How to Strengthen the IT Security of Your Company: 6 Cybersecurity Strategies

It Security
How to Strengthen the IT Security of Your Company: 6 Cybersecurity Strategies

If you think having robust IT security measures is only for large corporations, think again. Small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) need them just as much. After all, malicious actors now have them in their crosshairs.

Indeed, one study identified SMBs as the primary target of data breaches. It showed that SMBs accounted for over 40% of these incidents.

That eye-opening statistic should be enough to make you question your existing security policies. If they’re lacking, your company (and everyone involved) can become a cybercrime victim. And if that happens, it can lead to losses, liabilities, or worse, bankruptcy and closure.

To prevent such disastrous consequences, fortify your company’s IT security ASAP. We’ve shared strategies to help you achieve this goal, so read on. 

1. Identify Potential Risks and Threats

Knowing your company’s cyber risks is the first step to strengthening its security program. Because if you’re unaware of the threats most likely to endanger it, you’ll be unable to stop them before they attack. You may also find yourself without tools to contain and mitigate the damage if an attack does occur.

So, work with a cybersecurity service provider to conduct a risk assessment before that happens. 

What Is a Cyber Risk Assessment?

A cyber risk assessment analyzes a company’s potential and existing cyber risks. It does so through a comprehensive security review and gap analysis, also called a security audit.

Security auditing involves examining your company’s entire IT framework and security policies. It pinpoints strengths, loopholes, flaws, and areas of improvement. 

How Does It Work?

Revealing security risks often requires penetration testing (pen testing). It’s a series of simulated attacks performed on IT infrastructures and systems to evaluate their security. Some examples include:

  • Diagnostic phishing attempts
  • Ethical hacking of apps, networks, and wireless systems
  • Vulnerability testing and exposure

As part of the test, the pen-tester will use your company’s available tools to try and remediate the simulated attacks. Doing so helps them assess the effectiveness of your current security measures and policies. For example, they may inject a virus into a computer to see if its antivirus software catches and stops it. 

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How Can It Benefit Your Organization?

After the pen test, the tester creates a final report summarizing their findings. It may include the following:

  • All discovered vulnerabilities and their potential impact if exploited
  • Accessed confidential, private, restricted, and sensitive data that should have been inaccessible
  • How long it took for the existing cybersecurity tools to detect the tester
  • If the measures in place were enough to remediate the attack
  • Recommendations for cybersecurity services that can help address the risks

You can then use all that information to improve your company’s cyber security posture. It can also help you comply with SOC 2 pen testing requirements

2. Train Your People

Users without cybersecurity training and digital ethics are prime cybercrime targets. After all, they’re easier to victimize than those knowledgeable about cyber risks. The less aware they are of threats, the less likely they are to take precautions.

Phishing is one example of a threat capitalizing on one’s lack of security awareness. It’s also pervasive; over 80% of companies experience a phishing attack yearly. It’s also behind 36% of data breaches in the U.S. alone.

For those reasons, have your company’s employees undergo cybersecurity training. It should educate them on phishing and the following:

  • Business Email Compromise (BEC)
  • Baiting
  • Malware
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks
  • Pretexting
  • Cybersecurity best practices

The more your people know, the better they can identify and avoid cybersecurity threats. 

3. Implement Data Access Control

No matter how trustworthy you think your employees are, they can still cause a data breach. They may not be the perpetrator, but they could give the perp access to private information.

That can happen if an employee falls victim to phishing or hacking. A malicious actor could dupe them into revealing their login credentials. The criminal can then acquire and steal the sensitive data to which this employee may have access.

Implementing data access control strategies can help minimize such risks. This involves restricting access to data based on your employees’ duties and roles. If their jobs don’t require accessing sensitive data, don’t give them that privilege. 

4. Enforce Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA is a multi-step process for account access. It requires users to provide their username, password, and another way to authenticate the login request.

That extra step could be entering a code sent to the user’s email address or mobile number. It could also be an answer to a pre-set secret question. Either way, the person trying to log in must complete the extra step to access their account successfully. 

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5. Use a Password Manager

Poor passwords (i.e., weak, short, and easy to guess) cause 81% of data breaches.

To ensure your employees can’t use such risky passwords, enforce the use of a password manager to:

  • Help users create more secure login credentials
  • Prohibit the use of weak and short passwords
  • Restrict the use of common words, patterns, and repetitive passwords
  • Block previously compromised or leaked passwords

Some password managers also have extra features like MFA integration. You may even be able to incorporate biometric security into these programs. 

6. Partner With a Managed IT Security Firm

A managed IT service can help protect critical business data through 24/7 cybersecurity monitoring. These experts also specialize in user authentication, data authorization, encryption, and password management. Moreover, they can provide training, backup, recovery, and round-the-clock technical support.

To top it off, managed IT services are cost-effective, as you can get them on a “pay-as-you-use” basis. This means you’ll only pay them for the services you need. That makes them an ideal alternative to hiring an in-house IT department. 

Time to Fortify Your IT Security

In today’s world, where cybercrime has become so pervasive, having robust IT security measures is no longer a luxury. It’s already a necessity.

So, as early as today, follow all the tips we’ve shared in this guide. The sooner you do, the sooner you can protect your critical business data.

For other practical business and tech guides like this, check out more of our site now!

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