What Steps Should Your Organisation Take To Prevent Cyber Attacks?

Cyber security systems are designed to protect networks and digital systems against attackers, seeking to penetrate, disrupt, alter or steal data.

Despite this, companies often become victims to cyber crimes due to poor security measures that they have put in place. Cyber criminals differ in terms of motives and technical abilities, necessitating organisations to implement ever-increasing security measures to safeguard the integrity of their critical infrastructure, data and confidential information. The aim would be to prevent lost revenues, harm to brand reputation, and hefty fines or legal liabilities.

The following are some steps that you can adopt to increase the security of your business.

Encryption and Data Backup

An effective cyber crime protection strategy must consist of two elements: preventing physical access to sensitive data and rendering that data useless if it falls into the wrong hands. Companies can achieve the latter by always encrypting their data.

One of the most efficient measures to protect sensitive data against breaches is by encrypting it. Almost all operating systems today include a full-disk encryption software that can encrypt all the data on a desktop or laptop.

Just ensure that this software is enabled and updated on all your organisation devices. Also, reduce the length of time that a device remains unused and unlocked. Depending on the type of your organisation and the sensitivity of your data, set all devices to enter a sleep or lock mode after something between 1 to 10 minutes.

Developing and Implementing Network Perimeter Defences

Using defences such as firewalls, proxies, internet gateways, web filtering, content checking and access lists enables you to identify and block executable downloads, access to malicious domains and prevent employee’s devices from communicating directly with the Internet. This, in turn, will enhance the safeguarding of your organisation’s network.

Using Two-Step Verification

To protect accounts from unauthorised access, you can implement two-step authentication (TSV) as an extra layer of security between your organisation and cyber criminals seeking to steal usernames and passwords to access business data. TSV enables you to ensure that your employees and customers are the only people who can access their accounts even if someone knows their passwords. TSV necessitates users to verify their identities via something like a password as well as something such as a physical key or access code delivered to a device.

Implementing an Effective Security Plan

You should have a methodical approach to security by designing and implementing an effective business security plan. This will require your organisation to review its in-house skills and knowledge, decide if you require assistance from a third party and then assess any potential threats and risks that can affect your organisation.

Carrying Out a Cyber Security Risk Assessments

A risk assessment (RA) is the process of identification, analysis and evaluation of risks. Implementing a RA ensures that the cyber security controls you select are suitable to the risks that your company encounters.

You can carry out RA on any application, function, or process within your organisation. However, performing a RA can be a complex task due to various reasons such as the lack of understanding into standards that an organisation can use to assess their security measures against. One way to address this challenge is to classify risks in accordance with criticality and information sensitivity.

This category could include aspects such as: strategic, reputational, operational, transactional and compliance risks. By doing so, you will avoid wasting your time, efforts and resources, and more importantly, you will have a robust and cost-effective plan that can help you to safeguard your assets and still sustain a balance of productivity and operational efficiency.

Implementing A Robust Sign-Off Policy

Designing and implementing a robust sign-off policy for employees ensures that should ensure they return digital devices such as laptops, tablets and mobile devices prior to leaving the premises. This will help to safeguard your organisation against online threats. Furthermore, you should implement email encryption in order to prevent the leakage of sensitive data and ensure the confidentiality and integrity of data.

Promoting Cyber Culture

Promoting cyber awareness in your organisation and providing employees with proper training will enable them to use technology securely. Such training should enable the employees to understand their role in maintaining your business secure and report any suspicious activity. Employees’ awareness of cyber-threats and their willingness to take proactive steps to fight against security threats can be only achieved if this culture is practised from the top and led by example.

Other Procedures

There are other procedures that you can implement to prevent, detect and respond to security threats.

These include:

  • Installing anti-virus solutions on all systems,
  • Developing an appropriate password policy and ensuring that it is followed
  • Keeping software and web browsers on all your systems up-to-date,
  • Preventing access to unsuitable websites to avoid malware,
  • Designing and implementing a policy regulating the timing and the manner in which security updates should be installed,
  • Implementing malware defences to identify and respond to known attacks,
  • Limiting the functionality of every digital device on your organisation’s network to a minimum required for your organisation to be able to operate.

Conclusion

Considering the above, design and implement robust plans, strategies, and some rudimentary cyber defences as discussed to overcome the many security challenges that threaten your organisation and reputation. This will enable you to avoid falling victim to cyber-attacks.

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