Today we are surrounded by cyberattacks news. Every day, one company or the other is getting cyber attacked. You should make it to the news for good reasons and not as a recent cyber attack victim! Today, data breaches and fraud affect over 25% of businesses with an average fraud loss of $38,000. Thereby, damaging customer trust and pushing businesses into bankruptcy. To lower your risk and keep your data safe, you need to be aware of the essential cybersecurity practices. As they say, prevention is better than cure, here are some action steps you can take to prevent cyberattacks now and in the future.
5 Best practices to prevent cyberattacks
1. Educate and train your employees
89% of IT leaders said that cybersecurity is their top priority. And that nearly 30% of breaches are caused by internal actors. In other words, one of the most common ways cybercriminals get access to your data is through your employees. This is what usually happens, hackers send fraudulent emails impersonating someone in your organization and will either ask for personal details or access to certain files. And these links often seem so real that even an expert security professional may miss the fraud signs and fall into the hackers’ trap. This is mainly the reason why you should educate and train your employees on cybersecurity measures. Educate your employees to:
- Check links before clicking them
- Check email addresses from the received email
- Think twice before sending sensitive information. In case of doubt, it’s best to contact the IT department and give a call to the person in whose name the mail has been sent
- Make their Wi-Fi networks hidden and secure
- Install, use and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software in their work system
- Use a firewall for their Internet connection
2. Update your systems and software on a regular basis
Often cyberattacks happen because your systems or software aren’t fully up to date, leaving room for hackers to act on. And hackers never let go of a chance to gain access to your system network. Once they are in, it’s game over! Thus, it’s important you update your system without fail. Despite the security team’s best interest to create secure software, sadly there are many zero-days that may surface once the software is being used by a large user base. And because companies are aware of this fact, they release frequent updates to patch these vulnerabilities. And that’s exactly why you need to update your systems and software as and when the new updates are released. Because they help you prevent cyberattacks that can easily skip the radar of the antivirus programs on your computer. Here are some quick tips to get you started:
- Switch on automatic system updates for your work system
- Ensure your system web browser uses automatic security updates
- Update your web browser plugins like Flash, Java, etc. on a regular basis
3. Protect your endpoints
Many IT professionals place their cybersecurity focus on servers and data centers, but they are leaving one area wide open for attackers to infiltrate: endpoints. These devices are responsible for 70% of data breaches and malware attacks. This indicates that there may be a loophole in the cybersecurity strategy, thereby creating a gap. So, how do you close this gap? Simple – by protecting your endpoints. Endpoint protection protects networks that are remotely bridged to devices. Mobile phones, tablets, and laptops that are connected to corporate networks give access paths to security threats. So, you need to protect these paths with specific endpoint protection software.
4. Use strong passwords and control access to your system
Let me guess, is your password the same for all your accounts – from emails to social media to bank accounts? If yes, then you, my friend are giving an open invitation to hackers to hack your work as well as your personal accounts. In short, having the same password setup for everything can be dangerous. Once a hacker figures out your password, they have access to everything in your system and any application you use. So, use different passwords for different accounts. And most importantly, change them often. This will help you prevent cyberattacks to a really great extent.
Also, it’s a good idea to test your password strength. And remember: the longer your password is, the stronger it is. A password that is at least 12 characters long makes it hard for the hackers to guess it. Good news! Today, there are so many tools out there that can help you test your password strength.
5. Take regular backup of your data
Ransomware and cyberattacks are not the only risks companies face today. Far too often, a company thinks data is backed up – when it’s really not. All this can have a catastrophic consequence on a company. Regardless of the situation, you need to backup your data if you want to avoid downtime, loss of data, and serious financial loss. Always make it a point to create backup copies of important business data and information. Follow the 3-2-1 backup rule. That is, keep 3 copies of your data on 2 different types of media – local and external hard drive. And keep the remaining one copy in an off-site location – in the cloud storage.
In conclusion, if you ever become a victim of ransomware or malware attack, the only way to restore your data is to erase your systems and restore it with the recently performed backup.