4 Ways to Keep Cybersecurity Top of Mind Without Breaking the Bank

We live during a time when cybersecurity is an ongoing battle…

So much of a battle that cybersecurity has become a 24/7/365 job—and yes, that includes your favorite holidays and long weekends too.

Today, cybersecurity requires constant attention and needs to be a major focus for businesses of all shapes and sizes. To stay ahead of cyber criminals, businesses must be educated about cybersecurity best practices that can help them improve their security posture.

Below, we will share 4 cybersecurity recommendations that every business can start using right now to keep cybersecurity top of mind year-round and reduce their risk of a costly cyber incident. The best part? You don’t have to be a cybersecurity expert in order to implement these cybersecurity best practices into your business—and they won’t break the bank, either.

Ongoing cybersecurity awareness training.

It might seem obvious, but it’s important that every employee from the receptionist to top-level executives, are included in cybersecurity training and given a clear plan on how they can respond if an issue arises. Training is essential because it allows companies to educate their employees about cybersecurity threats and provide them with guidelines on how they can do their part to keep the company safe.

Did we mention ongoing? A common misstep by many companies is assuming that a single training, webinar, or workshop on cybersecurity is enough. Continuing cybersecurity education throughout the year—not just once annually—is crucial to keeping your business safe and secure from cyber criminals.

Penetration testing.

Believe it or not, companies are constantly exposed to cyber threats. Meaning that sometimes having cybersecurity policies in place is not enough because hackers are finding new ways to get past your cybersecurity defenses. Penetration testing is meant to help companies identify vulnerabilities in their systems and make a plan to fix security issues before they become too serious or costly for your business. Penetration testing gives your company a glance at what could happen if a cyber criminal exploited a weakness and got past your security. Except with penetration testing, you are finding the weakness before a cyber criminal has the chance to.

It’s also a good idea to have a qualified third-party perform the penetration test for you so you can get an expert opinion from someone with an outside view. After all, no one should ever check their own work!

Spoiler alert. We recommend that businesses use penetration testing throughout the year—2 to 4 times annually—not just during a major cybersecurity push.

Simulated phishing attacks.

Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving and it is important that employees know how to spot them, especially when they show up in their email inbox. One of the most effective ways to teach this skill is through simulated phishing attacks. Simulated phishing attacks are an essential part of any cybersecurity training program because they provide employees with the experience of what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a phishing attack.

This way, employees get regular practice and learn how to identify phishing emails and avoid opening any suspicious files or clicking on dangerous links. One of the benefits of this type of training is that employees can find out what it’s like to fall victim to phishing without actually having any negative consequences.

Since phishing attacks are extremely common, the more experience your employees have with simulated phishing attacks, the less likely they are to be fooled by this kind of scam. Use a simulated phishing program that tests your employees on a weekly basis.

Create an incident response plan.

The odds that your business is the next target in a cyber attack have truly never been higher. Here’s to hoping that statement isn’t true, but if it is true—your business needs to be prepared. Cyber attacks are happening at record rates and in the event of a cybersecurity incident, companies need to have an incident response plan in place that outlines exactly what steps must be taken when a business has been breached and data has been stolen or compromised.

Your incident response plan should address who is on your incident response team, what role does each employee play in responding to a breach, how did the cybersecurity incident occur, what needs to be done to contain the breach, what steps must be taken to remove the threat, how do you get back up and running safely, and how can you learn from this event to improve your security posture and limit the chances this happens ever again.

How prepared you are to respond to a breach will help you limit the negative impact on your business like lost productivity and lost revenue. Cyber attacks can happen anytime throughout the year, so make sure your incident response plan is well documented and clearly describes what is expected of all employees.

Concluding thoughts

Year after year, cyber attacks become more common because of the increase in hacking techniques being used by cyber criminals looking to steal data or money from companies—and it’s more important than ever for businesses to sharpen their cybersecurity senses.

The key to staying safe? Awareness, education, and preparedness. Use the recommendations on this page to make cybersecurity a year-round priority and minimize your chances of experiencing a cybersecurity incident.

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Topic: How to Protect Your Business from Ransomware