The threat of cyber-attacks has been increasing steadily in recent years, and the stakes are higher than ever before. Small-medium businesses are frequently targeted by hackers with greater severity and frequency, which means that now more than ever, it’s crucial to take the necessary precautions to protect your data and prevent identity theft. Here is a comprehensive cyber security checklist with 8 steps you can easily take to make sure that your business doesn’t fall victim to an attack in the near future.
By following these tips, you can help keep your business safe from cyber-attacks.
What Kind of Data Are You At Risk For?
Before we dive into the essential steps to protect your business, understanding data risks can be key to preventing data breaches. So, what type of data are you at risk for? There are different kinds of data that are valuable to third parties engaging in fraud and identity theft representing a serious risk to a business. These data include the following:
- Personal Identifiable Information (PII). Any information that can identify an individual such as full name, home address, email address, social security number, passport number, driver’s license number, date of birth and other personal information.
- Financial Information. This data is about the monetary transactions of a person or business and includes credit card numbers and expiry dates, bank accounts, financial statements, and similar data.
- Health Information. This includes the data related to a person’s medical history details such as medical records, treatments, and prescription drugs.
- Intellectual Property (IP). This is the creation of the mind, something unique that someone has created including literary and artistic works, scientific formulas, proprietary software, and other material that the business has developed for the website such as coding, design, text, and images. IP helps the owner of the intellectual property to stop other people from stealing or copying them.
- Competition Information. This means any data related to a competitor such as information related to marketing plans and business plans, services, products, and pricing.
- Legal Information. This includes information about court cases, business properties and disputes details, rights and obligations related to a specific situation.
- IT Security Data. This includes antivirus software to secure sensitive data, usernames and passwords, network, data backups, and encryption keys.
8 Practical Tips to Protect Your Business Data from Hackers and Cyber Attacks
Use the following cyber security checklist to make sure your business is as safe as possible:
- Control and monitor access to computers. Maintain physical security of your computer system, use key cards or other similar security measures. Ensure employees use strong passwords for laptops and desktops. Limit admin access only to trusted IT team and staff.
- Understand where your data is. Maintaining oversight of business data is important for an effective third-party risk management. The more parties have access to your data, the higher is the risk of unauthorized access. Incorporate business-class SaaS applications that allow for corporate control of data.
- Protect your business network and secure your devices. Use firewalls, VPN and antivirus software to ensure your network and endpoints are not vulnerable to attacks. Encrypt hard drives, implement a multi-factor authentication, and set strong passwords to expire every 90 days. Ongoing network monitoring is also essential.
- Keep software and devices up to date. Devices, operating systems, and software must be always up-to-date and be vigilant of security patches and new security features, both of which it’s important to install.
- Create a clear cybersecurity policy easy to understand. Set clear cybersecurity practices, rules and instructions for your employees such as bring your own device, authentication requirements, social media use, etc.
- Back-up your data periodically and prevent data loss. Use a modern data protection tool for regular backups that are essential for data recovery in the case of data corruption from security breaches.
- Enable uptime. Choose a reliable data protection solution that enables “instant recovery” of data and applications. Application downtime can significantly impact your business’ ability to generate revenue.
- Create a regular cyber security awareness training program for your employees. Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, it is important to implement an ongoing semi-annual training plan for all employees. This should help understand threats, as well as instruction on security best practices (e.g., lock laptops when away from your desk). Hold employees accountable.
Why is Cyber Security Important for A Business?
With the rapid adoption of new technologies, cyber security is essential for a business and its digital transformation. With small-medium businesses being the principal target of cyber-attacks, it’s crucial to take the necessary precautions to protect your business data.
It’s important that business owners and employees understand why making cybersecurity awareness second nature can significantly reduce the risk of a data breach.
Neglecting cyber security best practices can result in the loss of confidential information and can damage your reputation with your clients.
Every day, we help businesses and organizations in Toronto and Mississauga, providing complete protection and managed information security services so they can focus on their core business.
For more information on how to protect your business data, please contact us. You can book a FREE consultation with one of our experts.
If you think you are a victim of a data breach, call us at +1 416 556 1709 and we will guide you with recommended steps to take.
Cyber Security Checklist
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