Six Ways to Improve Your Organization’s Cybersecurity

This is part three of three in a series where we will discuss the importance of improving your company’s cybersecurity policies.

According to a Global Risks report, published in January 2015 by the World Economic Forum, it stated that “90 percent of companies worldwide recognize they are insufficiently prepared to protect themselves against cyberattacks.” And because cybercrime has grown to become a billion dollar industry (costing over $400 billion annually), now is the time to improve or implement cybersecurity policies to avoid data breaches and files being held hostage.

Here are six tips to beef up your organization’s cybersecurity policies:

1. Keep software updated at all times

Not performing software updates can leave your company susceptible to attacks, as hackers scour networks, looking for security vulnerabilities in old/outdated software. Because cybersecurity is every employee’s responsibility, create and enforce company policies that requires departments (or individual employees) to perform regular updates to their software and applications they use on their devices (laptop, PC, or endpoint device).

2. Raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity

Since the majority of breaches still come from end-users (whether that is C-level executives or employees), this proves that people within organizations are still not aware of the risks of a security breach. With leaders and employees being unaware of all the implications, this makes it difficult to a. allocate funding to boost cybersecurity awareness within the organization as well as b. inform and train employees about cybersecurity best practices due to the general apathy within organizations. Implement periodic training, teach the importance of smart internet browsing practices for all employees (at all levels) to maintain the security of the organization as a whole.

3. Encrypt data

All PCs and personal information stored in databases, servers, networks and endpoint devices should be encrypted in flight and at rest. This is the best way to protect your systems from hackers who want access to sensitive data.

4. Consider purchasing a cyber insurance policy

Cyber insurance may provide a safeguard to your organization as insurance advisors will do thorough evaluations and risk assessments to determine which data is most crucial to your business. That way, if there was a data breach, you will not have to pay money to the criminals…your data is safe and recoverable based on the terms of your insurance policy.

5. Implement necessary patches and updates

Patching and updating your infrastructure and information systems is important to prevent vulnerabilities within your networks. For example, in the event there is a window of vulnerability, a patch management system means a network is being consistently monitored...mitigating the risks of zero-day attacks.

6. Establish access controls based on roles/responsibilities

Since not every employee needs the same level of access into networks and software, role-based access controls grants or denies access to users based on job functions. This can help with alleviating the risks of a cybersecurity breach because limiting usage can help to identify network intrusions, suspicious activity and more.

It is important to take a multi-layered approach with your organization’s cybersecurity as the reality is that the majority of organizations in 2017 will encounter some sort of breach…is your organization prepared?

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