Safer Internet Day, held annually on February 6th, aims to raise awareness about emerging online issues and promote safer and more responsible internet use. This year, on Safer Internet Day 2024, we want to provide businesses with our top tips to help protect your company's data, devices, and networks from cyber attackers.
With more employees working remotely and cybersecurity threats continuing to evolve, organisations must implement strong protections. Malicious hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities to exploit to steal sensitive personal information, intellectual property, and more.
By following these best practices on Safer Internet Day and beyond, you can keep your business safe online.
Tip 1: Use Strong Passwords and Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
One of the simplest ways for cyber attackers to gain access to an account or network is by guessing weak passwords. Require employees to create passwords that are long and complex, using a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid common phrases and personal information in passwords.
In addition to strong passwords, enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) across all employee accounts and devices. MFA requires a second form of identity verification, such as a code sent to a mobile phone, before allowing access. This extra layer of security makes it much harder for hackers to break into accounts.
Tip 2: Keep Software Updated
Outdated and vulnerable software is one of the main targets for cybersecurity attacks. Set devices to automatically install the latest security patches and application updates as they become available. Sign up for update alerts from software vendors.
Unpatched vulnerabilities get exploited by hackers using malware, ransomware, and phishing emails to infiltrate systems. Keeping software up-to-date closes security holes before attackers can take advantage of them.
Tip 3: Install and Update Antivirus/Anti-Malware Tools
Endpoint protection should include real-time scanning by antivirus software to detect and remove malware like viruses, worms, and spyware. Schedule regular virus scans on all devices to identify any threats that may have slipped through.
Like software updates, ensure antivirus tools stay current. This type of platform will leverage threat intelligence to update their detection profiles, so it’s vital this stays up to date. With more sophisticated cyber-attacks emerging, your protections need to evolve as well.
Tip 4: Establish Secure Remote Access
The shift to remote work has increased the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) and other remote access systems. While these tools enable employees to work from home efficiently, they open up potential risks if not configured securely.
Encrypt network traffic, enable firewalls, and use identity and access controls to protect remote access points from unauthorised users. Validate connections through MFA as well. For added security, restrict access to only company-managed devices.
Tip 5: Back Up Critical Data
Implementing reliable data backup procedures enables business continuity in the event of cyber attacks like ransomware that can lock up or destroy files. Schedule automatic backups to create copies of important data and systems.
Store backup files off-site or in the cloud and verify their integrity through periodic restores. This makes it possible to recover from data loss quickly with minimal disruption. Make sure to back up regularly and test restoration to prepare for any incident.
Tip 6: Educate Employees on Security Best Practices
Your employees are critical players in your company's cyber defences. Through training and awareness programs, inform staff about today's cybersecurity risks. Highlight tactics like phishing emails aiming to steal passwords and deploy malware.
Share best practices around strong passwords, social engineering detection, data protection, and accountable online behaviour. Establish clear security policies and acceptable use standards.
Empowering employees with knowledge helps them stay vigilant and make smart decisions online to protect themselves and company resources.
Tip 7: Control Access and Segregate Privileges
Implement the principle of least privilege by only granting employees access to the systems and data they need to do their jobs. This containment strategy limits damage if an account gets compromised.
Additionally, segregate duties so no single user has end-to-end control of an entire process. Separating abilities reduces the risk of abuse of privileges and fraud.
Lockdown admin accounts tightly and use monitoring controls to keep tabs on critical access. Limit third-party vendor access as well to only pre-approved levels. Controlling access is key to limiting attackers' capabilities.
We hope these tips give you a blueprint for tackling top vulnerabilities and threats. Implementing just a few of these best practices can make a big difference against sophisticated cyber attackers.
If you need any assistance implementing these cyber security measures or want to discuss how SpiderGroup can help protect your business online, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Our team of IT experts can work with you to defend against online threats on Safer Internet Day and year-round.