10 Actions That Your Business Needs to Do to Help Avoid a Cyber Breach

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As the Equifax, Target, Marriott, and Yahoo breaches have made clear, businesses worldwide need to prepare for cyber breaches or face the possibility of catastrophic loss in time, money, and reputation. To ready your business for the ever looming threat of a cyber breaches, here are 10 simple precautions you need to implement ASAP.

Make Cyber Security Practices Consistent Across Your Business

Cyber breaches happen when hackers find the weak link within your security chain. In order to prevent any weak links from happening in the first place, it is best to make all security practices consistent in all parts of the business from your executives to your interns. Standardizing security practices will close the most basic of holes.

Plan Your Projects with Security as a Priority

In an agile business, security must be as important as project completion. Projects that have security attached as an afterthought instead of a priority are more vulnerable than projects that put security at the forefront. If the scope of a project changes from its original plan, traditional ways of securing the perimeter will fail, and vulnerabilities will open up.

Continually Train Your Employees Best Security Practices

Any given employee likely believes they act with security in mind while filling their role, but what they might think as secure practice probably differs from real secure practice What does this mean?. For instance, the employee might think their laptop is secure because it has defense software on it. That kind of personal security is far different from acting secure during collaborations with outside businesses, for example, and it is crucial for your business to continually train them proper security practices.

Minimize the Human Element in Security

 Despite all the repeated warnings of how vulnerable this practice is, “password” is still the #1 most common password. Even after training your employees, your business must require adherance certain secure practices. Requiring complex passwords is only the start of it; securing employee devices or limiting the websites that can be accessed on your Wi-Fi are also great steps to minimizing vulnerabilities caused by humans.

Identify Your Stakeholders who would be Affected

As the Equifax breach proved, more than just the employees of a business that is attacked are affected; outside users may lose their privacy or worse in a breach of your business. When figuring out what and who you need to protect, make a list of all those who might be affected, both internally and externally. From this list, you can create a security perimeter that will effectively protect those that matter.

Make Data Accessible only on a Need-to-Access Basis

The more users that can access data, the more likely that data will be compromised. It is akin to how bread left outside is more likely to be eaten by birds than bread inside. By making sure specific data can only be accessed by specific people, only those that need to see it will (and neither hackers nor pigeons will get to it).

Implement Two-Factor Authentication

Alright, this tip is not as simple as the others, but it is arguably just as important. Two-factor authentication requires some sort of additional identification when accessing data beyond the traditional “username and password” security system. Simply adding another piece to the authentication process can shut down lots of hackers.

Investigate Your Internal Systems

Keeping track of everything in your business is tough, but necessary. As soon as you forget and neglect a system, vulnerabilities will start to open up in that system that hackers can use for infiltration. The best way to avoid neglecting a system is to take an audit of all your IT systems. You cannot secure a system you do not know about. Plus, making an audit will help you decide if your business needs all the systems it is using, so you can cut down on costs while securing yourself.

Create a Flexible Risk-Framework Security System

Traditional security systems like firewalls that only protect isolated points can no longer effectively protect your business; if you find an old-fashioned system in place during your investigation, it needs to change. Big data requires the integration of many points of data, so shifting from individual firewalls and intrusion-detection systems to a framework that integrates all security devices is necessary in today’s data-centric world.

Make a Plan for the Worst-Case Scenario

Finally, no matter how hard you plan for preventing a breach, you need to plan for the disastrous event occurring. Crafting a strategy for quick recovery will help your business get back to normal as soon as possible after a breach. In the process of creating the strategy, you will naturally notice vulnerabilities in your business that can then be closed. Of course, this strategy is useless if it is not regularly updated according to the current business climate and the law.

Regardless of what industry your business is in, a data breach can take you down. These are just a few of the ways you can make sure your business does not become the next Equifax or Yahoo.