10 things you need to do to improve your security

Steve Flynn, Sales and Marketing Director of ESET South Africa, says South African small businesses are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks. Why? Business owners aren’t taking the necessary precautions to protect their digital assets, often with dire financial consequences.

He suggests new attacks detected in less than six months equated to 55 billion. The latest statistics make for sobering reading and underscore the high probability of South African businesses being targeted by sophisticated criminal networks.

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Let’s recap, what is cybersecurity?

According to IBM cybersecurity is the practice of protecting critical systems and sensitive information from digital attacks. Also known as information technology (IT) security, cybersecurity measures are designed to combat threats against networked systems and applications, whether those threats originate from inside or outside of an organisation.

A strong cybersecurity strategy can provide a good security posture against malicious attacks designed to access, alter, delete, destroy, or extort an organisation’s or user’s systems and sensitive data. Cybersecurity is also instrumental in preventing attacks that aim to disable or disrupt a system’s or device’s operations.

Cyber-attacks are increasing in frequency, sophistication, and impact, with perpetrators continually refining their efforts to compromise systems, networks, and information.

Why is cybersecurity so important?

Cybersecurity’s importance is on the rise, and it is important because it encompasses everything that relates to protecting our data from cyber attackers who want to steal this information and use it to cause harm. Both inherent risk and residual risk are increasing, driven by global connectivity and usage of cloud services.

Business leaders can no longer solely rely on out-of-the-box cybersecurity solutions like antivirus software and firewalls, cybercriminals are getting smarter, and their tactics are becoming more resilient to conventional cyber defences. It’s important to cover all the fields of cybersecurity to stay well-protected.

What you need to do to improve your security?

1.      Get protection from viruses, malware, and malicious code

Up-to-date anti-virus software and firewalls to block unwanted access are essential. It may sound simple, but make sure your workplace Wi-Fi network is secure; ensure that your router password is selected by you and does not stay as the default password. Adhering to these key elements of best practice can help secure your business in the long run.

2.      Apply patches and security updates

Applying patches and security updates to operating systems and software is the best way to close vulnerabilities in networks. Many cyberattacks actively look to exploit unpatched software as an easy backdoor into networks. Devices and software with known security vulnerabilities should be patched immediately.

3.      Update software regularly

We regularly provide updates to all our software products to fix security flaws and improve functionality, and so should any expert IT supplier.  A good practice is to download and install these software updates as soon as they are available for your business.

4.      Have an incident response plan

Even if organisations have followed all the relevant advice, they should still draw up a plan of how to react in the event of a cyberattack. For example, if the network is down, how will they communicate a response? Thinking about different scenarios, as planning ahead and running training exercises can reduce the impact of a successful cyberattack.

5.      Brief the wider organisation about cyber threats

It’s the job of information security to know about cyberattacks and how to deal with them, but outside the cybersecurity team, it’s unlikely to be common knowledge. Staff from the boardroom to the shopfloor should be aware of the importance of cybersecurity and be made aware of how to report suspected security events. For a business to be secure, it’s crucial everyone plays a part.

6.      Use strong authentication

Ensure that employees and other users connecting to your network use strong user IDs and passwords for computers, mobile devices, and online accounts.  Consider requiring more information beyond a password to gain access to your business’s network, and additional safety measures, such as two-factor authentication.

7.      Secure business smartphones

Mobile devices can be a source of security challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access your company’s network.  Require employees to password-protect their devices. Encrypt employee data and install security apps to prevent criminals from accessing the device while it is connected to public networks.

8.      Back up your data

Do this daily. When backing up data use the same security measures (such as encryption) that you would apply to the original data.  Additionally, in case your main computer becomes infected, regularly back up sensitive business data to additional disconnected storage devices.

9.      Use best practices for handling card payments online

Seek advice from your bank or a payment processor to select the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services. Some providers offer confirmation calls with your financial institution before certain electronic transfers are authorised.

10.  Get the right IT partner

Ensure that your IT partner understands your business and what your security requirements are, because every business has a different need, and it is important they recognise this through an assessment to identify what security solution will best suit you and your organisation.

Get secure with the right IT partner

Get secure in your workplace through Information Technology (IT) and grow your business. Rito-Technologies is an IT business partner that maximises business output through technology. They enable their clients to be SMART with their IT Strategic Planning and cybersecurity solutions, which is guaranteed to increase your business performance, ROI, and security.

For more information about our IT Strategic Planning, request a free assessment today or get in touch with us at info@rito-tech.co.za or call us on 010 213 7016 and we will gladly assist you.

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