Governor Brad Little’s 2020 State of the State address highlighted the need to further strengthen cybersecurity to protect citizen data. Prioritizing IT infrastructure for state agencies is sign of the times, where every organization, big or small, is susceptible to a cyber-attack.
Is cybersecurity a priority within your 2020 business plans?
Cyber-attacks take many forms but the most common threat to a business involves malicious software designed to infiltrate and destroy a computer, network or server. This gives cybercriminals access to your system, exposing sensitive information and client data. Businesses can also be targeted with ransomware, which locks up computers, denying access until a ransom is paid, which can be costly.
One of the Better Business Bureau’s Standards of Trust is to safeguard privacy. This principal outlines the importance of protecting consumers’ data against mishandling and fraud. When sensitive, personal information is breached, it’s a lose-lose situation for both the business and the consumer.
Cybersecurity expert Gerhard De Villiers-Mohr of BBB Accredited Business Secure ICT says, “a breach could completely cripple any business”. He says the impacts go far beyond the cost of recovering a business’s technology systems but also includes customer loss, reputation loss and operational loss.
Small businesses are particularly worrisome to Mohr as they are often less secure due to the cost of getting a strong cybersecurity system in place, which makes them prime targets for cybercriminals.
Mohr suggests the following tips for any-size business to strengthen their cybersecurity presence:
- Perform an audit: “First and foremost, get your company pen-tested to check where the vulnerabilities are and have them patched and fixed. Test all systems and user devices for vulnerabilities, it could be as simple as just updating your system with the latest security patch.”
- Level Up: “Use password phrases instead of the old standard passwords, too many times we have seen systems compromised because of simple passwords.”
- Train employees: “Keep your staff trained on social engineering attacks and trends and company security policies and procedures.”
- Put policies in place: “Deploy proper security policies and procedures within your organization and test that the policies work on a user level and system level. Ensure all users that work remotely do so via VPN to ensure extra layer of security together with two factor or multi factor authentication.”
- Invest in protection: “Free anti-virus software is not ideal for protection- get proper licensed software. Make sure you install a layer 7 firewall that does application checking for malicious traffic.”
Secure ICT is located in the Treasure Valley and offers cyber security, IT and networking solutions services. Learn more here.