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Stay Ahead of the Game: How to Keep Your Business Cyber Safe

October is not just a month for witches, ghosts and ghouls on Halloween. It also marks the start of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month and the European Cyber Security Month. The month acts as a valuable reminder for organizations and people around the world to evaluate and ramp up their online security. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. This is primarily due to the cybersecurity crisis that organizations are facing. Not a day passes without the news of cyber threats and personal information hacks. To deal with this, the industry needs qualified cyber security and cybercrime specialists who can prevent these attacks and deal with their repercussions. According to (ISC)2 research, the shortage of cybersecurity professionals is close to three million globally. And, it’s not just the professionals.

Organizations need to empower the employees to recognize common internet threats that can affect business operations. In this article, we look at how companies can fortify their cyber security defenses and protect themselves against attacks of phishers, hacktivists, and cybercriminals.

Recognize the Growing Threat of Cybercrime


Most business owners believe that cybercrimes affect just big organizations. In reality, cyber criminals are more likely to target small businesses with less than 500 employees. According to a 2019 report by leading cybersecurity and intelligence firm 4iQ, there was a 424% increase in new breaches of small businesses in 2018 compared to 2017. With emerging technologies and digital strategies becoming sophisticated, malicious attacks have become extremely common, especially by data thieves who are looking for the path of least resistance. Since many small businesses have professional relationships with larger organisations, they may be the conduit to a network of sensitive data. Also, most small businesses have valuable customer and employee information that is valuable for the hackers. This is why businesses, big and small need to invest in cybersecurity.

Train your Employees


Due to the nature of information that they manage, it’s important to train employees to detect threats and defend themselves from cyberattacks. The State of IT Security for 2019 survey by Syncsort found that some of the biggest problems faced by IT security professionals was email security and employee training. For employees to be able to spot and prevent security breaches, they’ll need basic education and training in the different ways that cybercrimes can present themselves. This includes phishing, ransomware, spam, malware and social engineering.

Create a security-conscious workplace by motivating the employees and discouraging them from leaking out crucial information. Keep the passwords safe from unauthorized personnel and use a password manager for generating and managing passwords in the company. Hold cybersecurity training programmes to train employees and keep them from accidently compromising your company information and data.

Keep Your Information Safe


Your business data is one of your most valuable assets and a data breach can cripple your business. An effective cybercrime protection strategy is to render all sensitive data useless if it falls into the wrong hands. Companies can achieve this by always encrypting their data. It’s also advisable to back up all data. This will prevent the business from falling prey to ransomware hackers who lock companies out of their systems, encrypt their data and ask for a ransom to be paid before releasing the data. By backing up the data and storing it safely, you can stay one step ahead of them.

Also, reliable antivirus software should be installed in computers and servers to scan the folders and files on a regular basis. The software should update to the latest version.

Secure the Hardware


It’s not just the software. Data breaches can be caused by the physical property being stolen too. If it’s easy to steal your laptops, servers, cell phones or other electronics, you are taking a big risk. Along with security cameras and alarms, it’s important to physically lock down computers and servers to secure them.

Hire Security Professional with Expertise


Building a strong security team is the key to dealing with cyber threats to your business. Unfortunately, most recruiters are unable to find professionals with the right expertise. A report by CISCO estimates that there are currently 1 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide while Symantec predicts that by 2019 this shortage will see 1.5 million unfilled jobs in the field. Employers now need to look beyond the obvious which could be increased investment, either in current employees or future hires, in education and training to equip workers to fill these roles. Hire cybersecurity experts who are able to keep pace with the latest from the world of cyberthreats. 

A cyber threat can cost your business time, money and effort that serves as a distraction from your primary mission of serving customers. This is why this Cyber Security Month, it’s important that you invest the right resources to ensure that your company remains safe and secure.

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