Last updated on November 27, 2017
You are reading a guest blog post by Monika Tudja.
As a business-owner, you wouldn’t leave the door of your office open at the end of the day. And you wouldn’t leave the key to office lying on the pavement outside either.
Why not? Well because no-one wants someone to get inside and help themselves to whatever they want from your company of course. But these days, thieves don’t need to get through your front door; they need to break into your server and your cloud storage service.
This is where your businesses most valuable assets are kept these days. This is where customer and client data is stored; this is where all your financial details are kept, and this is where the majority of your work and intellectual property is retained.
The hardware in your office is trivial in comparison to what can be stolen by a cyber-criminal from the comfort of their own home. Yet despite this, all too often, businesses are leaving access to this data wide open, for any half-decent cyber criminal to get at.
Depicting cyber-criminals as being masked computer geeks opportunistically searching for companies with lax security provisions is a naïve perception too. The majority of cyber-crimes are either committed by current or former employees or caused as a result of staff carelessness or error.
Once a company realizes that it has to take steps to protect itself online, the next question they ask is what exactly those steps should be. This step can put a lot of businesses of exploring the matter because there is so much information out there about how businesses should protect against cybercrime. And what is more, much of it is contradictory or conflicting and leave those without an understanding of the issues completely lost.
In this article, I am looking to cut through the chaff and bring you a concise guide to the 4 best ways to cyber-secure your business. I am leveraging my years of experience working in the cyber-security industry to pick the very best tips that I have come across for readers of Chop Dawg, and you can find out what those tips are below:
1. Strict Corporate Cyber-Security Rules
All businesses should have a clearly defined set of cyber-security rules that all of their staff, from the CEO to the tea lady, are expected to follow.
These should include guidance on software to use, how to access company services both in the office and remotely, and procedures to follow in the event of a cyber-attack or data breach.
Just developing the rules is not enough, though. It is imperative that they are communicated to staff in a clear and concise way, and a structure is put in place to ensure they are being followed.
Getting staff to follow procedures can get a company a long way down the path to cybersecurity on its own and it is well worth the effort to get it right.
2. Proper Staff Training
Having the rules is important, but ensuring the staff has the appropriate level of training is also important.
Training can help staff to understand the risks and some of the terminology involved as well as understand the rules you have put in place and how to apply them.
There are numerous different companies out there that offer staff cyber-security training, but if you don’t want to invest in one of them, the Government offer free cyber-security e-learning courses that businesses can use for all their staff. These are tailored for different professions and for no financial cost and just a short time commitment, you can ensure your staff is clued up.
3. Invest in the right software
Effective cyber-protection means making use of some of the great tools that are currently available on the market. But this doesn’t have to cost you the earth. There are plenty of budget options available, many of which are pretty much as effective as their more expensive cousins.
a. Message Encryption:
If you use an online messaging service for internal or external communication, you want to be sure that it is encrypted. There are plenty of encrypted options out there, but for my money, the best, and perhaps most well-known is still Signal.
An effective firewall is vital to protect your business network from external attacks. They are commonplace now on domestic machines and should be on corporate networks too. There are plenty of good options on the market. Fortinet is my pick.
c. A VPN:
A Virtual Private Network is also an essential investment. These encrypt all your online activity and, by rerouting all your traffic via an external server, they also reader users anonymous online.
This means that any engagement they have with your corporate data, whether in the office, on the road, or at home, is completely secure. They also offer a number of other perks too, including allowing traveling workers to access geo-restricted and censored content no matter where in the world they are.
4. Regular Safe Back-ups
Lastly, when you have got the right software in place, be sure to back it up regularly. These backups will update the security settings and so give your software the best possible chance of fighting off the latest technology being used by hackers.
If you can, set backups to run automatically. If not, then be sure to check and run them at least once a day.
About the writer of this guest blog post: Monika Tudja is the Head of business development at Fried.com, a website dedicated to educating individuals on how to protect their online privacy through comprehensive guides and tutorials. She is passionate about online privacy, cybersecurity and maintaining a “free web” for the entire globe.