By Lucy Manole, Content Writer, Right Mix Marketing

Source: Freepik

In this era of digitalization, businesses are moving online faster than ever, resulting in an explosion of data. Most companies have moved to a cloud-based platform, which helps facilitate business activities.

As a result, without significant cybersecurity protocols in place, a business cannot function properly in today’s world. Every day, the data is increasing.

In fact, according to statistics, by 2020, the universe will have 44 zettabytes of data. To put this into perspective, that is 40 times more data than the number of stars in the universe.

The statistics further suggest that it is more a question of when, rather than if you are under cyber-attack. And no company is safe, even the giants like Yahoo. Three billion Yahoo accounts were hacked in 2013-2014.

Statistics say that small to medium businesses are under greater threat of facing a cybercrime.  Numbers suggest that 61% of data breaches happen in companies with less than 1000 employees.

So how do you counter this? Well, for one, it always helps to build a checklist. A checklist ensures that you get things right, the first time, saving valuable time and money.

Here is a brief checklist for cybersecurity that you can use to keep your business secure:

  1. Are Your Employees Prepared to Deal With a Potential Cyber Threat?

No matter how many firewalls you have and how stringent your security protocol is, none of them will work unless you educate your employees about cyber-attacks.

There is no graver liability than an untrained workforce. Your employees should be the first ones to be aware of all the security checkpoints and policies in place, as well as the technologies in use. Two of the most common cyber-crimes are in the form of phishing and malware. Designed to trick you in various ways, it is also easy to prevent them by simple attention to the finer details.

For phishing, all you need is a keen eye for weeding out potential threats in the form of spammy links. This is where the training becomes essential, and your employees must be trained to spot a phishing attack from a mile away. However, the cyber-criminals are also getting smarter and using different techniques to lure your employees into a trap.

An excellent way to put an end to this is mandatory employee phishing prevention training, whether at the time of joining or after every six months. That way, they can keep abreast of the latest developments, and avoid being duped by cybercriminals.

  1. Is Your Data Stored in a Secure Location?

Another make-or-break question for you is the location where your data is stored. Irrespective of whether your business is in a small network or hosted on a cloud platform synced with an off-line center, it must be protected.  There is no room for error in this case.

Apart from the security of your data center, physical security is also an essential factor to be taken into account. In today’s world, data centers must have power and back-up service in the first instance.

Another area of your emphasis should be the physical protection you are providing to your hardware. Physical barriers like door locks and biometrics to prevent old-school hardware tampering may sound redundant and passé. However, it is something you should look into.

Graphically, you can imagine your data center as the center of all power, the nucleus in a human cell, which needs maximum protection. While monitoring the outer circumference of your security, the center should not be taken for granted and ignored. Data has already overtaken oil as the most valuable asset and resource in the world. You should protect your data at all costs and do whatever is necessary, whatever the price.

  1. Are You Keeping a Constant Check on Your System?

“With great power, comes great responsibility.”

And this is why, the bigger your network, the more vulnerabilities you have. As a result, you would have to be extra careful when it comes to keeping an eye on your system.

It is not to say that all is rainbows and sunshine with small businesses. The underlying security checkpoints and protocol remain the same for all businesses.

Devices like telephones, smartphones, PCs, laptops, and wifi tend to increase your liability and make you more vulnerable to cyber threats. A pre-determined and defined frequency of vulnerability scanning is a great method for selectively identifying and weeding out weak links in your network. Things like out-of-date PCs, simple passwords and unsecured wifi networks are just the tip of the iceberg.

A full vulnerability scan will inspect your entire network and flag all potential hazards. Again, that is just the start. Once you have identified potential loopholes, you need to get them fixed in such a way so as to avoid similar threats in the future.

Hire a certified cybersecurity professional or a managed security services provider which will help you alleviate your worries regarding cyber threats. Standard services include managed firewall, intrusion detection, virtual private network, vulnerability scanning, and antiviral services, vulnerability scanning, and remediation to keep your system in check.

With everything in place, you can now rest easy!

These are highly professional services aimed at managing and monitoring your security devices. Seeking professional help to supplement your efforts is an excellent way to plug the gaps.

  1. Deploy 2-Factor Authentication

You may think you are immune to cybersecurity mishaps, but only until it happens to you. More often than not, businesses become victims of cybercrime due to minor things like an unsecured password.

Thankfully, there is a way to protect your password authentication systems, without going through any hassle yourself.

You can simply use the two-factor authentication (2FA). Also known as MFA, this easy-to-use security method stops password theft even before it can take shape. The process is quite easy. When logging in to an account with 2FA, you type in your regular username and password combination, which is verified on your phone. This secondary code helps ensure that you are really who you say you are.

Even big corporates like Google and Yahoo are using it to protect their system against potential cyber threats. A simple code keeps your data and accounts protected. Using your phone as your ultimate verifier is equivalent to a guarantee that a miscreant cannot merely hack your computer and gain access to your data. The best part about 2FA is that it is inexpensive, and the set-up is straightforward. If you haven’t got it, this should be your number one priority right now.

  1. Secure Your End-points

By endpoints, we mean the devices that have become so prevalent in the 21st century. Here, an endpoint is any device that you use to access a network. From your mobile devices to your laptops, it can be anything!

However, this is the most commonplace for a security breach to take place. Businesses today have understood that and that’s why most of them have migrated to a model that uses technology outside of the office. If you haven’t, then now is as good a time as any.

Real-time protection and ensuring the continual and uninterrupted defense is the need of the hour. With the advances in the technology of hackers, simple anti-virus software is not enough anymore. And the automated systems can lead to countless false complacency that lulls your senses towards thinking that you are entirely secure. However, you need persistence and focus, along with a significant amount of skill to monitor your network all the time.

Endpoint Detection and Response is always possible, no matter the size of the business. Endpoint security, though seemingly banal, has its uses. And as they say, better safe than sorry.

Wrap-Up

Having a cyber-security checklist is an outstanding practice that more and more companies are adopting. Not only does it ease your job, but it also helps in immediate and sufficient identification of the shortcomings of the protocols of your own business, which can help you take action quickly and decisively. With these regulations in place, you can efficiently counter cyber-crime menace and conduct your business without any hassle.

About the Author

Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Right Mix Marketing Blog. She specializes in writing about digital marketing, technology, entrepreneurship, and education. When she is not writing or editing, she spends time reading books, cooking and traveling. Lucy can be reached online at (https://twitter.com/rightmixmktg,https://www.facebook.com/RightMixMarketing/, https://in.linkedin.com/company/right-mix-marketing ) and at our company website.