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8 Ways to Protect Your Business and Strengthen Your IT Cybersecurity

8 Ways to Protect Your Business and Strengthen Your IT Cybersecurity

As the pandemic rampaged the globe, the way we run our companies changed. Businesses and companies, big or small, have been forced to adapt by going completely online quickly.

While trying to keep business at bay amid a sudden tidal wave of change, companies had to hurriedly go through this process of taking everything online, from handling payments to operations. So, this meant that their IT security plan was either rushed or, worse, overlooked.
Businesses took to Cloud Services to store their data, and this meant vulnerability to cyberattacks. And to add to that, with more and more data being stored online in general, this heightens the chances of more cyberattacks.

There was a recent 45% spike in cyberattacks as of November 2020 in the Healthcare industry alone, according to The Hacker News. Pretty disconcerting considering that the Healthcare industry is most important now more than ever amid COVID-19.

Now, you are probably wondering: “I’m a small/medium business; will I be affected anyway? Is investing in better cybersecurity services even worth it?”

Let’s have a rundown on some facts, shall we?

A whopping 43% of cyberattacks were targeted at small businesses (Verizon’s Data Breach Report 2021)  Why? Because these businesses are most vulnerable as they tend to overlook their IT cybersecurity in comparison to larger companies. But that does not mean large companies are not prone to cyberattacks, we will talk about that in a minute.

According to the State of SMB Cybersecurity, a shocking 55% of small businesses experience a cyberattack and 50% of these reported data breaches involved customer and employee information.
You wouldn’t want to put your customers and employees at risk, especially when handling touchy information.

So, what is the aftermath of a cyberattack, you might ask? It is pretty devastating and not to mention pricey.

Respondents spent an average of $178,000.00 recovering from damaged or stolen IT assets. On average, companies lose 7.5% of their documents which may not seem like much but really, it costs $122.00 to find a single lost document according to Price Waterhouse Coopers

60% of businesses that take a hit from cyberattacks will go out of business in just six months (ID Agent 2021).

We understand it takes blood, sweat, and tears to run a business. But a single cyberattack can diminish all these efforts in a second. So, to avoid it, you need to strengthen your business’ IT cybersecurity.
Today, we will touch on ways you can do just that.

Want to ensure your business is secure and up to date with the latest industry practices and standards? Choose Lateral for a comprehensive security audit

Cover the basics and have a plan

You need to know where your precious data is held, whether on-site or in the cloud. You need to allocate responsibility to a trusted IT provider, whether in-house or outsourced, to take the lead in firewall management, anti-virus, and anti-malware software. All of which are crucial to every IT security policy and are basic levels of protection.

And your first line of defence? Strong passwords. Change them occasionally, make these password updates mandatory, and teach users how to create and remember strong passwords.

Educate and train your employees

Let your employees know the importance of IT cybersecurity and hold regular training sessions, this improves the response times when a breach occurs. It is crucial that your employees also learn how to prevent such a breach, such as instructing them never to share their passwords, not opening unexpected emails from strangers, and staying off potentially dangerous sites.

Also, it is paramount that your employees do not stream or download anything on their work computer unless you are sure the source is legitimate and secure. Especially now that working from home is the new normal, let them know that these guidelines don’t end in the workplace, but they must continue at home.

Keep all your hardware up to date

Do not overlook updating your hardware, as outdated hardware can easily exploit vulnerabilities that not even software updates can solve. So, before it happens, update your hardware every 2 to 3 years to improve your protection.

This also means regularly updating Software to keep all your computers up to date with the latest and greatest IT security updates. In some programs, you can opt-in enabling auto-updates on your operating systems or software packages. So, a centralised IT security update policy ensures that no computer is left exposed to threats.

Correctly dispose of old hardware

Once all your hardware is up to date, what do you do with all your old computers? Proper disposal also protects you from any threats, so remove and destroy the storage devices such as hard drives. This also includes removable storage media like USBs, DVDs, and CDs. 

Do note that a reputable electronic waste removalist should do the destruction of these.

Keep your Antivirus software updated

We know many people complain about how it can slow down your computer when you constantly update your Antivirus software; however, there is a good reason for them that makes it well worth it. The developers of these Antivirus software’s need constant updates to improve or tweak any structural weaknesses based on the collected data from usage, thus improving your IT security. Also, adding new features that fight the progressions in common viruses.

So, your business, no matter the size, should have Antivirus technology. Take the time to research and select the best one that caters to your business’ size and needs. Once set up, ensure you also enable auto-updates. Failing to update your Antivirus software will lose its effectiveness, leaving you vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Retire all unused services

You know those features or small services you signed up or downloaded to try? Yep, those need to go. For services with a limited duration that’s expired, you need to decommission the applications, especially the logins and user credentials.

In some services where you don’t use an available feature such as a video chat function, turn it off to limit unauthorised access to your business or company.

Ensure you store a backup

Every business needs to have a sound data backup implementation plan and strategy. This is to ensure you don’t lose all your precious data stored somewhere else in case your office loses access to the business information for a day or a ransomware attack deletes all of your data. So, no matter what, always backup your data!

If you only store your data in one place, and that place is not as secure, you risk losing everything if that place breaks down or gets hacked. And as mentioned above, it is costly to retrieve lost documents.
Suppose you are not completely sure what exactly a backup is. It is a digital copy of the original data to be used to recover it in case a disaster ensues. So, if the time comes that you lose data, you have a backup.

In fact, it is not at all complicated to store a backup! Most modern software programs have a feature that can automatically backup whatever data you give. But of course, you have the option to simply copy document-to-document if you only want to back up some data.

Once you have a backup, you must keep the data on either a flash drive or an external hard drive. This means you should not keep your backup on the same data storage device that houses the original copy, which defeats the purpose of having a backup.

Implement VPNs for your connection

This is often overlooked, but networks that are only protected by generic IT security measures are most vulnerable to attacks. To avoid this, you need to implement a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection between office locations and make it easy to use and, most of all, mandatory for mobile employees who may connect through public Wi-Fi services.

Want to ensure your business is following the best practices for IT security? Choose Lateral to conduct a security audit today 

Lateral Cyber Security Services

In the modern era of businesses, big or small, IT cybersecurity should be taken seriously, just as we do with regular security. These are ways that may seem like mundane tasks but could ultimately save your business from closing its doors if a breach happens. So, save yourself from the stress and heartache!
Here at Lateral, we offer software security audits to analyse the security of a client’s software, this is conducted by our meticulous team of analysts who will be reviewing the software code and updating the required level. 

Our team will review the quality of the software code, data storage, encryptions, and communication. Overall, looking for any weak spots that need improvement.

Why choose Lateral for data security auditing?

We have a strong history of offering our services to clients in the Health, Education, and Agritech industries where their data security is most vital. We have a sharp eye for quality. We are a dedicated team of Developers and Analysts that are among the best at developing and refining quality software and apps.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about Lateral can protect your business with an IT security audit.

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