7 Tips to Manage Cybersecurity Risks in Your Business

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Unprecedented connectedness shapes the way we view the world and conduct business today.

Sadly, any online presence is enough to make your company a cyberattack target. Data breaches are getting costlier, and security specialists are in high demand. Meanwhile, the rise of AI, IoT, and remote work compounds the problem.

This article briefly overviews the most common cybersecurity risks and the potential damage they can do to your business. It also offers concrete tips for lowering these risks

What are cybersecurity risks?

Cybersecurity risks have two facets. On one side are the various methods attackers use to access your company's data. On the other, there's your company's ability to preempt, identify, mitigate, and contain such attacks. 

7 Tips to Manage Cybersecurity Risks in Your Business

Zero risk doesn't exist in the digitally connected world. However, good policies can help lower it significantly

How can these risks impact your business?

Cyber threats can have far-reaching consequences depending on the actor and type of attack. Financial damage is the most straightforward. 

It happens either through losing money directly or because of information breaches and trust loss. Recovering a compromised business also wastes time and resources that would otherwise further it.

Reputation loss can be even greater and long-lasting. A data breach may expose sensitive information on your employees, clients, and vendors.

Failure to protect such information makes your business a liability. Understandably, others will be unlikely to cooperate with such a business.

Companies that provide innovative products and services face additional setbacks. A successful cyberattack can claim their product and business ideas or upcoming marketing strategies. Smaller businesses may never recover from such a breach.

Who conducts these attacks?

Sadly, many different actors may want to harm your business. Hackers are the most common, seeking direct monetary gain or information they can sell

Less scrupulous competitors could resort to stealing your secrets to get an edge. Employees possess insider knowledge and access. Their actions can be the source of the most severe compromises, accidental or on purpose.

Which are the most common types of cyberattacks?

Cybercriminals are crafty and keep inventing sophisticated ways of bypassing business security. Even so, a handful of attack types remain popular.

  • Social engineering is when a malicious party uses deception to fool people into giving up valuable or compromising information. This can include everything from fake emails to sophisticated scams targeting a company’s leadership. 
  • Phishing is the most common and most successful method of collecting credentials. This method often enables malware attacks. Malware is a catch-all term for software that gains unauthorized access to your systems and causes different types of damage. Some malware creates security vulnerabilities its creators can exploit. Other types pass on or even destroy the data on your system.
  • Ransomware sits at the top of many companies’ malware threat concerns. Once it infects a system, ransomware makes it unusable. You can either pay the attacker to remove it or waste time and resources on doing so in-house.

What can your business do to manage cybersecurity risks better?

Dealing with shifting security threats can be daunting. As these threats evolve, so do the practices your company should take to limit their impact.

Implementing the following tips will lay a strong cybersecurity foundation you can build on if new threats arise.

1. Establish a company-wide risk management culture.

The brunt of cybersecurity may fall on your IT department, but risk management is a team effort. Modern businesses must adopt a holistic security approach with clear responsibilities for everyone, from upper management to interns

1. Establish a company-wide risk management culture.

Training campaigns and initiatives effectively teach employees why correct security practices are essential. An informed employee is less likely to fall for phishing attempts and more likely to recognize & report suspicious activities.

2. Conduct a data audit.

Do you know what type of data your company collects? What devices is that data on, and who has access to it? What would happen if that data got into the wrong hands?

These are the pressing questions that an audit answers. Taking stock of stored data reveals the bigger picture. It comes with numerous benefits for your cybersecurity endeavors.

Regular audits can expose vulnerabilities in your current security practices. Audit results can serve as guidelines for access or data collection policy changes. Moreover, frequent audits may reveal timely evidence of tampering.

3. Perform regular backups.

There's no surefire way to prevent data degradation, theft, or loss. However, having backups ensures your company can recover and resume business quickly.

Create an automatic data backup schedule and stick to it. Businesses deal with varying information influx. The schedule should account for that so you may have several daily backups.

Backup data needs to be independent of your network. The conventional way involves storing it on physical media like SSDs or USB drives. Cloud storage is more recent and gaining popularity.

It comes with data encryption and is easier to access from anywhere. Conversely, you can disconnect and store physical media in a safe location. Each storage option has its strengths. 

4. Keep all devices updated and secured.

Device and OS providers regularly issue updates for their products. These add features while also patching security vulnerabilities. All devices in your network need to be up-to-date and have appropriate antivirus and antimalware programs

4. Keep all devices updated and secured.

Replacements are in order if a vendor no longer offers support. Ensure that any BYOD devices are also up to these standards before connecting them.

5. Start using a password manager.

Reused, forgotten, and easily accessible passwords are a disaster waiting to happen.

A password manager acts as a centralized hub for all your company passwords. It removes the hassle and security risks of remembering several login credentials

Instead, each employee gets a master password, the only one they need to remember. The manager then generates and keeps track of hard-to-crack passwords for each associated account.

It’s also a good idea to implement two-factor authentication. A manager’s encryptions exponentially reduce the risks of password theft. Still, asking users for another means of verification adds further protection and access control.

6. Secure your internal network through a VPN.

The rise of remote work comes with unique security challenges. Employees may want to access your internal network from suspicious locations and accidentally compromise safety. 

A VPN or virtual private network creates a secure channel between a remote device and your on-site network. It encrypts any traffic between them, ensuring that confidential or sensitive info never reaches the internet.

Moreover, a VPN IP location changer feature enables users to change their apparent location, allowing them to bypass geo-restrictions and access content that may be blocked in their region.

7. Plan ahead and be proactive.

The pandemic and war in Ukraine have caused cyberattack incidents to surge.

7. Plan ahead and be proactive.

Assuming your company will be a victim eventually is reasonable, as is planning a response. This involves:

  • Establishing a hierarchy of responsibilities in handling the incident
  • Strategies for keeping the business running in the midst of it
  • Ensuring continued data protection
  • Protocols for audits, log reviews, and monitoring after the fact
  • Plans for contacting the authorities as well as filling employees, customers & the public in about an incident

Conclusion

Cybersecurity risk management is more complex than ever before. Criminals and security professionals keep each other sharp, leading to steady advancements in security threats and protections against them

Fortunately, a company that keeps up is in a much better position to survive and thrive in such an environment.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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