A cyber security breach can bring a business to its knees in a matter of moments, often leaving a lasting impact even when systems are back up and running again. With cyber criminals growing increasingly resourceful, these attacks are on the rise.
Thankfully, there are many steps that companies can take to protect themselves from the dangers that cyber criminals pose, to keep systems safe from a wide range of malicious threats. While some of these security precautions can require considerable investment, others, such as training and awareness, are relatively easy to incorporate and cost very little.
Take a look at the following tips to learn more about how you can improve your business’s cyber security.
- Prioritize training in cyber security from day one.
Unfortunately, most cyber incidents occur due to operator error—but regular training can help mitigate these risks. New employees may not have the same knowledge and understanding of cyber risks that your existing team does, and this could easily be exploited.
Make security training a priority and ensure that every new team member is fully briefed on what to do, and what not to do, as soon as they start working for your company. Organizations such as The National Cyber Security Centre is a great hub for training resources and articles for access to staff training. Since it has the Cyber Essentials Certification, an affiliation with it also can be a useful way to show that your company is cyber compliant.
- Prepare for the unexpected.
When dealing with a cyber incident, preparation is always the key. A robust incident response plan should be in place and known by all; likewise, any contingency plans or security protocols should be known by the company IT department or IT provider—this way any potential gaps can be taken care of.
It also should not be assumed that your IT provider can deal with some of the complexities involved in dealing with a cyber incident, so it’s up to you to ensure good communication with your employees. If communication channels are open and honest, you’ll find out far more about what teams really know, and where those important knowledge gaps lie, which will help you to develop an effective response plan.
- Keep employees up to date.
When it comes to protecting your business from cybercrimes, you have to make sure your employees are kept up to date. Not only does this mean communicating any new changes in policies, it also means ensuring all software and procedures are kept up to date with latest tricks and trends. This is particularly important when it comes to evolving threats such as crypto mining. In this case, ensure employees know to only use trusted Websites. Leveraging tools that allow monitoring of certain processes and RAM usage are also useful ways to uncover crypto mining schemes, as well as avoid new ones.
- Invest in reliable cyber security tools.
Cyber-attacks are seldom out of the headlines, and when they strike, the results can be devastating. Companies should have commercial-grade anti-virus software installed on their work hardware and utilize this in conjunction with regular back-ups of data to reduce the risk of permanent losses. Companies also can protect themselves by utilizing a multi-factor authentication system.
- Consider insurance coverage.
While training, planning, and investing in the right tools can work to mitigate cyber risks, you still need to be prepared should the worst happen. Any company operating an IT system should seriously consider taking out a cyber Insurance policy. Over the years, these policies have been specially developed to include a wide range of coverages that will help a business in the event of a cyber incident. Good policies can include things such as:
- Cyber incident response costs to cover the price of IT forensics, legal, and crisis communications
- Cybercrime coverage to protect against losses due to social engineering, theft of personal funds, cyber extortion, ransomware attacks, and unauthorized use of computer resources through crypto jacking or bot-netting.
- Coverage for system damage and business interruption, which includes full data re-creation, income loss and extra expense, reputational harm and hardware repair or replacements.
- Network security and privacy liability coverage, which mainly includes management liability arising from cyber events and regulatory fines and penalties.
- Raise awareness of the most probable threats.
Awareness is one of the best tools to protect against cyber incidents. If employees know what to look out for, they can avoid situations that may pose a threat. This is especially relevant when it comes to fraudulent e-mails that may pass as legitimate at first glance. In these cases, employees who are involved in the most targeted areas or processes (such as invoicing or purchasing) need to be aware of these threats. On a more general note, implementing Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) on e-mail domains can help to reduce the risk of spoofing and thus reduce the chances of e-mail fraud.
Cyber-attacks are on the increase, as criminals seek to extort businesses of all sizes for valuable data and access to vital systems. Make sure your company is well protected from this growing danger by prioritizing cyber security. Invest in training resources, leverage reputable security tools, ensure every member of your team is fully aware of the dangers that cyber criminals pose, and establish a robust plan of action should an incident occur. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to limit the risks associated with security breaches, and safeguard your reputation as a trustworthy business that protects its customers’ data.
Kris Barnfather is a senior account executive at Eggar Forrester Creative, an insurance broker
dedicated to finding bespoke cover for creative professionals.