% of cyberattacks are targeted towards small and medium businesses, and that attacks on such businesses are becoming more and more common and complex. This is because small and medium businesses usually lack dedicated IT resources and preparedness to defend themselves.
As a result of a cyberattack, businesses can face a catastrophic loss of money and reputation. Cybersecurity Ventures reports that around 60% of small companies close down within the first six months of being hacked.
This is why cybersecurity is no longer something to be simply considered, and that it is an absolute must for all companies to have appropriate measures in place to prevent a cyberattack that can come at anytime.
But where should you start? In this article, we will show you five simple and practical steps that you can use as a checklist for making sure that your company is cybersecure and risk-free against any cyberattacks.
1. Deploy Multi-factor Authentication Wherever Possible
These days, having a strong password isn’t enough. Hacking softwares can try out 10 million password combinations in just seconds to gain access to your account.
That is why enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) in all your accounts is important. MFA is a method of requiring two or more factors beyond just a password in order to verify a user’s identity and grant them access to an account. By making users provide additional information or credentials such as before gaining access through a password, MFA provides reliable assurance that an authorized user is who they say they are, thus minimizing the possibility of unauthorized access. So, even if an attacker does manage to steal your password, it is unlikely that they can gain access to your account without being able to steal additional authentication factors such as your phone, fingerprint, or your face.
MFA can protect your systems against phishing, spear phishing, keylogger, credential studding, brute force, and man-in-the-middle attacks. That’s quite the protection!
2. Training Staff About Cybersecurity and its Repercussions
Cybersecurity conscious employees are the first and strongest line of defense against cyberattacks.
Employees without proper training to prevent cybersecurity have a tendency of leaving laptops and mobile devices unattended in vulnerable places, such as public transport, cars, and restaurants. They could also use their organization’s laptops to access public WiFi in unsecured hotspots, or store sensitive information on the local hard drive instead of the server. By committing all the actions above, employees are basically offering open invitations to hackers!
To reduce the risk of any cyber incident, including cybersecurity topics — such as setting up MFA, not leaving laptops unattended, and not responding to “phishy” emails — into the employee education program and onboarding process is a must-do.
3. Secure your Hardware
Nowadays, a lot of attention is being paid in acquiring the newest and most sophisticated cybersecurity software, but securing company hardware is just as important.
Protecting all devices with a strong password, sharing the password with device users only, and using password managers is one way. Physically attaching computers to desks is also an effective way to secure your hardware. Installing “find my device” software on all laptops, phones, and tablets can make sure your equipment can be tracked down if ever stolen.
4. Encrypt and Backup Your Data
Another way that companies can safeguard themselves from cyberattacks is by encrypting and backing up their data.
Encryption is the process of converting data into an unusable form and does not itself stop hacking or data theft. Instead, it prevents stolen content from being used, since the hacker cannot see it in plaintext format. It is imperative that the companies encrypt all of their sensitive data (Customer information, employee information and all business data). You can use full-disk encryption software to encrypt data on a desktop or laptop computer when it’s at rest.
Together with encryption, you will also need to keep a backup of your data. Data backup is basically copying data from a primary to a secondary location, to protect it in case of a cyber accident. Backups remain as the top way to recover from a data breach. Whether it is with removable media, external hard drives, or cloud backup solutions, having the appropriate backup plan can save you plenty of losses in case the worst happens.
5. Implement the “Principle of Least Privilege”
The Principle of Least Privilege is a cybersecurity best practice in which employees are given minimum levels of access in their work. Restricting IT admin and access rights to a small handful of trusted users in your company is a step you cannot skip to make sure your data is secure.
The more employees have admin access to critical accounts and information, the more risk there is of a data breach disaster. Employees can sometimes share invaluable information without knowing the consequences. For that reason, it is always better to restrict sensitive information to key figures in the IT department and ensure they are sufficiently trained on safeguarding and encrypting information.
Have you already implemented the cybersecurity measures above? If not, it’s probably time for you to get on it. Because when it comes to cybersecurity, there is no time to waste!
Need help with proofing your business' systems from cyber incidents? Tokyo Techies offers Pentesting, Incident Response, and Cloud Infrastructure Security services, so contact us for a free consultation today.