In 2017, cyberattack incidents cost companies, consumers, and governments around the world $600 billion. If this figure sounds unsustainably high, consider that projections show it will only continue to rise. Forbes estimates that it will reach $2 trillion by this year.
In the past, cybercrime was a problem reserved for more substantial, wealthier companies with money and consumer data to attract hackers. However, smaller businesses have also become a target. Follow these steps to help prevent data breaches at your company.
Raise Awareness through Training
CNBC notes that a company’s most significant cyber security risk is its employees. In fact, employee negligence remains the most significant cause of data breaches. This may come in the form of losing company equipment or writing down passwords on sticky notes. Raising awareness and regularly training employees on updated best-practices can help to eliminate many of these problems.
Use Antivirus on all Devices
Forbes asserts that antivirus software still plays an indispensable role in preventing cyberattacks. It helps to patch some of the vulnerabilities present in a company’s security system, smart office features, or local network. Most antivirus systems are reasonably priced and easy to use, eliminating any legitimate reasons for companies to neglect this critical step.
Use Firewall to Protect Networks
According to Indiana University, firewall systems block unauthorized access via private network traffic. MacOS, Windows, and Chrome OS include basic built-in firewall protection. However, additional protection may be necessary for businesses, particularly those that use WiFi networks and store large volumes of consumer data.
Rely on Data Loss Prevention Tactics
DLP methods help to protect cyberattacks that originate externally, internally, and even unintentionally. It involves the use of behavioral analytics and data management. Some examples provided by Forbes include the following:
- Conducting regular inspections
- Observing the movement of data
- Blocking Bluetooth and disabling USB ports on key devices
Conduct Vulnerability Scans
As one of the main DLP tactics, this involves scanning devices and networks to look for vulnerabilities. These are the loopholes hackers might exploit to get into a system. Sometimes simple updates to a system for reasons unrelated to security can create security vulnerabilities, so it is important to conduct a scan at least after each new update or patch.
Monitor and Log System Use
When it comes to the general security of premises, a guard’s primary role is to observe and report. To do this, they watch cameras, make patrols and log routine checks, and any abnormalities. Technology professionals can use similar practices to prevent a cyberattack or at least catch on as soon as possible. Monitoring system use and maintaining logs help to determine suspicious behavior and track illegitimate log-ins.
Encourage Multi-Factor Authentication
Few people like to use this feature, even for their accounts. The extra step of copying and pasting or manually typing in code is one many people would prefer to skip. Still, this is one of the best ways to protect accounts. According to Google, two-factor authentication can block 66% of targeted attacks, 99% of phishing attempts, and 100% of automated bot hacks.
Use Change Control and Lifecycle Management
Change control management limits and monitors system changes. For example, employees may be prohibited from making changes to firewall settings, installing new software, or removing antivirus. The tech team then logs all permitted changes. This goes hand-in-hand with managing the lifecycle of devices. For instance, some older operating system platforms are no longer supported by Microsoft, thereby creating a vulnerability issue if not updated. Physical devices also need to be properly disposed off at the end of their lifecycle.
Enforce Policies through Auditing
Conducting regular audits of holistic cyberattack prevention methods helps to protect data from hackers. Unlike vulnerability scans, this also includes evaluating whether or not employees have received proper training. Audits may even include budget assessments to see if more money should be allocated to cyber security and whether or not the current budget is used wisely.
Incident Response Plan
Every company should have crisis management plans. These include emergency plans for fire and natural disasters relevant to that area, such as tornados, earthquakes or flooding. Incident response plans for cyberattacks should follow a similar vein. Just as companies conduct fire and earthquake drills; they should also conduct routine testing of this plan.
The more consumer data a company stores, the more important it is to make cyberattack prevention a priority. At Etech, we rely as much on our call center employees as our information technology team to keep consumer data safe. Contact us today for more information on how we maintain high data security standards for our clients and their customers.