With the entire world slowly shifting to get things done online, cybersecurity becomes an important aspect. How to make sure your information is safe? Read on to find out…
The year 2020 has brought a lot of challenges to everyone across the globe. With the pandemic taking full form, everything receding into online mode and the increased use of internet and technology to carry out even our daily activities, the use of technology has increased tremendously in the last one year. However, with the increased use of the internet comes the threat of data breach and threat to privacy. Hackers took advantage of the gaps in new remote work environments as the global cyber-attack surface greatly expanded. Governments, companies, organizations, and individuals have paid a heavy price from breaches and from ransomware attacks — clearly, we were not adequately prepared for the digital virus either. 2021 needs to be the year for cybersecurity preparedness. Read this blog to find out how to improve cybersecurity this year and why it is needed.
Why is Cybersecurity important?
It is the duty of a company or any organization to keep the data of their employees and stakeholders safe from any form of security breach. With most businesses and organizations operating online, hackers stepped up attacks against an expanded and target-rich environment in 2020. Breaches almost doubled from 2019. This comes as no surprise because there were close to 4.6 billion Internet users active as of July 2020, representing 59% of the world’s population. Statista Online crimes reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) that cyber crimes nearly quadrupled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, it becomes increasingly important to protect your organization and its confidential information from security breaches happening across the globe.
Tips to Improve Cybersecurity this year
1. Store employee information correctly
In October 2020, Pfizer suffered a huge data breach because of unsecured cloud storage. Secure data storage needs to take priority in 2021. Be aware of where you store critical employee information and corporate data and who has access to them. Performing a security audit will flag any insecure storage. If you don’t already use an HRIS, then get to know about how it keeps your employee information safe.
2. Create a cybersecurity framework
Explore Cybersecurity Frameworks such as NIST or MITRE ATT&CK®. which offer guidance on technical organization and response programs that identify and suggest means to mitigate gaps for cyber-threats. Cybersecurity frameworks are based upon lessons learned and continually modified to address new threats, including an incident response to a breach. Your goal should be to use these frameworks to create barriers to breach and policies for resilience.
3. Create and Update the data security policy
Create or update your ‘acceptable use’ policy. This outlines the appropriate use of business assets and employee information. You’ll want to include details of who has access to your employee information and how said information will be used. Your policy should also detail the procedures your business will follow if a violation takes place.
4. Enforce and Review your data security policy
It is one thing to draw up a policy, and another thing to implement it. In 2021, it’s a great idea to get into the habit of regularly reviewing who has access to sensitive information and updating authorizations accordingly. You should review your policy at least twice a year to ensure it addresses the most current security best practices.
5. Educate and train your staff
Human error is one of the prime suspects when it comes to cyber breaches. Educating and training your staff on security best practices is, therefore, vital — especially with the recent rise of remote work. Reminding employees of the basics is a good start. Start providing them detailed information on things like using a strong password, checking the recipients to whom they’re sending out mails and communications, etc.
6. Enact basic cyber hygiene amongst your staff
Ask your employees if they have a strong password or a multi-factor authentication in place. Make sure that they have their key data backed up. Enquire from them of certain aspects like “Do you use a secure WIFI? Do you need to use a virtual private network or encryption?”, etc. Be sure to update your antivirus software applications and regularly patch security flaws as they are updated.
7. Be on the lookout for attacks
With the volumes of social media information out there on your personal likes and dislikes, hackers can figure ways to reach out to you with malware via phishing. Always look at who the emails or texts are actually from, and do not open up any files that are suspicious. Always be suspicious and operate on the premise of zero trust when it comes to social engineering threats.
8. Prepare your Internet of Things (IoT) devices
Each IoT device represents an attack surface that can be an avenue into your data for hackers. A Comcast report found that the average household is hit with 104 threats every month. The most vulnerable devices include laptops, computers, smartphones and tablets, networked cameras and storage devices, and streaming video devices, a new report found. An important step to take to improve cybersecurity this year is to change your default passwords on any IoT devices you have in your network.
9. Consider outsourced security services
If you have a small or medium sized business, consider bringing in outside cybersecurity expertise or managed service. They can augment your security posture with your internal IT shop and perform vulnerability assessments and recommend solutions and services that are most applicable to your industry requirements.
Keeping aside biological and natural threats, threats from social engineering are likely to take a very big and bad shape if organizations don’t pay attention to it and adopt cybersecurity measures. It can lead to heavy breaches of confidential data, sometimes even data of national and international security. Hence, to be on the safe side, try to implement the above strategies in your day to day functioning, as it can help a lot to improve the cybersecurity this year.
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