Cyber threats represent a big problem to companies of all sizes. Without good network security, small companies risk financial losses due to cyberattacks, including those resulting from potential lawsuits and a ruined reputation
Cybercrimes continue to evolve as criminals discover new ways to attack their targets. Threats like phishing schemes, ransomware, and DDoS attacks are now a major concern for businesses. However, with the right tools and best practices in place, you can protect your network security without breaking the bank.
How to keep data secure without breaking the bank
Lack of knowledge, budget, and time are the three common reasons why organizations do not have good network security. However, there are some effective practices that can keep information and devices secure without spending a lot of money.
Enforce strong password policies
Creating and implementing strong password policies is an effective way to enhance cybersecurity. Ensure that all your workers change their passwords after every three months.
Additionally, discourage your employees from using one password for multiple log-ins and ensure the passwords are complex. Although this exercise can be tedious, it is very effective against cyber threats and a great way to minimize risk in an economical way.
Educate your workforce
Often, your employees can be the weakest link in your organization’s fight against cyber threats. One of the simplest ways to protect your company from attacks is to train workers about cybersecurity regularly.
Businesses can achieve this by frequently hosting seminars for workers and onboarding talks to help them identify potential attacks. This preventive measure can empower employees to avoid becoming victims of phishing techniques and other scams.
Install the latest antivirus software
Phishing attacks are the most common attacks used against organizations. In these attacks, cyber attackers use emails and text messages to impersonate legitimate leadership of well-known companies.
Usually, the attacks involve harmful attachments or links used to install malware. Having the latest antivirus software on all company networks and devices can help prevent malware and viruses from being installed on your network.
Implement multi-factor identification
Multi-factor identification is one of the best strategies when it comes to protecting information on both work and personal devices. Even if cyberattackers access the password, it will be difficult to use it when multi-factor authentication is in place.
Multi-factor identification makes your network a difficult target and can be a deterrent for attackers to move on to the next target.
Back up your information regularly
Backing up your organization’s information regularly can make restoring information to a point in time an easy task before data breaches occur, without losing all of the information. To ensure you have an up-to-date backup, check your backup regularly and confirm that it’s functioning properly.
Include cybersecurity in your travel risk mitigation and management policies
This is crucial because workers traveling for business can pose a cybersecurity risk to your company. Since cybersecurity crimes are not constrained by geographical boundaries, employees traveling for business face an increased risk to cyber threats because they’re required to access business information on mobile devices like tablets and laptops.
Business travelers are also likely to connect to public WiFi networks, exposing themselves to data vulnerability while traveling. Fortunately, your business can implement the following cost-effective measures ahead of a trip to reduce potential cyberattacks:
- Reduce the number of devices your workforce takes and remove confidential information prior to the trip
- Avoid sharing the purpose or the exact location of the trip on the internet
- Update software on all the devices used for the trip
- Research the potential cyber crimes specific to the location
- Educate employees about the risks while traveling
Cost-effective tools to help with good network security
Having a cybersecurity strategy is non-negotiable for any organization that wants to stay safe against cyber crimes. But to have a successful strategy, it is necessary to use security tools. Here‘s a list of pocket-friendly tools:
- Antivirus software – Up-to-date antivirus software is one of the first tools you should have as part of a strong cybersecurity strategy. The software detects and removes viruses plus other forms of malware. Although many antivirus packages are costly, some are free or inexpensive.
- Firewall – Firewalls such as the Cisco Firewalls act as the first defense by building a barrier between the internet and your network or device. This helps against threats as it stops information leakage from your device and prevents entry of dangerous programs sent by cybercriminals. Often, hardware firewalls are built into many routers while software firewalls are built into your computer’s operating system.
- Virtual private network (VPNs) – VPNs are excellent security tools. They take all of the traffic flowing from and to your device and force it via an intermediary server through an encrypted tunnel. This means if anyone intercepts the traffic, they won’t be able to read it. When you use a VPN, hackers cannot monitor your online activity. VPNs aren’t free, but the fees are reasonable. Cisco ISM VPN s a great option.
- SSL certificate – Is your site secure? Getting an SSL certificate and implementing HTTPS sounds complicated, but it’s very simple. Additionally, it encrypts the traffic going between your customer and website to prevent threats like man-in-the-middle attacks or ISP snooping. It also lets your customers know that your website is authentic. You can set up an SSL certificate on your site for free using the Let’s Encrypt tool.
- Secure file transfer – Sending files securely can be difficult when you’re using encrypted email since you’re limited in terms of size. You can instead use Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) which uses a Secure Shell (SSH) server as it understands FTP commands. There are many great free options you can use such as FreeFTP.
Implement these measures to minimize the risk of threats
Cyber crimes are becoming more complex as technology continues to evolve. The longer your company waits to put in place strategies to minimize the risk of threats, the more vulnerable they become to hackers. Although cyberattacks occur unexpectedly, implementing the above mitigation steps can eliminate or minimize a criminal’s attempt to access your company’s sensitive information.