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7 Cybersecurity Basics Your Business Should Follow to Prevent Data Breaches

increased 667% since the start of the coronavirus pandemic as hackers look for every chance they can get to infect systems with malware, steal login credentials, and more. Some of the biggest threats that companies face to the wellbeing of their technology infrastructure include:

  1. Ransomware attacks

  2. Virus and other malware infections

  3. Email phishing attacks

  4. Social and text-based phishing

  5. Credential theft

  6. Compromise of sensitive data

  7. Spyware

  8. Stolen financial information Without proper data security and system monitoring, these threats can end up costing businesses dearly, and in some cases cause them to close altogether. The average cost of a data breach is $150 per lost record, and the average number of records compromised in a breach is over 25,500. Because threats are coming from multiple directions daily, a multi-layered approach to data and network security is required to keep your business safe from a breach. These layers are actually just part of good cybersecurity best practices, and if you follow the basics, you’ll be well protected.

What are the Best Practices for Data Breach Prevention? When it comes to cybersecurity basics, these safeguards aren’t like a buffet that you can just pick or choose from. Each has a purpose in protecting your network from a breach and your data from being compromised. That’s why it’s important to employ all of them (or as many as possible) to make sure you have a robust defense against cyberthreats.

Use a Next Generation Firewall A next-gen firewall is akin to sentries standing in a ring around your building. It monitors all traffic coming in and going out of your network and looks for any threats or behavioral anomalies. Firewalls allow you to do things like whitelist the programs allowed to execute system commands, which stops new zero-day threats from harming your system.

Password Management/Two-Factor Authentication Weak and compromised passwords are one of the major causes of data breaches. Microsoft estimates that 81% of data breaches are caused by credential theft. This makes password protection a significant part of any cybersecurity plan. Safeguarding passwords and logins includes:

  1. Ensuring employees use strong passwords

  2. Ensuring employees don’t reuse passwords between accounts

  3. Using a password manager to help staff manage passwords and ensure companies aren’t locked out of their own accounts

  4. Deploying two-factor authentication on all logins

Keep All Devices Properly Updated & Patched Another major cause of data breaches and malware infections is when devices and equipment (like routers) aren’t part of an update and patch management program, like those included in managed IT services. Hackers often exploit newly found system vulnerabilities, which is why many of those operating system, software, and firmware updates include vital security patches to seal those vulnerabilities. If you’re not keeping all devices used to access business data properly updated, you’re leaving an open door for hackers.

Regularly Train Employees on Cybersecurity Awareness The reason phishing attacks are so prevalent and are the main tactic that hackers use to attack, is because humans are vulnerable in a way that machines aren’t. Phishing attacks use all types of psychological ploys to get a user to take action on a phishing email. To keep your users protected, you should let them know what to expect. Cybersecurity awareness training should be conducted on an ongoing basis and cover topics such as:

  1. Phishing awareness

  2. Data handling and privacy policies

  3. What to do if they think they’ve infected their system with malware

  4. Password security

  5. Safe internet habits

  6. Physical device security

  7. Mobile device and public Wi-Fi security

Use Email & Phishing Protection We’ve already touched on the dangers of phishing and the fact that it has increased dramatically this year. Another important best practice is to use safeguards designed to protect your business from becoming a victim of a phishing attack.

  1. Anti-phishing software should be used to monitor email inboxes for threats and scan all file attachments

  2. DNS filtering should be used to prevent a “drive-by” download of malware from a website if a phishing link is clicked accidentally

Keep All Devices Protected with Antivirus/Anti-Malware Today’s malware and viruses are much more advanced than those of a decade ago. They use things like artificial intelligence to wreak havoc on networks and devices. You need to ensure you’re using a modern antivirus/anti-malware and not a signature-based software. Modern antivirus apps use behavioral analysis, AI, and machine learning to identify threats that are brand new and haven’t been seen before.

Use a VPN for Remote and Traveling Employees Due to the pandemic, more offices have employees working remotely from home than ever before. This makes another vital best practice for cybersecurity to use a business virtual private network (VPN) when anyone is connecting outside your office. You have no control over the security of wireless networks employees may be using at home or while on the road. A VPN fixes that vulnerability by encrypting all online traffic to keep it secure, even when someone is on a public Wi-Fi.

Automate Your Security Management & Monitoring with Texas I.T. Pros Keeping up with day-to-day cybersecurity best practices can be a burden for many business owners. Let us do it for you! Our managed I.T. service plans have you covered and give you peace of mind. Contact us today to sign up or learn more! Call 940-239-6500 or reach out online.

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