Today's business owner contends with cybercrime — the likes of phishing, data breaches, and ransomware. It’s just the way things are. And no security solution is airtight or perfectly comprehensive to address vulnerabilities to malicious activities. As a business owner, you should adopt a multi-layered cybersecurity plan where each layer compliments each other to build a robust protection around your data.
As threats and security measures continue to evolve in 2019, here are a few suggestions for a multi-layered cybersecurity plan that considers established best practices and new technologies.
Passwords, encryption, and a backup/disaster recovery plan
Just like data breaches, security and compliance measures in the form of passwords, encryption, and backups have become a part of any successful enterprise's day-to-day existence.
A good password policy will be composed of strong passwords rotated and changed regularly. Strong passwords must be at least 10 to 12 characters long, and a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters with no dictionary spellable words or names. You know the drill.
A dependable password policy worth its salt should not only rely on strong passwords but should also be reinforced by password management, authentication, and training. Generating and regularly rotating many passwords will require a password management system to automate and streamline the task, as well as encrypt and protect any repository of passwords from prying eyes.
Organizations can add another layer of protection by implementing two-factor authentication, which requires a password to gain access and another piece of information known only by the individual member or employee of the organization.
Encryption, whether cloud-based or on-premise, is another necessary and indispensable layer of security to protect data and comply with data security and privacy regulations. It protects data-at-rest (data stored in the cloud or locally in networks, servers, and backups) and data-in-transit (data being migrated to the cloud). Both kinds of data are vulnerable to cybercriminals, but when encrypted, they are indecipherable to prying eyes.
A backup/disaster recovery plan is a necessary security measure to restore business continuity and minimize downtime in case of data breaches, outages, malware, natural disasters, and the like. Cloud-based or remote, top-of-the-line data backup must include security measures, like encryption and physical security such as locked server cabinets. Disaster recovery ensures that data is backed up regularly and can be restored quickly if ever threatened.
Employees are your first line of defense, which is why you should conduct security training that covers vulnerabilities, such as human error, carelessness, and ignorance. Every member of the organization must know how to keep best practices for data handling, passwords, surfing, and email safety.
Moreover, your staff must be aware of common and new tactics employed by hackers, from email phishing to more recent ones like cryptojacking. In conjunction, in-house or third-party help desk support services should be experts of these tactics and assist employees as issues and questions arise regarding what they encounter in their digital work spaces.
Even with the best applications and IT experts, your networks and databases can still be vulnerable to cyberattacks if not monitored. Fortunately, many managed services providers (MSPs) provide remote monitoring 24/7/365 to keep an eye on your system.
Intrusion prevention system
An intrusion prevention system (IPS) is a hardware device or software application that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic for malicious activity or security policy violations. Think of it as an intruder alarm system that uses sensors on strategic parts of the network and sounds off in case of a possible network and data compromise. What’s more, it responds in real time and addresses any threats to the network.
Some of your staff often ignore operating system updates because they find it inconvenient and time-consuming. An enterprise, however, cannot afford to be relaxed about updates because hackers can easily exploit computers with outdated OS. To prevent this, ensure your IT team conducts regular operating system updates and patches, which come with security enhancements and address the security issues of the older versions.
Mobile device management
Employees’ mobile devices, BYOD, and remote work offer convenience to many companies but these have also inadvertently created a more vulnerable environment for business data. As a business owner, you can implement solutions like mobile device management (MDM) aimed at monitoring and managing the use of mobile devices within your organization. It allows administrators to quickly configure employees’ mobile devices and make them compliant with security updates and protocols. It also enables remote wiping of data on lost or stolen devices.
Blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of records, such as customer transactions. No centralized "official" database exists. Data is decentralized and distributed across the network in nodes. Every node has a copy of the same data and each one updates with any changes, such as new transactions. Data is easily and reliably cross-checked.
When hackers break into traditional networks, they target data found in a single repository. But a decentralized and distributed blockchain makes data loss and tampering nearly impossible.
Partnering with an MSP will help your business navigate the best options for a multi-layered cybersecurity plan that fits your business needs. Spectrumwise offers low-cost, scalable cybersecurity solutions that include round-the-clock monitoring, staff training, cloud backup, and password management all for a single monthly fee. Contact us to learn more.
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