The biggest threats to the success of any business are cyberattacks and data breaches. As technology advances, so do the efforts of cybercriminals, who look for weaknesses in cybersecurity in businesses and organizations.
One of the most important ways to improve cybersecurity for your business is within your own company. It’s your employees who are the front line of defense when it comes to cybercrime. They can also be your worst liability when it comes to engaging in bad habits that weaken your security strategy and give cyberhackers an opportunity to gain access to your network.
Using the following tips, you can boost cybersecurity and keep your business and data safe.
Start With Awareness
The first way to increase your security is by making your employees more aware of the risks and how they can play a big part in your cybersecurity plan. Your employees are busy with their own tasks and deadlines. So instead of giving them training resources, it’s important that awareness should include information and training that’s going to make them care more about cybersecurity in the workplace:
- Schedule employee training about cybersecurity, making it clear that no business or individual is safe from a cyberattack.
- When hiring new employees, make security awareness part of the onboarding process.
- Implement a security training plan for all employees that is updated regularly and easily accessible to everyone.
- Send out updates about protocol and new threats to be aware of.
- Educate employees about data privacy policies – the use of some of the data they can access may be restricted by privacy laws.
- Have cybersecurity professionals come in to talk to employees about the specifics of security for their job.
- Hold frequent training sessions about cybersecurity.
- Lead by example. As a business owner or manager show your employees that you take cybersecurity seriously and are following best practices yourself.
Tips for Basic Security
There are some basic security tips and practices that businesses should implement with all employees no matter the size of their organization. It’s these security practices that can mitigate the risk of cybersecurity breaches and prevent hackers from gaining easy access to your data.
From locking devices when they’re left unattended to having services time-out and need password input again, use these basic security tips with your employees:
- Use a password manager to store and manage passwords.
- Add more layers of security to accounts and data by using multi-factor authentication and encrypting data.
- Regularly back up data.
- Mitigate risk by monitoring your computer network for any suspicious activity.
- Limit the use of external devices, such as flash drives and smartphones.
Online Safety Tips
As well as the best practices for keeping networks and computer devices safe, employees should also use safety tips when they’re online. It’s not just company devices that are a concern when employees access the internet. Most businesses allow employees to use their personal devices at work as well.
Whether they’re browsing the internet for business or personal use or sending and receiving emails, there are things employees can do to be safe online:
- Use virtual private networks for added security.
- Have a policy in place that any financial or informational transactions need authorization from a CFO or manager.
- Caution employees about any information they share on social media whether they’re using a business or personal account.
- Educate employees about phishing scams.
- Educate employees about reviewing emails carefully before taking any action.
- Enable email server settings to tag and label any email that originates from outside your business.
- Educate employees to never click on the email links from unknown senders.
- Train remote workers on how to securely access business data when working outside of the office.
It’s not just your employees who need to focus on better security practices – managers, CEOs, and owners of SMEs need to up their game as well when it comes to cybersecurity. After all, it’s your entire network that’s vulnerable and at risk.
Management can do a better job when it comes to making cybersecurity a top priority so the entire business can focus on risk assessment and take appropriate measures to mitigate vulnerabilities through risk management.
Other security tips for management include:
- Encourage regular cybersecurity communication between management, your IT team, and board members so everyone has a clear understanding of security policies.
- Provide training to your IT team so they’re well skilled in cybersecurity practices and defenses.
- Regularly assess software performance to identify any weaknesses.
- To safeguard against stale accounts, implement admin practices to have all passwords expire.
- Revoke network access when employees leave your business.
- Delete stale data that may be at risk if there’s a breach attack.
- Never ignore software updates – these updates often contain important security patches. Use the “zero-trust model” – this restricts employee access to your entire network based on user permissions and verification.
- Manage secure access and permission rights to all data files and folders.
By increasing employee awareness and training, you’ll be able to minimize security threats within your own business. Both awareness and training can help to reduce errors and educate employees about the risks to security that happen when they’re careless or too lazy to follow best security practices.
It’s this security training that can protect your company’s reputation and avoid expensive security breaches that you may not be able to recover from. Budgeting for cybersecurity is essential for any business or organization and worth the investment and success of your company. See a visual guide by Varonis below to learn more about fully utilizing cybersecurity best practices.
About the Author
Rob Sobers is a software engineer at Varonis specializing in web security and is the co-author of the book Learn Ruby the Hard Way. Rob started building things with computers in 1994 and has been involved in the tech field ever since. Connect with Rob on Twitter @rsobers or on his site robsobers.com.