Are you keeping your business secure online?
Online security is now more important than ever, with over 8 billion accounts compromised each year. But if online security isn’t your specialty, you might not know where to start.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Read on for these eight tips on building an online security strategy to keep you and your business safe.
1. Know the Risks and Your Vital Digital Assets
There is an ever-growing list of online threats that can topple any business; large or small. These include attacks like:
- software vulnerabilities
It’s important you understand what risks are out there. You also need to know how a successful attack could affect your business.
When you know what you’re facing, you can let identify your vital digital assets. Things like the personal devices of staff and customers, to your network hub.
Take a full inventory of your digital assets and what threats they face. This way, you can start learning how to best protect them.
2. Work Out What the Law Says You Have to Protect
Compliance and security aren’t the same thing. But, most businesses will find it easier to put responsibility for both together.
Remember, not complying with current national and international regulations can be costly and damaging. Make sure your online security plan accounts for required compliance.
You want to keep these compliance frameworks in mind and at the forefront of your strategy. This way, you can make sure you’re not going to get caught in a sticky legal situation by accident.
3. Keep Network Access Protected
Now isn’t the time to start slacking, you want to take a thorough approach. Make sure endpoint, WiFi network, and firewall security is in place. And you’re covered from all angles.
Firewalls remain one of the best ways to protect your business. They track and control network traffic. They also put up a wall between your vital internal networks and the unknown online world.
WiFi networks (both internal and customer-facing) are prime targets. Vulnerabilities can occur even in the most reputable, trusted providers.
Make sure your route is in a safe location and it’s secured. Set secure keys and passwords for anyone to join it. Each device on your network, personal and company-owned, is a vulnerability.
This is even more true with so many people now working from home and remote-working. It’s more important than ever to implement account management software. This is software that controls access to your network.
Make sure you have tight account management, don’t leave guests with access. Or accounts of employees no longer working with you. And put in place strict update policies that all devices must have the latest updates.
4. Use a System of Regular Security Maintenance
If you’re new to online security, it’ll take some time to get your head around it. But one quick and easy thing you can do is to put in place regular security maintenance.
Make sure that regular scans are in place for all devices (personal and company-owned). It looks for new updates for antivirus software, antispyware, and operating systems. Apply any it finds, apply them across the company immediately.
Look for a security vendor that proves automatic updates. You don’t need to worry about forgetting, or not having the time and resources to do it yourself.
5. Maintain Strong Password Security
Many online attacks happen because passwords aren’t strong enough. Hackers use technology that lets them crack even encrypted passwords. A process referred to as “brute forcing”.
You can’t protect yourself 100% from password threats, but you can make it harder for hackers. To do this, set in place a strong, sophisticated password strategy. Make sure:
- employees have to use passwords with upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols
- employees must reset their password every few weeks (60 days max)
- admin accounts should have even more complex passwords (avoid easy ones like “Password123”)
- Set consequences for employees who don’t follow password procedure and carry out audits
Employees must be serious about password security so make sure they know the rules. Enforce them, and praise those who follow it. You want to foster an environment where everyone views online security the same way you do.
6. Keep a Look Out for Internal Threats
Around 31.5% of attacks are actually carried out as a malicious inside job. And around 23.5% happen either by accident, or people claiming they don’t know what they did. Add that together, you’re looking at around 55% of attacks coming from internal threats.
Focus on the internal protocol as much as protecting your business from outside threats. Keep an eye on employee access to networks, and secure data. Make sure you’re got something like a multi-step authenticator in place as well.
This is a good step in helping protect yourself from internal data leaks. Don’t feel guilty about watching your employees job activity, or asking them questions. You have to look out for all online threats for the sake of your business and your clients. That includes looking for an inside job.
7. Give Constant, Consistent Training
That said, accidents do happen and it’s important to stay on top of your game. Especially if you’re using your own internal IT team to keep up with online security. So, keep them on their toes with regular training and attack simulation sessions.
Online security should take up at least one meeting a week. You should ask them:
- how they’re improving their skills
- what improvements they think the strategy needs
- if they’ve had any suspicious activity
- what latest attack trends and methods are
- if there are any new threats to worry about
This meeting can be in person, or by conference call given the current climate. Also, hold business-wide training sessions and courses that employees must take.
Everyone has a responsibility for maintaining online security, and everyone must do their part. So make sure each employee knows how their individual actions make a difference and what they need to do.
8. Back Up!
Should the worst happen, you may find yourself locked out of your network. Everything you store in there will either be gone, or you won’t have access to it anymore. Getting it back can be a long, laborious process that shuts down your operations.
You can protect yourself from this by backing up all your vital data. This should include things like:
- key documents
- spreadsheet and accounts information
- financial and legal forms
- HR files
Where possible, you should store your backups in a secure, external location. It’ll save you downtime and panic should you end up locked out of your systems.
As an extra tip, make sure every employee has their own account and they’re not sharing. Have an access hierarchy, and only give the most sensitive data access to those you trust, and who need it.
Creating an Online Security Strategy Made Easy
So, there you have it! Now you know these eight tips, you’re well on the way to making an online security strategy that’s right for you.
Online security is a business-wide endeavor. So make sure all your employees have the training and knowledge they need to keep safe. Practice strong password security, and pay close, quick attention to account management. And always back up your data!
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