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Cyber security: 5 tips for your business

(Jirsak / Depositphotos.com)

(Jirsak / Depositphotos.com)

Cyber security should be an important component of your business strategy. To avoid the serious consequences of a data breach, you should act proactively in order to secure your data and protect your company’s future. Waiting isn’t an option.

With businesses more reliant on cloud storage, digital solutions, and mobile platforms than ever before, cyber security has become something that organizations of all sizes need to take seriously. In 2019, information technology security leaders reported that they had already experienced an average of four cyber attacks in the year.

A security breach of any size can create a public relations nightmare for your company, undermining even the strongest client relationships, and doing serious damage to your organization’s reputation. In addition to losing the public’s trust, your business stands to lose financially in the event that fines are handed out for violating terms outlined by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and other cybersecurity regulations.

1. Perform a cyber security audit
The only way for your business to understand where it stands in terms of cybersecurity protection is to perform a cyber security audit. By doing this, you’ll be able to identify at a glance what security measures you currently have in place, where your organization can improve its security, what it does well, and what staff members have and haven’t been trained on. A security audit will help you create your cybersecurity roadmap.

2. Create or update your security policies
There’s a good chance that your business is still hanging onto outdated cybersecurity policies that haven’t been updated in some time, especially if your business has never been breached before. The first way to improve internal cybersecurity is to establish relevant and clearly understood policies for staff members that outline employer security expectations like password strength, file sharing and storing, acceptable use guidelines, mobile device security, best practices, removable storage guidelines, etc. and the consequences associated with not following policies.

3. Train staff to recognize threats
In 2019, 9 in every 10 malware infections were delivered to recipients via email, with many of the victims being business accounts. This high rate of infection proves that far too many people are too trusting when it comes to mundane activities like clicking on emails. Staff should be trained on how to effectively recognize and identify potential security threats, and how they should respond to them. It’s highly recommended that all staff members be trained to “think before they click”, which can save businesses from a great number of potential security breaches. It’s also important to outline how staff members should respond if they’ve already opened a potentially harmful email or file.

4. Enforce strong passwords and two-factor authentication
Strong passwords are essential to maintaining secure business accounts. If your employees are using repetitive or weak passwords, they leave themselves open to data breaches. Strong passwords usually contain more than twelve characters with a combination of lower and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

These passwords should be changed regularly (every 60-120 days), and should not be repeated across websites or accounts. Minimum password strength specifications can be managed and enforced by admins in the G Suite Admin console, ensuring that all employees meet the minimum guidelines.

Admins can also enforce the use of two-factor authentication for all accounts, which requires users to enter a verification code along with their username and password in order to access their account. Codes are sent to a secure mobile device or can be used through an encrypted signature on an employee’s security key. G Suite admins have the option of making this mandatory for employees, strengthening account security across the business.

5. Create a workplace culture with a heavy focus on security
Your business can implement an endless amount of security policies and guidelines, but there’s a good chance that they won’t actually stick if your workplace doesn’t consider security to be a priority. This makes it especially important to create and foster a workplace culture that focuses heavily on security: team members should understand the role they place in keeping the workplace secure, how they can implement security guidelines in their day to day duties and the serious consequences of poor security.

Ensure that your business data is stored securely and your accounts are locked down by speaking to a Google Certified Security Engineer, who will evaluate every aspect of your G Suite administrative controls and domain settings and provide you with a detailed report. After an audit from a Google Certified Security Engineer, you’ll be given a road map that allows you to implement security solutions and policies that work better for your business, keeping your data safe.

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