The majority of cyber attacks each year are directed towards SMBs, as they are seen as being easier targets than large and enterprise sized organizations. Taking proactive security measures against the threat of cyber attacks can save your business time and money – use this cybersecurity checklist to protect your company data from falling into the wrong hands.
1. Security Risk Assessment
The first step in taking stock of your company’s cybersecurity standing is to perform a security risk assessment. Performing a thorough security risk assessment will help you better understand what risks your organization is currently immune to, and the effect that they could have on your business in terms of downtime, lost revenue, and time spent recuperating after an attack.
Regulatory requirements may require that you perform regular risk assessments, helping your company take stock on an annual or quarterly basis. Once your assessment has been completed, you will be better equipped to create an informed security strategy that will help to protect your company from future attacks.
2. Face-to-face Employee Training
Training your employees to recognize and react to potential security threats is one of the most important steps your organization can make. The cyber security landscape is constantly evolving and growing, so ongoing training should be implemented for all employees and should cover the different types of security risks, best practices, and employee accountability.
The degree to which your employees are trained will mean the difference between success and failure for your company’s cyber security strategy. Foresight for IT’s Enterprise IT Support Plan offers businesses unique Lunch n Learns, where our cybersecurity experts can meet with your employees one-on-one for more effective training that will resonate far better than most webinars or online training sessions ever could.
3. Protect Your Network and Service
Convenience has quickly taken over security, with many organizations overlooking effective security measures in the name of convenience. Implementing a tighter company-wide password policy is one of the best ways to protect your organization’s network and your service. Passwords should be made up of two or three elements, with combinations of something you know, something you have, and something you are making for the most effective protection.
Multi-factor authentication should also be encouraged across your organization – this may seem excessive to some, but it is becoming a necessity for small and midsize businesses as security risks become increasingly sophisticated. Your business should also implement firewalls, VPNs, antivirus solutions, and network monitoring in order to protect your data from falling into the wrong hands.
4. Keep Software Up to Date
Business software solutions are regularly being updated and patched to lessen the threat of security breaches, making it extremely important for your organization to stay up to date on software updates and patches. Using only the most up to date software solutions will save your company from cyber attacks that prey on software vulnerabilities to gain access to your data. Foresight for IT has made software updates and patches a core element of its monthly IT Support Services, freeing up your employees to focus on the more important elements of their day to day activities.
5. Straightforward Cybersecurity Policies
Your company’s cybersecurity policies should be straightforward, clearly defined, and made easily available to all employees in order to ensure that your entire team is on the same page in regards to organizational cybersecurity. Policies should be made to cover important topics like acceptable internet use, bring your own device (BYOD) policies, authentication requirements, social media policies, and more depending on your business needs. If lawyers would have their way, these documents would be pages long and cover off all potential liabilities – but then nobody would read or abide by them. A clearly stated list of rules that fits on one or two pages is the best way to ensure your employees understand the policy.
6. Backup Your Data
Ensuring that your company recognizes the differences between backups, disaster recovery, and business continuity is extremely important for maintaining the integrity of your business and its data and operations. Backing up your data is simply the storing of your company data on a cloud storage platform or physical server, where a disaster recovery plan allows your business to seamlessly resume its critical services and functions after a breach or attack. Business continuity plans allow your business to plan in advance to ensure that delivery of services are not affected in the event of a breach or attack. Neither disaster recovery nor business continuity are covered by backups, and both should be considered within your organization.
7. Enable Uptime
Any amount of downtime can severely affect your business and its ability to generate revenue. Selecting an effective modern data protection tool offered by companies like Datto will allow your company to immediately recover any data or applications lost or damaged during a cyberattack or data breach. Data protection services like these are a form of business continuity, helping you to effortlessly continue operations in the event of an attack.
8. Know Where Your Data Resides
You should always been aware of where your business data resides – the more spread out your data is, the easier it is for bad actors to access it. These bad data habits can begin at the very top of the chain with business owners storing data on their laptops for convenience – avoiding these management problems as well as Shadow IT and rogue employees from deviating from company policies and storing data in their own locations is important in avoiding data breaches. Your company should be auditing its data and blacklisting applications to ensure that data is only being stored in approved secure locations
9. Control Access to Computers
Many businesses give blanket administrative privileges to all employees across the company – doing so can open up a number of easily preventable cybersecurity risks. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and to the users who require them as part of their job. Keeping track of user accounts is also important to your company’s data integrity, with employee accounts being disabled upon their exit from the organization.
You deserve to have peace of mind about your company’s sensitive data and its ability to continue offering critical services to clients in the event of a cyber attack or breach. Foresight for IT has a number of IT Support Service plans available for small and midsize businesses that go beyond the call of duty to protect your company and free up you and your team to take care of the workplace duties that matter most. For more information about the cybersecurity and IT support services offered by Foresight for IT, contact us today.