Saturday, September 30, 2023

What Are The Four Most Critical Cybersecurity Best Practices?

By improving best practices and enlisting the assistance of an experienced IT managed service provider, you can limit the vulnerabilities of your network.  

Cyberattacks on small businesses have increased and become more deliberate. 

Cybersecurity specialist, Earl Foote with Nexus IT in Salt Lake City shares two reasons cybercriminals target small to midsize companies.

First, hackers know smaller businesses don’t have the same resources as large corporations to protect their data. This makes smaller businesses great targets for thieves looking to steal credit card data, intellectual property, and personal information. Bad actors also use smaller businesses to infiltrate larger targets such as banks and government agencies.

Learn what steps your company can take to increase awareness and adopt cybersecurity best practices. Here are the four most crucial steps:

How Can You Educate Your Staff?

Many data breaches start out as human error. That’s why you need to equip your staff with knowledge that can protect company devices, the network, and sensitive data that hackers find attractive.

Include the following topics:

  • Recognizing a potential attack. Help your employees understand the importance of reporting suspicious emails, links, and attachments. These are often phishing, malware, and ransomware attempts to infiltrate your network.
  • Limit physical access to personal devices that connect to the network. Ensure that remote and on-premise workers secure their personal and company devices, including phones, laptops, and workstations.

Policies and procedures should include the appropriate use of social media and email. There should also be clear penalties when employees violate the rules. For example, there’s typically no need to connect the personal device that stores data to a company computer.  Companies today must invest in cybersecurity training to educate their staff.

What About Cybersecurity Software?

Endpoint protection deserves special attention in your cybersecurity strategy. Malware infections used to come mainly through email. However, it’s now showing up on mobile phones, widening the battlefield between hackers and your security team.

Antivirus tools aren’t very effective thanks to the pervasive nature of the latest malware. sophisticated authors of ransomware are astonishingly quick to exploit weaknesses in antivirus software.

That’s why it’s important to partner with an IT managed service provider that can keep you up to date on the latest tools to protect your company’s sensitive data.

How Should You Handle Password Management?

Weak or stolen passwords are one of the main causes of security breaches. However, users are reluctant to change their passwords across different systems despite the risk.

Keep in mind that every password that grants access to company data is a risk. Requiring strong passwords that are frequently changed protects both the employee’s privacy and customer information. Even better, adding multifactor authentication is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to prevent theft of credentials.

What Steps Can Protect Website and Network Security?

Websites are critical to the operation of many businesses. They define the way customers perceive the brand and may even be responsible for revenue through online order processing.

Unfortunately, web application vulnerabilities are a primary source of entry for hackers. Automated bots search the internet for websites with leaky security. When a potential site is found, hackers attempt to access customer payment information and other valuable information. They might use the opportunity to rewrite the website or wipe it out altogether.

Proactive maintenance is critical. Keeping up to date with software versions and patches can make your entire environment more secure. Regular backups ensure that you can get up and running quickly in the event of a data breach.

The same goes for network security. Virtual offices and coworking spaces make it tempting for remote workers to use public Wi-Fi to connect to your network. This leaves you open to credential nabbing and unauthorized access which can result in ransomware and other malware infiltrating your system

In order to maintain network safety, small to midsize businesses should restrict access to essential resources and institute two-step authentication. For improved cybersecurity, remote access should be limited to minimum functions. For example, does the administrative assistant who answers phone calls and checks guests in need access to the company’s financial data?

By improving best practices and enlisting the assistance of an experienced IT managed service provider, you can limit the vulnerabilities of your network.

Andy Debolt
Andy is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Bachelors Degree in Journalism. When he isn't writing Andy enjoys water sports and spending time on the golf course.


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