4 Cyber Security Tips You Need to Know Now to Protect Your Business
Procrastination: Your Network’s Kryptonite
Oh no. Another reminder to update your software or web browser. You roll your eyes and click the “Ignore” button. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?
Moments like this happen every day and are so commonplace you barely even realize what’s happening. But did you know this type of procrastination could put the whole company at risk? Below we’ll discuss cyber security requirements and the role employees play in keeping your small business safe.
The Weakest Link
Movies and TV shows often portray hackers as high-tech supervillains, swimming in a sea of ones and zeros, cracking unbreakable codes and threatening our top levels of security.
But in reality, cyber criminals are much subtler in their tactics. While high-profile data breaches often make the news, the truth is that small businesses are a far more likely target. In fact, 43 percent of small businesses suffered cyberattacks in 2015, and the average loss per business was $180,000. Pretty scary stuff!
Of course, cybercriminals do not need to hack into the mainframe to derail your business. They’d much rather exploit the weakest link in your security network – humans! Did you know 80 percent of data breaches are rooted in some type of employee negligence? Here are some common causes:
We’ve all heard that weak passwords are the bane of cybersecurity. That’s why most services have rules requiring symbols, capitalization and numbers to deliberately complicate sign-in information. But this isn’t enough foil automated hacking software; especially if your login is PA$$WORD123.
While some organizations ask their employees to rethink their passwords every six months, this is unlikely to make anyone safer. Hackers don’t sit on stolen information; they exploit it immediately. Instead, a better strategy is to simply create better passwords.
Controversial computer professional Edward Snowden recommends that users eschew easily-hacked passwords in favor of longer, more complex passphrases which are less vulnerable to brute force attacks.
And don’t be silly enough to leave a sticky note with your password under your keyboard.
Outdated Software or Plugins
Let’s face it, software isn’t perfect. There is a slew of security flaws in every system. Luckily, new patches are continuously developed to close these security gaps. However, each time you ignore an update prompt from your software, you jeopardize your company’s data.
While some cybercriminals are developing the next malware implementation, many more are reaching for the low-hanging fruit – and your outmoded software is ripe for the picking.
Yet, surprisingly, TechTarget reports that “nearly three quarters of companies have no process in place for retiring outmoded software and less than half conduct regular software audits to see how much software is on the network.”
Web applications aren’t any safer. According to an HP Cyber Risk Report, 86 percent of all web applications have serious security issues. And dawdling to update your network security or feigning ignorance when it comes to safeguarding risks by looking into cyber security insurance requirements, isn’t helping matters.
Ignoring a Breach
Everybody makes mistakes. Maybe you fell for an especially crafty phishing scam, or maybe you opened an attachment you shouldn’t have. No matter the circumstance, it’s absolutely vital that you report the breach to IT right away. While a lapse in judgement may not be the end of the world, a festering security breach could be the end of your business. After all, it’s not just your data in there, it’s also the data of your customers.
This tip isn’t just for employees. It’s also important for businesses. Following large-scale data breaches at Target, Home Depot and Chase, the federal government has imposed serious penalties on companies that fail to report a security breach.
By meeting these cyber security requirements and educating your employees about best practices, you can better guard yourself against digital threats.