Every business must enforce stricter measures to keep all private data secure, especially when it involves processing and storing personal and financial information from end-users. If you’re a business owner, the security of your systems will heavily rely on the technical solutions you implement and the knowledge and loyalty of the people you entrust your data and its security with. That’s why it’s crucial to choose the right cybersecurity tools and solutions, as well as the people you hire, who should understand the importance of protecting your business’s private data.
If you feel your business’s cybersecurity is at risk, or you just want to protect your business better, here are the most important tips we recommend.
IDENTIFY THE VULNERABILITIES IN YOUR SYSTEM
The first step to improving cybersecurity is identifying your system’s vulnerabilities before you implement anything. From your company’s websites to the programs that your employees use, you should leave no stone unturned when you run assessments or diagnoses on your systems.
Start by auditing your network assets, including all the software and operating systems that each asset runs. Be careful not to miss something on your inventory, as anything you don’t include will be left behind when you start to run new updates, which will create a vulnerable gap.
Once you’ve made sure your inventory is complete, you can start running a penetration test to identify all security vulnerabilities in your systems. This works like a stress test that simulates cyberattacks to see how your system responds, which subsequently reveals the weak points that need patching up.
There are many ways to do penetration testing, and they can also be done on more specific areas of your security system, often by using fuzzing tools. Fuzzers check for vulnerabilities in the system by throwing random data on a program or software to see if it would crash, which would mean there are bugs that need fixing. If you’d like to know more about fuzzing, you can discover this info here.
Another way to assess system vulnerabilities is to create a cyber threat intelligence network, which is a more specific approach that seeks to identify the who, what, when, and how of current or potential cyberattacks.
CONSTANTLY MONITOR & UPDATE ALL LAYERS OF YOUR SECURITY SYSTEMS
Once all your system vulnerabilities are identified, you can start planning updates and changes. Look for recommendations from tech experts or consult with professionals about new software and programs that’ll suit your business needs.
After the installation and implementation of all updates, you can run another security check to see how efficient it is, and if its performance meets the standards you require.
Now, to maintain your improved level of security, make sure your systems will be regularly monitored. When you have proper monitoring, you can be notified of potential attacks and threats as soon as they’re detected, which is important if you want to address them before they cause technical troubles.
ENCRYPT ALL PRIVATE DATA
If you have websites that collect private user data, such as membership sites and those that accept online payments, data encryption is a must. This security method converts all private information into an encoded format that can only be read and decrypted using an encryption key, which can only come from the user who created the data.
Most websites that process financial transactions usually just implement a third-party payment system so they won’t have to deal with more complicated, top-level security systems that are required to protect private data better.
Using third-party payment processors is an excellent choice especially for small businesses where subscriptions are the more practical option. Third-party payment processors also have a more robust security system in place, which naturally includes encryption.
However, even if you use a third-party payment system, you may still need an effective data encryption process. If your website includes user registration, even if you don’t process payments internally, you’re still handling private user data. The good news is the level of encryption you need doesn’t have to be as elaborate as the ones used in payment systems, where there are usually more layers.
EDUCATE YOUR EMPLOYEES ABOUT CYBERSECURITY
Your employees are the ones who handle most of your business’s data, so it’s important that they’re also taught, perhaps even trained, how to handle, process, and secure all the data that go through them as they work.
Bigger companies sometimes even conduct a short cybersecurity training or discussion for their employees, especially when they’re in the field of technology. For smaller companies, providing a detailed document about the basics of cybersecurity is usually enough. Just make sure that they review and understand it before they start working.
It would also help to enforce security processes for data management, including penalties for violations, especially when your business handles a significant amount of critical user information. This should include limiting the levels of access that each type of employee gets when they view or process private data, and monitoring all the devices they use for work, especially if they’re company-owned.
USE MANAGED CYBERSECURITY SERVICES
There are plenty of cybersecurity threats businesses are at risk for. But for most business owners, it’s often a huge challenge to build a cybersecurity system that will really give them peace of mind. For one, unless you’re a giant tech company, employing a team of cybersecurity experts will likely be beyond your budget.
But there’s a better solution now: managed security services.
If you aren’t tech-savvy or can’t afford to set up an in-house cybersecurity team for your business, hiring a company that specializes in managed cybersecurity services is the best option. They usually offer a complete package of services that you can tailor based on your business’s security needs. Managed cybersecurity services can provide the expertise you need that’s significantly more affordable than keeping your own team of tech geeks in your office.
Here’s a list of areas in your business that managed cybersecurity services can help you with:
- Cloud Security: Includes protection against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), which helps mitigate attacks at the network edge. It may also include web application firewalls that protect against cross-site scripting, SQL injection attacks, cross-site forgery requests, and other common server attacks.
- Domain Security: Includes protection against domain ransoming, hijacking, social engineering, domain spoofing, and other domain-related threats.
- Email Security: Helps in phishing isolation, data loss prevention, email encryption and authentication, and includes protection against malware and spam.
- End-Point Security: Involves the process of securing the points of access of end-users, which are the devices they use such as computers and mobile phones. This includes URL filtering, application control, encryption, and sandboxing, among others.
- Other Services: Gap analysis, risk assessment, security policy development, and configuration management.
The acceleration of web-based businesses these days has made cybersecurity more important than ever, not just for end-users, but for business owners as well. While the challenges mostly lie with the high costs of all the modern technology and professional services needed to build a reliable security system, there are also more practical, albeit less popular options that business owners should learn more about and take advantage of.
With some research, and perhaps a proper consultation with field experts, business owners should be able to get all the information they need to make the right decision for their business’s optimum protection against cybersecurity threats.