Cybersecurity has become a buzzword in the information technology (IT) industry. This can be attributed to recent technological advancements and the growing rate of cyber threats.
In fact, the past decade has seen some of the largest data breaches in the history of the internet. One that comes to mind is the Yahoo data breach of 2013, which led to the exposure of 3 billion user accounts. This held the record until 2020, when another data breach involving 10 billion user accounts was reported.
Remember, Yahoo is one of the largest digital brands, yet it fell victim to cybercriminal activities. So, you can imagine the threats that most small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are likely exposed to. Unfortunately, some SMEs don’t invest in cybersecurity as they believe they’re small fish in the ocean. However, when hackers hit, these enterprises can be affected significantly and even lose thousands of dollars.
As a business owner, that’s not a risk you can take. Instead, you’d want to take the proactive approach and have a robust security measure to safeguard your business from such threats. And as a good start, consider working with cybersecurity service providers in your area. This way, you’ll have much-needed peace of mind. For instance, if your business is located in Missouri, you can hire a cyber security company St Louis.
But this approach is just one of the many ways that can help improve your company’s digital security. With that, here are useful tips to keep in mind:
Start With The Passwords
One loophole that hackers check before launching their cyberattacks is the strength of your passwords. That’s because login credentials are among your system’s first line of defense. If a cybercriminal gets their hands on this information, they can access your account without too much hassle.
It’s worth noting that there is no perfect password, but strong ones are the hardest to guess. As such, your main goal is to make it difficult for hackers to figure out your credentials within a short time. Experts suggest not using any personal information when creating a strong password. They also recommend mixing symbols and numbers and including upper and lowercase letters.
Of course, dedicated hackers will invest a lot of their time and resources to crack whatever phrases you’ve used. So, apart from creating strong passwords, it’s also essential to update them regularly. It’s recommended that you and your employees reset your passwords after every three months. This way, hackers will have to start again from scratch when figuring out your password combinations.
In case you’ve fallen victim to an attack, it’s imperative that you change all passwords immediately. Doing so will lock out the hackers and prevent any further damage as you look into the issue. However, if you’re not sure where or how to start, hiring an IT company such as Providence IT consulting can be helpful. With the expertise of such professionals, they can help you find the root cause of the problem and recommend the best solution.
Delete Inactive Accounts
‘Ghost’ accounts are considered to be among the contributors to cybersecurity incidents. Unfortunately, many companies aren’t aware of this and lack good IT advisors.
Some firms still have dormant accounts in their system months or even years after the users leave the organization. This explains why there are reported cases of hackers taking advantage of such accounts to access corporate information. It’s even worse when the account in question still has high-level access.
To prevent this, make sure you delete the accounts as soon as their users are no longer active. However, there may be cases wherein you’d have to wait a few weeks before doing so. For instance, you may need time to recover the files under the account. During that period, make sure the former owner of the account is stripped of all access rights.
The same applies to personal security. You’ve probably signed up for a few trial applications or services. Like most people, you might have forgotten to close the account after realizing that it doesn’t meet your needs. This is one loose end that can easily expose your personal data. That said, make sure you decommission all apps and user credentials associated with limited-duration products.
Update Your Software Regularly
Cybercriminals are always trying to keep up with the changing digital environment. Apart from taking advantage of weak passwords, they also actively look for loopholes in your operating system and software applications. Developers are aware of this, hence the regular updates.
Therefore, it’s recommended that you install every software update as soon as it’s released. These patches are meant to reduce vulnerabilities. They close any possible loophole that hackers could use to gain access to your devices and personal data.
As for larger enterprises with multiple devices and equipment, it can help to invest in patch management software. This can help ensure that all devices in your network are patched whenever a new update is released by the developers. It’d be good to note that hackers have found a lot of joy in this area in recent years because businesses often overlook installing software updates.
To avoid falling victim, make it a routine to always check for any available software or application updates. Ensure that all employees follow this rule as well.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is one of the best security features you should employ. Most financial applications already have it, and it’s proven vital for personal and corporate digital security.
2FA is an electronic authentication method that grants you access only after successfully presenting two identification codes. Usually, the first piece of evidence is your password. After passing the first phase, the application will send a one-time password (OTP) which expires within a few minutes or hours. You’ll need to input the correct OTP, and failing to do this means you won’t be granted access even if the initial password is correct.
You can implement this security feature in your personal devices as well as company accounts. It’s also advisable to encourage all employees to do the same to avoid vulnerabilities within your network.
Enabling 2FA for emails may not be enough to protect your domain against impersonation threats. Don’t forget to secure your domain name with DMARC.
Digital security should be your priority in this day and age. This is especially since cybercriminals are always on the lookout for loopholes your personal or company accounts might have. If you’re not sure how to do a cybersecurity audit, there’s always the option to hire a qualified cybersecurity company. They’ll check for vulnerabilities and recommend the best solutions.
But as a precaution, consider strengthening your passwords, using two-factor authentication, and regularly updating your software. Make sure you also delete or decommission any inactive accounts.