When planning and implementing practices for cybersecurity within your business, there are a few things you need to consider right at the start. This short guide of first cybersecurity steps will get you started with protecting your organisation from cyber threats.
The main considerations for cybersecurity
Your company must maintain the safety of the data you hold. Because of this, it is essential to plan and monitor the effectiveness of security policies and practices. Here we break down the first steps you should take for cybersecurity.
1. Risk management
Your company has various systems and technology that are in use daily. These help you achieve your business goals, but they also need assessing for risks. You have to evaluate potential security risks such as:
- Business impact
- Operational risk
- Regulatory requirements
- Financial risks
A management risk policy identifies the potential issues of a security breach. Once you know how a problem is going to affect your business, you can plan how to prevent it. Policies need to be clear and concise. All users in the company have to be aware of how they fit into the security strategies.
2. Mobile and off-site working
It can be beneficial for employees to work off-site or at home, but it does carry risks. Any cybersecurity policies you put into place have to take these types of mobile workers into consideration. By not taking the proper precautions to protect off-site access, you could be vulnerable to:
- Loss of devices
- Password or user access login theft
- Malware or tampering of off-site equipment
Employees that work from home or on a mobile basis require training on data protection. Educate all employees on mobile working policies. Include aspects such as not leaving laptops, phones, or tablets unattended. Avoiding usage in public spaces helps to prevent anyone from overlooking the employee for potential access to company data. Implement multi-factor authentication where possible to make login processes more secure.
3. User privileges
Employees have access to essential data for the completion of their duties. Allowing staff to have extensive system access can have potential issues. If there is a compromise of an employee account, a data breach is more severe as a result.
To avoid potential misuse of account privileges you can:
- Implement account management processes
- Set a password guidance policy
- Limit user access to privileged information
- Have a limited number that can access sensitive information
Actively monitor systems to make sure that access remains with those that need it. Employees at a specific level should only access confidential information or areas of the corporate network. Make sure that all employees know what is acceptable but also what is not.
4. Secure your corporate network
Your business network needs protection from possible security breaches. The company network and any other systems it connects to need to form part of your cybersecurity protocols. Some steps for business network protection include:
- Malware checking
- Internal network protection
- Secure wireless access
Firewalls can create a protective barrier between your company network and the internet. Malware checkers and antivirus software can help protect corporate data systems.
Limit connections between your internal network and external systems, such as the internet. You can set up segregation within the system. So, if one set suffers a breach, it is easily isolated. Monitor your network and educate all users of activities that can cause possible problems.
5. Educate users
It is vital that all employees fully understand the risks your business faces concerning cybersecurity.
Technology and systems are the way your staff do their jobs, but they must also keep the business secure. Managing data risks starts with your employees. You have to consider procedures for external attacks but also any internal breach policies. Managing data risks concerning employees can include:
- Create a user policy – security policies cover your business, but you also need one for employees. Procedures are relevant to each department. Keep the wording simple so that everyone fully understands the user’s security policy.
- Induction process – set an induction process for all new employees. All security policies and individual responsibilities are part of this. It must cover third parties or contractors but also consequences for non-compliance.
- Monitoring – continual evaluation of training for users identifies possible issues and improvements. Make sure there is plenty of opportunities for employees to discuss the practice and feel able to ask about anything unclear.
Your employees are present in all parts of your business, so you want them to report any issues. Empowering your staff to highlight problems without recrimination is an excellent tool. Personnel will more likely bring items to attention and so help avoid a more significant issue.
Contact the OmniCyber team today to find out more about how you can protect your organisation from cyber attacks. The Cyber Essentials certification is an excellent starting point for any business looking into boosting their digital defences.