By Kazi Mamun, CEO of CANSOFT—We take pride in our reputation of designing software solutions and marketing strategies for businesses.
Cybersecurity is a critical concern for businesses in today’s digital age, as cyberattacks and data breaches can cause significant financial and reputational damage. To protect sensitive data and ensure the security of their systems, business leaders must take a proactive approach to cybersecurity.
I lead a team at a company specializing in software development and web security and have extensive experience with helping clients understand and implement effective cybersecurity measures. Here are some steps I recommend taking to protect sensitive data:
Understand Your Cyber Risks
Business leaders must understand their cyber risks to protect their systems and data adequately. Cyber risks can come in many forms, from malicious actors exploiting vulnerabilities to accidental data breaches due to employee mistakes. It’s important to assess the potential threats and understand the types of attacks your business may face to properly prepare.
You should conduct a comprehensive risk assessment of your networks, applications and systems, as well as the overall cyber landscape. This should include looking at potential vulnerabilities that malicious actors could exploit and how likely they are to be targeted by an attack. In addition, you should review your company’s data storage and access policies, identify any gaps or weaknesses and make sure all systems are up-to-date with the latest security patches.
Implement Strong Access Control Measures
Access control involves restricting access to systems, data and networks to only those who need it for their job. One of the best ways to implement strong access control is by using role-based access control (RBAC). This system allows administrators to assign different levels of access to users based on their roles in the company.
Encrypt Sensitive Data
Encryption is one of the most effective ways to protect your data from cyberattackers. Encryption makes it impossible for hackers to access or decipher your information even if they were able to breach your system.
To encrypt sensitive data, start by determining which data needs to be encrypted. This should include customer data, financial records and other confidential information. You should also consider encrypting data that is in transit, such as emails or files sent between your business and your customers.
Once you’ve identified the data you need to protect, choose a strong encryption algorithm. The stronger the algorithm, the better the encryption will be. There are several different algorithms available, so research the best option for your business and the type of data you need to protect.
You should also ensure that your encryption keys are properly managed and stored securely. Finally, monitor your encryption process regularly and check for any unauthorized changes or access attempts.
Train Your Employees In Cybersecurity Awareness
Employees are often the weakest link in any security system. A single careless action, such as clicking on a malicious link or providing confidential information to an untrusted source, can put an entire company’s cybersecurity at risk. For this reason, it is essential to train employees in cybersecurity awareness and best practices.
As a business leader, you should establish comprehensive security policies and procedures that employees must follow. You should also provide employees with periodic training on new and emerging threats. In addition, you can remind employees to think before they click, watch out for suspicious emails and avoid sharing sensitive information online.
We regularly train our employees in basic security and provide them with a guide on what to do and what not to do in scenarios where security could be compromised. We also try to maintain strong security so that malicious links in communications don’t make it through and instead get flagged. With this layer and even after the training, if anyone ends up clicking a suspicious link, then our manager and the IT support team will closely work with the employee on running a deep scan of their workstation and make sure that no harm has been done before the employee can continue using the workstation. While the IT support team is working on the scans, managers can try to reiterate the safety training and highlight key concepts like checking the domain name of the URL, looking out for any grammatical errors, checking the headers of the email to make sure that the email has not been spoofed and making sure that the email and antivirus applications are up to date.
Use Multifactor Authentication (MFA)
MFA requires users to provide two or more pieces of evidence when authenticating their identities, such as a password and a code sent via SMS or email. This extra verification step makes it much harder for attackers to gain access to accounts.
Regularly Test Your Systems
It is important to remember that no system is completely secure, so regular testing is necessary to stay ahead of potential threats. Furthermore, the testing process should be conducted by a qualified professional with the appropriate experience and expertise.
Stay Up-to-Date On Cybersecurity Threats
It is essential to stay up-to-date on the latest cyber threats, as cybercriminals are constantly adapting and evolving their tactics. You can subscribe to industry news sources and security advisories, such as those published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to stay informed about current threats. Additionally, you can conduct regular security assessments and use automated security tools to identify vulnerabilities and areas for improvement.
Create A Culture Of Cybersecurity
At my company, we consider security a top priority. Our managers are encouraged to take part in various pieces of training provided by vendors like Microsoft, Google and so on. We try to maintain multiple layers of security in our corporation, time-to-time security reviews and training for the employees. By following industry best practices like two-factor authentication, VPN use, firewall implementation, encryption, anti-virus use and creating strong policies on the use of company-provided devices, we are able to build a strong infrastructure.
I would recommend that leaders promote security awareness within their teams by providing training materials such as live videos, presentations and so on. They can also simulate phishing or malware attempts to test if employees are taking the required precautions or not. Based on the results, they can modify their training agenda to prioritize the categories that the employees missed. All of these tactics help us maintain industry-grade security and are some of the steps that I suggest every company follows to create a culture of cybersecurity.
By staying vigilant and proactive about cybersecurity, companies can protect themselves from malicious attacks.