Preparing Your Business for Future Cybersecurity Risks
Technology is growing by leaps and bounds as the years go by, and businesses are taking full advantage by introducing new products and innovations. However, as our world becomes increasingly digital, so does the potential for cybercrime. Is your business staying ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting its interests against hackers?
The fact is that all businesses large and small are subject to cyber threats, but just because the potential exists, it doesn’t mean that your company is destined to become a victim. With proper planning and an awareness of existing and future threats, your business can stay ahead of that curve.
Think About the Future
In order to adequately prepare for cyber risks, you have to have a plan, and a detailed risk assessment is critical. This assessment will account for all possible negative scenarios that could affect your business, from a malicious hacker to a natural disaster and even a terrorist attack. Each scenario will be ranked by most likely to occur, and a plan should be made for each that entails what needs to be done to restore the business. Some plans will be reactive, while others should be proactive and aligned with future tech.
For instance, the promising security features of blockchain technology may be a proactive solution, especially if you work with customer data. The system is just as it sounds. It is a chain of blocks that contain information that cannot be modified unless it is by a specific user who holds an encryption key. This technology is already being used in the banking industry to protect consumer data, and the tech might be a good addition to your risk reduction strategy.
You also need to look at how your business will grow in the future. Many companies are looking to new technology such as artificial intelligence. They are using AI for a multitude of functions, from fraud detection in banking transactions to online customer support in the retail space. However, as with any new technology, AI is subject to new forms of cybercrime, especially since hackers know that IT specialists may not yet know how to protect these new AI channels. If you are looking to incorporate AI, be sure to include it in your risk assessment so you can prepare for the unexpected.
Preventive Business Security
No matter what the future holds, it is imperative that your business is ready for the cyber threats of today and tomorrow, so ensure that you have the proper systems and upgrades at all times. It is absolutely necessary to have backup servers in place that are located independently of your main system, so if faced with a data breach, you know that all necessary files can be restored. Your servers should be maintained and upgraded on a regular basis to provide protection from existing cyber threats and vulnerabilities.
Software upgrades are the backbone of your cybersecurity protections. Antivirus software should be installed on all systems, and it must be upgraded whenever a new version comes around. These software packages are always learning from old threats so that the newest version will keep you one step ahead. Firewalls should also be put in place, and users should be limited to the sites they can visit to avoid unintentional access to malware and viruses.
As mobile technology continues to advance, more businesses are allowing employees to use their own cell phones and laptops to conduct company business, and these devices must be protected as well. Ensure that all employees use a virtual private network, especially when business is conducted in public places like coffee shops. All work devices should also be encrypted so stolen data cannot be read. Make sure to have a plan for cellphone disposal in place as well. This is crucial for recycling outdated phones that have sensitive business data on them. Have these protections in place now, so you know you have your bases covered when new threats become a reality.
Train Your Employees
To maintain a secure business model, you must have a well-educated staff. Make it a point to have regular meetings where your IT team discusses current threats and how employees should handle their business to avoid them. There are even training programs, such as Ninjio and Study, where employees can watch short videos that explain how to prevent cyber threats in a digestible and entertaining format. The point is that you need to educate employees now so they will be prepared for threats later.
Employees should be aware of the more frequent traps that hackers depend on to gain illegal access to your business systems. One of the more common threats is the phishing scam, which usually appears in the form of email communications that attempt to scare the recipient into opening a link or attachment by appearing to be from a trustworthy source like a bank or employer. When clicked, the link can open a gateway into your business systems and lead to a virus or ransomware, which can be especially dangerous because it allows hackers to take your customer’s information hostage until your company pays a hefty ransom. It is simply a bad situation that your customers do not deserve.
From there, it all comes down to the basics. Employees can avoid common security pitfalls and prevent unwelcome access to their computers by creating complex passwords that include a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Computers and mobile devices should never be left unattended, and workstations should be locked whenever the employee leaves.
In the end, a combination of security basics and future planning is what a successful business needs to ensure the protection of corporate data and the information of their customers. Make a plan now, and your company can stay ahead of upcoming cybersecurity risks.