By implementing effective security practices and a thorough business cyber security checklist, you can protect your business from a variety of outside threats and keep sensitive information and customer data safe from nefarious entities. Keep reading to learn more about how you can protect your business today.
Understanding the Importance of Cyber Security
It’s essential that you protect your business from a variety of threats, including those that derive online. Cyberthreats pose an increasingly difficult problem for many businesses—every day, they become more advanced, and the cybercriminals behind them become more cunning.
These criminals seek to use ransomware attacks, social engineering scams, and other malicious tactics to gain access to sensitive data and personal information, which they then use against your business. In the worst cases, these attacks can lead to a complete disruption of your business operations or identity theft.
One of the main benefits of cyber security is that it protects your business from these nefarious threats, offering peace of mind. With a proper cyber security solution in place, you can focus on the core of your business, innovation, and customer satisfaction rather than being disrupted by threat after threat.
Here is a business cyber security checklist that is sure to improve your security posture and help you ward off outside threats.
Updates, Updates, Updates
In general, it’s best practice to keep your entire technological suite up to date to protect it from cyberattacks. Let’s work our way through some of these key areas:
Hardware and Software
Your hardware is an essential component of your IT infrastructure. Because of this, you need to protect it. Aging hardware should be updated with the latest firmware, and obsolete software should, in many cases, be replaced. Older pieces of hardware often have compatibility issues with new update patches, which can leave holes in their security protocol. This makes them an ideal attack point for cybercriminals.
Similarly, you need to keep the software of your web browser, applications, and plug-ins up to date to prevent security breaches. Software updates include the most current security protocol and protect your network devices from emerging threats. Consider enabling automatic updates to reduce the risk of compromising your system.
Operating Systems and Servers
Many businesses run their operations on systems that are a few years old. While you may think nothing of this, maintaining out-of-date operating systems and servers is one of the most dangerous security practices. Many obsolete operating systems and servers no longer receive regular patches. Cybercriminals are well aware of this and will target your business knowing they can easily circumvent years-old security measures.
The best solution for out-of-date or obsolete operating systems and servers is to upgrade to the new version or replace them entirely.
Similar to updating your operating systems and software, it’s essential that your antivirus software regularly scans for updates. As new malicious software and scripts emerge, it’s necessary that your antivirus software can methodically detect, quarantine, and delete harmful code.
Regular antivirus updates enable your software to recognize and manage these new threats effectively.
Network and Data Cyber Protection
The next major step of any business cyber security checklist is to employ comprehensive network and data protection measures.
Data Backup and Failover Servers
In the event of a disaster, you need to have a system in place that allows you to recover your data and information. Fires, floods, power outages, and natural disasters can all disrupt your business operations and put your data at risk. And, without a proper backup plan in place, you may lose access to it forever.
As such, you should back up your data in multiple off-site locations. Should a disaster occur, they can act as failover servers, taking over as your primary data storage center when things go awry. This keeps your business operations online and prevents complete data loss.
Encryption is a means of protecting your data that prevents data from being read without the proper decryption key. You should enable end-to-end encryption on all of the data that you manage. Whether it’s in storage or transit, you must prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.
Cybercriminals often attempt to gain access to your system or network through employee emails. They either pose as a reputable organization and try to trick employees into sharing their login credentials or send malicious attachments that, when opened, spread viruses throughout the system.
Because so many security breaches occur via email, it’s important that you implement stringent email security practices. This includes employee training and spam filtering, which can prevent .BAT, .EXE, .PIF, .VBS, and .SCR files from reaching employee inboxes. These attachment types are commonly used by cybercriminals to spread viruses.
Policies and Employee Training
The final step to any business cyber security checklist is to implement security policies and train employees on how to protect sensitive information.
Password Policy and Multi-Factor Authentication
One of the best ways to prevent unauthorized access to accounts is to use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication (MFA). Hard-to-crack passwords should be updated at least once every three months to prevent hackers from successfully cracking them over a long period of time. Here are a few steps to encourage strong password creation:
- Make passwords 12 characters or longer.
- Use a mixture of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Encourage randomness. Don’t use dictionary words or personally identifiable information like your name.
MFA requires you to provide multiple pieces of authentication information to gain access to your account. MFA can take the form of biometric verification (thumb or facial identification, for example), answering security questions, or using SMS or phone calls to enter a verification code. Using MFA ensures that, even if your password is cracked, your account won’t be compromised.
To prevent security breaches and cyberthreats from impacting your business, you need to make sure your employees are properly trained. Inform employees how to identify suspicious links and emails and show them how to browse the web safely, avoiding sites with insecure connections or shady practices.
Partner with a Managed Service Provider
You can take your business cyber security checklist one step further by partnering with a managed service provider like Arizona Computer Guru. With more than 20 years of industry experience, we’re well-equipped to help you improve your security posture and ward off ever-advancing cyberthreats. We can help you keep your IT environment up to date, provide network and data protection, and ensure that your employees are aware of various cyberthreats.
Explore our managed services to learn more!