Cyber-attacks can kill businesses. Leaks of personal or otherwise sensitive information can destroy trust and expose your company to great liability. What’s worse, cyber-attacks are becoming more and more prevalent due to their relative ease. Every organisation should recognise the risks exposing them to these attacks and have preventive measures in place to protect themselves.
There are several issues which create vulnerabilities in a company’s software or network which a cybercriminal can exploit to steal information. Here are some major risks to the security of your data.
- Weak security codes: Security codes that are hastily or improperly developed often have vulnerabilities that were not picked up. Cybercriminals can exploit these weaknesses to access sensitive information.
- Poor configuration security: This occurs when network devices are unconfigured, i.e. set to default settings, which can cause the information to be exposed and easily accessed.
- Issues with patch management: Patches are updates to the code of a program to improve its function or stability. Incompatibility issues with the device’s operating system or problems with the patch itself could cause vulnerabilities in the program.
- Cloud data breaches: While many companies are using cloud data storage for convenience, cloud service providers may lack secure encryption and authentication, leaving their users vulnerable to malware.
- Single-factor authentication (SFA): SFA is when you only need one credential, like a password, to access the account or network. This makes it very easy to access private information once the password is attained through phishing or malware.
To protect your information, you need to make sure that these risks are addressed quickly. A slew of systematic preventive measures is necessary to remove and mitigate vulnerabilities that threaten your business. Here are some organisational initiatives you can implement to improve cybersecurity.
- Employee training: Many cybersecurity risks and breaches themselves stem from human error. Training employees in the principles of cybersecurity, such as not opening untrustworthy emails, can prevent the most common cyber-attacks.
- Limit user access: Require individual employee accounts and user authorisation for critical data, limiting access to employees who do not require it. If possible, restrict software installation permissions to the administrator as well.
- Create a backup strategy: All essential information should be backed up multiple times so that lost data can be recovered in the event of an attack. Backup procedures should also be regularly tested to ensure quick and effective recovery.
- Front-end security: There are various ways to improve front-end code, for example, using frameworks that facilitate secure software writing during development or using modern frameworks that intrinsically protect against vulnerabilities.
- Network security: Wi-Fi networks in the workplace should be secure. It should require passwords for access and use secure encryption when transmitting data.
- Securing and maintenance of the code: The software should be updated at least monthly. All vulnerabilities exposed should be assessed and dealt with immediately.
- Two-factor authentication (2FA): It is optimal to require 2FA to access your network or website. This can be accomplished by, for example, requiring a password and a code sent by SMS for login. It ensures that even in the event of a password attack, the information remains secure.
As threats to cybersecurity intensify, organisations must be knowledgeable of the risks they face and manage them to the best of their ability. While this is a non-exhaustive list, these measures and more can be effectively organised and executed by experts with cybersecurity training or CISSP training. If implemented effectively, these measures will certainly help in minimising the risk of a cyber-attack and mitigating loss in the event of one.