Cybercrime cost businesses and consumers a staggering $3 billion in 2015 alone, and is expected to reach $6 billion or more by 2021. With this in mind, it’s essential that you understand how to keep your business safe in the digital space. To help you get started, Climb is giving out 10 essential tips to stay cyber safe this holiday season.
1. Create a Plan
With such a diverse and complex range of threats, forming a plan of action is imperative. The specifics of such a plan will depend on the nature of your business, but the best place to start is by conducting an assessment of your operations. Identify any and all data that your business needs to protect, review – and, if necessary, improve – your current security measures and determine who can access this data and under what conditions. Finally, create an incident response plan to detail what steps your business will take in the event of a security breach, data loss or another unexpected incident.
2. Train Your Employees
While you may look to your networks and firewalls and antivirus programs for vulnerabilities, the unfortunate reality is that the greatest security risk often comes from employees themselves. For that reason, it’s essential that you take time to ensure your employees are properly educated on cybersecurity and trained to execute your security plan. In particular, train your employees to spot phishing, spear phishing and other social engineering attacks, and educate them on the proper steps to respond immediately. One effective method is to establish an independent email inbox to which employees can forward any suspicious emails, where they can then be safely examined at a later date.
3. Stay Prepared
The holidays can create all sorts of unexpected issues for businesses, and you’ll need to be prepared to handle any and all of them. One common issue is under staffing, as the combination of increased business volume and employee unavailability means that businesses are often left scrambling to cover too much activity with too few people. This may lead to costly delays, increased processing time and even potentially risky or damaging oversights, so it’s essential to plan ahead and account for any potential staffing shortages and delays.
4. Define Digital Best Practices
You likely have best practices defined for other areas of your business, whether it’s sales, manufacturing, software or anything in between, but do you also have cybersecurity best practices? To minimize your risk, create and codify a set of security standards that you expect your employees to follow. Common best practices include using strong and unique passwords for each employee and each device, using properly configured firewalls on all networks, scheduling regular data backups and, wherever possible, using multi-factor authentication for added security.
5. Implement a BYOD Policy
Does your business permit employees to bring their own devices to work? Are they allowed to connect to your networks with their devices? If so, your cybersecurity plan depends on creating and implementing a clear bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy. This policy should clearly lay out what kinds of devices are and are not permitted, what data and which networks can be accessed and what rights you have, as the employer, to manage your employees’ devices. It’s also critical to require stiff security measures be used on any personal devices to ensure that company data remains well-protected.
Stay tuned for Staying Cyber Safe During the Holidays – PART 2!