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How to Create an Effective Cybersecurity Routine

With your business facing so many competing interests from the cost of securing new finance, your competitors, and a fast-changing market, you might think that cybersecurity is something that can wait. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to tell you that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s take a look at the basic things you need to have in place if you’re going to be able to create an effective cybersecurity routine.

Why cybersecurity matters.

Cyber-attacks are rising every month when you take a look at the data, but what does that mean for you and your business? Well, it means that you stand a 1 in 5 chance of being one of the 60 million Americans impacted by the misuse of their personal data every single year.

These kinds of stats aren’t designed to scare you into action. They’re being passed on so that you can see just how widespread the issue has become. Cybersecurity is no longer something you see in the movies. It’s an everyday occurrence for thousands of businesses and millions of people. And it’s one that you need to get a handle on if you’re going to be able to thrive in the digital age.

Educate your staff about best practices

One of the surprising things you learn about cybersecurity right at the start, it really doesn’t matter how sophisticated your software is. Okay, that’s not quite true. While you need the latest cybersecurity software, you always need to close the most significant backdoor: human error.

“No matter how good your tech is, if your staff hasn’t been told the common pitfalls to avoid, then, you’re in trouble. I make a point of getting someone external to come and do quarterly refreshers, and it works. I’d recommend every business to take a look at it” — says Veronica Wright, CEO of Resumes Centre.

Something as simple as telling your staff not to click on the links in emails that are redirected to their spam folder could save you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in lost productivity. Close the human backdoor, and you’ll be all the better for it.

Create a culture where updates are always the norm

Close behind the urge to click a tempting link, is the urge to put an update off until tomorrow. The problem is that tomorrow never comes because no one wants to sit there for 10 minutes and wait when all they want to do is get an email fired off.

Microsoft and Apple discover holes in their systems on a rolling basis and create patches and upgrades to ensure you are safe online. They kind of have an impossible job because they have to continually evolve to keep pace with the changing face of cyber-attacks. But they also have to try and persuade users to click a button and deploy the update. Educate your staff, and tell them that automatic updates are just as important as clocking in on time, or being present at the town hall meetings.

Create local and cloud backups today

Backing up is one of the essential threads of any cybersecurity routine, but it’s not without its potential issues. You can segment the hard drive of every workstation, and that will help to a degree. But you may find that all of your workstations are put offline by a sudden attack. There’s also the potential for backups that are kept in the same physical location to be destroyed by other means. Sounds scary, but it could happen.

Cloud backups are the way of the future for 3 very good reasons:

  1. You can store your data offsite at a different physical location
  2. If you choose a massive company like AWS, you can sleep with the peace of mind that only comes from knowing that your data is being safeguarded by the best and brightest the tech world has to offer
  3. You’re not going to run into issues like data overspills or faulty external drives

Practice good password security at every level.

Picking the name of your first pet and combining it with your wedding anniversary makes a memorable password, but it’s not in the least bit secure. Using a randomly generated key is always the best approach to creating robust passwords, and it makes your business so much more secure.

“We have a password policy where no one picks their own password. They’re created by our cybersecurity department to prioritize security and resistance to brute force attacks. We thought it would annoy our team at first, but everyone quickly got on board when we explained the reasons behind it” — shares James Lewis, Network Security Administrator at Resumes Expert.

Hire a specialist to conduct periodic malware investigations

Did you know that it’s predicted the US will account for more than 50% of all breached data within the next five years? A degree of complacency towards the ever-growing issue of malware is a crucial driver of this trend, and it’s one that any organization can readily reverse.

There’re so many examples that you’ll come across online of companies having to report huge data thefts years afterward. The issue isn’t so much that they tried to withhold the information from going public. It’s that it took them that long to realize an attack had even taken place. Malware can be hidden in virtually anything, even seemingly harmless app store downloads.

Taking a proactive, rather than reactive approach is always the best way to keep your business safe and secure. Have a specialist sweep your entire system on a daily basis, and you’ll be amazed at the number of things they’re able to flag up straight away.

Block ads and popups to remove the temptation to click

Ads and popups are another way into your organization, so you’re going to need to block them before they have the chance to catch the eye of one of your employees.

Final Thoughts: Always stay one step ahead of the latest sophisticated attacks

The rapid rise in cyber-crime due to AI is something that many businesses aren’t adequately prepared. These intelligent attacks are a world away from the brute force attempts of just 3 years ago. They require a refined and sophisticated approach to cybersecurity that gets your entire organization onboard.

If you want to keep your business safe for years to come, then you’re going to need to stay one step ahead at all times. Work with a team that actively searches out and predicts the latest threats before they manifest themselves, and you’ll notice your number of attempted breaches falls off rapidly. Just what you need when you want to focus on growing your business, rather than recovering from yet another cyber-attack.

Originally published at https://readwrite.com, by Chris Mercer, on April 30, 2019.

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