Cybersecurity Best Practices for Business

Cybersecurity Best Practices for Business

Why Should CPA Firms Prioritize Cybersecurity as a Top Priority

Cyber-attack statistics indicate that businesses face sustained cyber-attacks, which are only increasing. Applying cybersecurity best practices for business will reduce your risk. Last year, such attacks cost the global economy $1 trillion, fifty percent more than predicted in 2018. Moreover, the cost of an attack has risen steadily over the years, with medium and large businesses now incurring $6.3 million per attack.

Of these attacks, the top five attack threats that all businesses face, whether large or small, are:

  1. Phishing
  2. Malware
  3. Ransomware
  4. Cloud jacking
  5. Insider compromise

Over the next decade, businesses will face increasingly sophisticated threats like deep fakes and AI attacks. While the enemy might be at the door, businesses can undertake cybersecurity best practices to batten the hatches and secure the company.

Cybersecurity Best Practices

1. Look Out for Suspicious Emails

Email phishing is the number one cyber-attack vector that criminals use. After all, why break the door down when you can ask someone inside to let you in? Using anti-phishing software and training employees to identify suspicious emails can help prevent phishing incidences in your organization.

2. Use Antivirus and Antimalware

Antivirus and antimalware software might be as old as computers, but they are far from outdated. In addition, more sophisticated attacks can easily bypass this software, updated antivirus and antimalware prevent 99% of attack vectors from compromising your computers and networks.

3. Keep All Software Updated

Outdated software allows criminals to run Zero-Day attacks, which exploit software vulnerabilities before a security update has been issued or installed. Consequently, keeping software updated ensures all known vulnerabilities are secured, denying attackers a chance to exploit known vulnerabilities.

4. Enable 2-Factor Authentication for All Logins

Two-factor authentication or 2FA secures logins by adding an extra layer of security on top of password security. Enabling 2FA, especially for admin accounts, guarantees no one will access the accounts without the second authentication factor. For example, 2FA options include authenticator apps, a physical device, and biometrics.

5. Do Not Trust Public Networks

Public networks like mall or airport Wi-Fi are hotspots for man-in-the-middle, eavesdropping, and packet sniffing attacks. Avoid using public networks whenever possible and opt for mobile networks like tethering the computer to your mobile phone. In addition, public network safety also applies to plugging your laptop into an ethernet at a public cyber cafe.

6. Set Strong Passwords

Weak passwords are behind many cybersecurity lapses and continue haunting most companies. Setting strong passwords can ensure that, at the very least, brute force attacks will not work. However, strong passwords must also remain confidential. Most importantly, investing in a password management service like LastPass, Bitwarden, and 1Password can be helpful.

7. Schedule Training for All Employees

Enlightened employees are the first line of defense against cyber-attacks. If they are not aware of cyber threats, they may take actions that expose the company. Further, train your employees on cybersecurity, cyber hygiene, password security, and other safety practices so they remain vigilant as they conduct their daily duties.

8. Use Secure Cloud Backup for Important Data

Locally stored files and data are like a sitting duck for cybercriminals. If they manage to breach your network, they will have a field day exploiting this data. Secure cloud backup solutions like OneDrive and Google Drive make it more difficult for criminals to gain access. In addition, they can help reinstate files lost to a ransomware attack, saving the company thousands of dollars in ransom fees.

9. Use HTTPS On All Internet Connections

An HTTPS connection encrypts all data traveling from one Internet server to another, ensuring no one intercepting the data can see its contents. If you run an eCommerce store or any other online business that relies on sending information via the Internet, ensure all connections, including your website, have an SSL certificate installed and HTTPS enabled.

10. Consult A Cybersecurity Company or Professional

Although most in-house IT professionals can complete all the measures above, working with a cybersecurity company or professional can be helpful. They can provide a threat analysis, offer an action plan, and even help implement it. Subsequently, they can conduct periodic audits of the cybersecurity measures and ensure the company remains secure.

Last Words

Applying cybersecurity best practices for business is not a project done once and completed. Cybersecurity is an ongoing process owing to the constant threat of attack. Therefore, staying safe and secure remains a matter of vigilance alongside a sense of urgency in implementing the cybersecurity best practices outlined above.

As a rule of thumb, the three principal areas to remain vigilant in are: people, processes, and technology (PPT). If you can cover these three fronts, you will keep your organization safe from most threats and even thwart emergent attacks.

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To learn more about cybersecurity, consider one of our K2 security courses. In addition, we have a variety of security courses at our K2 Technology Conferences. Sessions include Security Risks And Solutions Roundtable, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data – A Guide For Your Required Security Plan, Implementing Data Loss Prevention For Better Security And Privacy, and more.

Many of the ideas in this article are from Ashley Lukehart. Ashley has been writing about the impact of technology and IT security on businesses since starting Parachute in 2005. Her goal has always been to provide factual information and an experienced viewpoint to empower business leaders to make the right IT decisions for their organizations. By offering both the upsides and downsides to every IT solution and consideration, expectations are managed, and transparency yields better results.

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