A study by security company Kaspersky found an alarming statistic. The average cost of a data breach for a small business is around $120,000. Damage of this magnitude can easily be crippling to a small startup. Thankfully, a few simple actions can prevent this nightmare from becoming a reality. Here are several strategies for augmenting your company’s cybersecurity program.
Address Cloud Security Needs
Cloud security is crucial because cloud computing is so ubiquitous. Applications rely on it. Functions like data extraction systems make use of it. The cloud is where most people back up their data. It stands to reason that cloud security should be a primary consideration for all business owners. Most cloud providers take security architecture very seriously. “Some,” however, does not imply “all.” Decentralized data storage will always carry associated risks. You should always review the policies of specific providers and shop around for the service that fits your security expectations.
Make Scam Prevention a Priority
Most cyber-attacks require few technical skills on the part of the hacker. One of the most common attacks is called “phishing.” Phishing scams happen when a criminal deceives their victim into giving out sensitive information. The hacker will pretend to be a legitimate service either over the phone or by building a phony website similar to the site of a legit business. Teach everyone who works for you to identify the warning signs of these scams. For example, fake URLs are subtly different from legitimate ones. Make rigorous authentication standards a basic protocol for everyone. Security company Tessian found that 43% of employees admitted to making security errors at work. Keep training regimens constant and updated to foil emerging scams.
Utilize Zero-Trust Architecture
Perhaps the best way to stop scams before they happen is to trust no one. This policy might sound a bit paranoid, but criminals can’t attack your network if they can’t access it. “Zero-trust” security means assuming the worst from unknown users. Determine their legitimacy by using several layers of authentication. Limit their internal access to a bare minimum. Employing multi factor authentication (MFA) systems is an excellent way to start building a zero-trust architecture. Since geography is no limit to cybercrime, it pays to have all your bases covered.
Tailor Solutions to Remote Work
With more teams than ever working remotely, it’s time to take endpoint security seriously. Endpoint security in this context means standardizing defenses across a diverse array of user endpoints. Everyone should have basic antivirus programs installed on their devices. Nobody should send sensitive financial data over unsecured WiFi connections. All employees should lock up their devices at the end of the business day. Enforce compliance with this fundamental set of security parameters. Doing so will keep everyone safer.
Have Better Password Protocols
Poor password management is the cause of nearly 30% of data breaches. There are two root causes for this: weak passwords and compromised passwords. Ideally, passwords should be at least 12 characters in length. Those characters should be a random mixture of symbols, numbers, and letters. If possible, use a one-time password (OTP) for system access. Even the strongest code is useless if it gets stolen, though. Never leave a written password in a public space. Treat it as you would any other key.
Prioritize Safe Data Storage
Your data is safest when it’s tough to access. An encrypted hard drive is optimal, but it’s not always feasible or convenient. Thankfully, other options exist. The most obvious (and secure) decision is to remove sensitive information from the internet. Storing hard copies in a locked cabinet ends the specter of hacking entirely. For bulk storage, though, USB drives are relatively low-cost and come with an array of encryption options, including biometric locking.
Data breaches are a common threat, but that doesn’t mean they’re inevitable. The most straightforward steps can often pay dividends regarding safety and peace of mind. Consider these tips a foundation as you pursue a broad security protocol that will keep your company secure.