Cybersecurity is a critical concern for businesses of all sizes. To protect your confidential data, it is important to implement effective cybersecurity measures and practices. Here are some tips and best practices to help you get started.

Understanding The Importance of Cybersecurity

The recent, highly publicized data breaches at big box stores like Target and Home Depot have raised awareness about the importance of cybersecurity in all industries. It’s highly important to understand that cybersecurity is complex and needs proper attention. The U.S. government’s efforts to tighten cyber security regulations through threats of non-compliant penalties also have businesses taking notice and implementing measures and practices that help protect their digital assets and confidential information from possible attacks.

New Government Regulations Mean Big Changes for Your Business

Federal legislation is requiring significant changes for business owners who do not adhere to strict standards set forth by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). These new policies will affect the way you handle your employees as well as how you retain sensitive information as a whole. For example, if your company fails to employ two-factor authentication methods, such as the use of a VPN, you will be subject to fines and penalties.

You Need Cybersecurity Insurance

The threat of cyber attacks is growing every day so it’s essential to have cybersecurity insurance in place before your business experiences any costly downtime or data breaches. These types of policies can reimburse your business for expenses including forensic investigations, crisis management services, PR services, and more after an attack has occurred. If you’re interested in learning more about these options, here are some resources that describe the benefits of mandatory cybersecurity insurance.

Protect Your Employees to Protect Your Company

Proper training is crucial if you want your staff members to protect your company from potential threats. According to the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT), businesses need a “human firewall” that emphasizes cybersecurity training for their employees. This kind of training helps your staff know what to look out for when it comes to suspicious emails, scams, malware, and phishing attempts.

Train Your Staff at All Levels 

Level 1-2 personnel is usually the ones who come into contact most often with confidential customer information. As the owner of a business, you need to make sure all staff members throughout your company are aware of how they can contribute to protecting your assets. Even if you do all you can to protect your business, someone could become the target of a phishing scam because they don’t know how to identify those kinds of emails. Make sure employees at all levels receive cybersecurity training so they know what kind of information is safe to share and who should be contacted in case suspicious messages end up in their inboxes.

Protect What’s Most Important 

A cyber-attack only has three possible outcomes: loss of revenue or services, damaged equipment or data integrity, or privacy breaches that result in lost business opportunities due to negative publicity surrounding the attack. With this in mind, you must do all you can to protect your data by employing a defense-in-depth strategy. This means making sure you have a well-thought-out mitigation and recovery plan in place before an emergency arises.

Create a Cyber Incident Response Plan

The best way to prepare for a potential crisis is to develop a cyber incident response plan ahead of time so all your staff members know what to do in the event of an attack. The Center for Internet Security (CIS) offers some free resources that can help guide your efforts as you create this plan because protecting your business from cyberattacks is everyone’s responsibility.

Cybersecurity Guidelines for Small Businesses

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable, as they lack the same tools larger corporations use to protect themselves. The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) offers some guidelines that are worth considering if your business falls into this category.

Establish Cybersecurity Goals 

As a small business, you need to create three main security goals that the entire company can help contribute to achieving: preventing cyberattacks, maintaining data and network security, and addressing social engineering attempts that lead to loss of information or assets. 

Employ Strong Authentication Methods for Your Business 

Circle MTS suggests using two-factor authentication techniques as part of “stepping up” your overall cybersecurity efforts. A VPN is another option but it’s important to look at all factors before choosing which method will work best for your company. Make sure you know what kind of data is being transmitted so you can protect your company from a variety of threats.

Making sure your employees are well-trained on the latest cybersecurity measures will help protect your business from a wide range of threats. After all, it’s not just up to you as the owner to keep your assets safe – everyone who works for you is responsible for helping secure your company against cyberattacks.