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5 things you can do to increase your company’s cybersecurity

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This guide outlines the 5 key cybersecurity strategies you need to use to protect your business.

A data breach can be absolutely disastrous for business. As well as being extremely costly in a financial sense, cyberattacks can also make a company the subject of legal action and potentially do irreversible reputational damage.

For example, London-based business process outsourcing business Capita suffered a cyberattack in March, and it has since emerged that a pool of data was unsecured online and that hundreds of thousands of people may have been affected by the hack. Victims have been considering legal action and Capita estimated the breach could cost as much as £20m.

This is just one of many cases that demonstrate why it’s so important to prioritize cybersecurity and protect your company data. Here are five cybersecurity strategies you can take now.

5 key cybersecurity strategies

1. Streamline your SaaS purchasing

Software as a Service (SaaS) can be integral to better, more-efficient business processes but these applications could jeopardize your cyber security if they aren’t properly managed. That starts with cybersecurity strategies ensuring you have full visibility over all the tools you use.

However, the accessibility of SaaS platforms means that it’s easier for companies to experience ‘shadow IT’ – the use of IT systems, devices, software, applications, and services without explicit IT department approval.

“When department heads or individual employees make software purchases without procurement’s approval or awareness, it not only increases the risk of wasted spend, but also the chances of security and compliance issues,” explains Vertice, a SaaS purchasing platform. “Ultimately, when shadow IT occurs, organizations are specifically at risk of security and regulatory noncompliance, data leaks and breaches.”

Therefore, check you’re aware of all the SaaS platforms your company is using and make sure there are tight processes in place to block employees from using anything that hasn’t been approved by your IT department.

2. Train employees on the best practices

Research has found that a huge 88% of data breaches are caused by employee errors which emphasizes just how important it is that cybersecurity strategies include for your team to be made aware of cybersecurity best practices.

Phishing attacks, for example, are a common tactic hackers use to breach a company’s system. Are you confident your employees would know the signs of a bogus email, what to do if they identify it as a phishing attempt, and who to report it to?

There are many techniques you can use to train your staff in cybersecurity. For example, live in-person discussions and demonstrations, or online tutorial videos and quizzes. It may be worth experimenting with a few different methods to see what is most effective.

Remember to follow up to check that your employees have really learned from these sessions, and don’t make this a one-off. Hackers become more sophisticated every day so continuous training will be required to thwart their attack attempts.

3. Diversify your data storage

The increase in remote working in recent years means it’s common for companies to store much of their data in the cloud. This can be cheaper and more efficient compared to traditional data storage practices.

However, storing all data in the cloud can make a business incredibly vulnerable if it is hacked. It’s common for hackers to demand a ransom in exchange for returning data so you can protect yourself with cybersecurity strategies that ensure all sensitive data is stored three ways – two copies on separate media formats (e.g. a cloud storage server and an immutable storage bucket) and one copy stored offline (e.g. on a hard drive).

4. Use anti-malware software

Anti-malware software is essential to protect your company from threats including ransomware, spyware, worms, Trojans, and viruses. The best programs will provide real-time and scheduled protection, so you can scan your systems at specific times but know you’re also receiving round-the-clock protection.

Some applications also come with additional features that help boost your cybersecurity, such as regulatory compliance checks to ensure you’re abiding by regulations, and VPNs.

However, don’t simply choose the most expensive package from the provider with the biggest name. As TechRadar explains, if you really want to protect your business effectively, you’ve got to assess what cybersecurity strategies and products your organization needs, examine feature lists, and weigh up which product is right for you. Their guide can help you identify your company’s unique needs and then choose the software best suited to meet these requirements.

5. Implement strong passwords and two-factor authentication for all accounts

It’s common for people to use the same one or two passwords for all their accounts so they don’t need to remember too many – this may be something you do yourself. It’s very high risk when it comes to your company’s data. If a hacker is able to crack one password, they might then be able to gain access to the entire IT system,

To avoid this, cybersecurity strategies must make it mandatory for all passwords to be strong and unique. It’s often possible to set criteria that mean all users must create passwords to pre-determined standards.

For example, minimum character length and a certain number of special characters. However, a simpler approach may be to introduce a password management system that generates passwords on the user’s behalf and then safely stores them in one place.

Two-factor authentication should also be employed wherever possible, requiring employees to provide additional proof of ID on top of their password (e.g. a verification code sent to their phone and email, or biometric proof such as a fingerprint).

Kyle Olsan is a professional writer and blogger who uses his expertise, skills, and personal experience in digital marketing to craft content that resonates with audiences. Deep down, he believes that if you cannot do great things, then you can do small things in a great way. To learn more, you can connect with him online.

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