These days, hacked is considered a four-letter word for most organizations, and one that in one form or another was all-too-common uttered and experienced in 2017. According to a recent AT&T Cybersecurity Insights report, almost 80 percent of the global organizations surveyed said they had been adversely affected by a cybersecurity attack in the past year.
When queried about the biggest cybersecurity threats they anticipated for 2018, 60 percent cited malware, worms and viruses. Unauthorized access to company data plagued 49 percent, and 46 percent cited ransomware. Nearly one-third said IoT-based attacks topped their list of future woes.
And the reality is that their cybersecurity fears – and likely yours – are not unfounded. They’re expected to become more pervasive and more advanced. So, what can you do to make 2018 more secure? Here are some useful tips:
- Put your money where your worries are and invest in cybersecurity. The cost of not making this investment is your data, and your customer’s loyalty and confidence. That’s probably too high of a price to pay on the backend.
- Optimize your organization for offline communication. Shared online data has no doubt contributed to the rise in cyberattacks. There’s no way to eliminate online data, of course, but you can minimize it a bit with simple measures. Seat employees who communicate regularly with each other, near each other. Encourage employees to get up and talk to colleagues five feet from them rather than sending an email. Designate email-free hours within your firm and encourage face-to-face communication. Use offline options for safe storage, such as removable drives.
- Link cybersecurity and IT professionals. Often, these two groups have different goals and skillsets, which makes no sense. The employees who build and maintain your network should also know how to keep it secure.
- Don’t ignore updates. Companies like Microsoft and Apple don’t release security updates just to release them, even if it sometimes seems as if they do. If there’s a security patch for your software, it was probably created for a good reason. Install it as soon as possible.
- Test your system. You never will know how good the cybersecurity protections you’ve put in place are until you test them. Penetrative testing, as this is known, involves paying hackers to attempt to infiltrate your systems. If successful, your IT teams work to correct the mistakes and hopefully prevent similar ones in the future.
- If our number one is to merely invest money. Our last tip suggests you invest in education. The hacks are ever-evolving and becoming increasingly complex. Ensure that your team, from the top brass to the least experienced hourly employee, has at least a basic understanding of cybersecurity risks, real threats and protective measures they can take, including proper encryption and software updating.