It doesn’t matter whether you are a small or mid-sized company. A large organization is usually at hacker’s radar for valuable information in massive amounts, but did you know that hackers also find small organizations attractive? As small setups are easier due to a lack of robust security controls.
Even if the company has the best security policies in place, the employee’ actions also play a key role in keeping data safe. A single employee could be guilty of making a mistake of sharing sensitive company data or clicking on a malware link. So, companies could invest in an app to track employee’s activity as an additional layer of security.
If you educate yourself about the smallest of things that help in enhancing cybersecurity, it could go a long way to help protect the organization.
Here are the top 6 cyber safety practices you could adopt to prevent data leaks and breaches:
- Keeping Personal Information Safe
You might avoid sharing personal information publically in your daily life, such as your credit card number or social security number when answering unknown emails, phone calls, text messages, and instant messages. So, you have to exercise the same carefulness at work.
Cyber criminals create websites and email addresses that look genuine but aren’t. Scammers can even fake caller ID information and take over the company’s social media accounts and interact with the customers even. See that you do not share sensitive information on such platforms. Also, make sure that you are respectful of the other company’s intellectual property. Even an accidental mistake could land you in trouble with the law. Due to these reasons, employers are investing in employee monitoring and resort to using an app to track employee’s activities.
Also, businesses should implement policies that cover topics regarding destroying data the company no longer requires. See that your password is strong and contains at least 10 characters, including symbols, numbers, capital, and lowercase letters. Change your passwords regularly. Companies can also adopt multi-factor authentication, when employees access sensitive network areas, for extra protection.
- Invest in Strong Security Systems
More often than not, smaller businesses think twice about investing in security measures due to budget restraints as the cost of security systems is high. These include strong malware detecting software and anti-virus systems. Then there are regular system checks, external hard drives for storing data, etc. Taking these measures and investing in these things from the beginning could save the business from significant costs in the long run and prevent the financial and legal costs of a data breach. See that all of the devices and systems that you use at work and home are secure with strong passwords and robust cybersecurity software.
Installing a firewall on your company and home network is the first step in preventing cyber-attacks. They keep unauthorized users from accessing your mail, websites, and other important data accessible via the web.
- Steer clear of unknown emails, links, or pop-ups
Phishing is a threat you should avoid at all costs. The hackers could lure you into clicking something that could be a deadly virus or malware and steal all your data. Phishers rely on people to click a pop-up window or any other interesting looking link that has malware embedded in them. Be wary of links and email attachments from people you don’t recognize. A single click could let a hacker in your company’s computer network.
Avoid entering your and company’s information to an email or a pop-up, phishing leads to identity thefts and is the most common way how attacks occur.
- Software Updates and Files Backup
Another important practice is to keep your web browsers, security software, and operating systems updated to the latest versions. Antivirus and anti-malware protection is revised frequently to keep pace with emerging cyber threats. Installing updates assists in defending cyber threats effectively.
Hackers mainly target at your data. Due to this, it is imperative to secure the backup files in case your business suffers a data breach. Every company has rules for how and where to store the backup data. Some files are saved in the cloud while some in external hard drives.
- Third-party Controls
Mostly, data breaches initiate from within the companies. Knowing this, companies have to limit access to valuable data to a limited number of employees. Whoever charged with the responsibility of accessing and using this information should ascertain that he follows the company rules regarding safety and use of that information. He is responsible for keeping it safe from unauthorized access.
Companies also have to keep an eye on third parties who have no direct association with the business, such as former employees, consultants. They might have temporary access to the computer network of the organization. Be sure to restrict third-party access to certain areas where you keep important data and disable access when they have finished the job.
- Using Secure Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi networks at work should be encrypted, hidden, and secure. If you are working from home or anywhere else but the office, you can protect the data via virtual private network VPN. VPNs are crucial when you are working outside the premises of the office. It could be risky to use public Wi-Fi and also increase the risk of your data getting intercepted.
Smart companies invest time, resources, and efforts into training their employees. With the last couple of years being years of cyber-attacks and data breaches, companies cannot do without doing everything they can to prevent a digital attack. As an employee, you must make yourself aware of the company’s policies regarding data safety. Make sure you follow all the rules, and the moment you sense something suspicious, inform the IT department right away. Failure to fix a small flaw could leave your company open to data theft.
If there is any ambiguity regarding a policy, you can always ask. But do not attempt to resolve things on your own if you lack the knowledge to do it. With the right security measures in place, the above-mentioned practices are some of the main things every employee should know and implement. Knowing the right steps could strengthen your company’s vulnerabilities against data breaches. Knowing these simple yet effective measures could make all the difference between a security company and the one a hacker might be interested in getting into.