Cyber attacks have become a concern for everyone. During the first half of 2019 alone, a whopping 4.1 billion records were compromised. While we only hear about the headline-making breaches, it’s the everyday incidents that put money in hackers’ pockets. Understanding and implementing cyber security best practices is now a requirement for any organization.
Despite the constant headlines, cyber security can be complex and hard to follow. Many of your small business clients may not know where to begin in their line of defense and may be wondering: What is cyber security practice in general? Where do I start? Here, we’ll break down how to get started and how using cyber security best practices can protect your clients’ futures.
What Are the 10 Steps to Cyber Security?
In order for your clients to best protect themselves from cyber threats, it’s crucial that they plan ahead. Enforcing cyber security best practices now means focusing on both the prevention and mitigation of a cyber attack. One without the other can result in serious damages.
Part One: Prevention
As cyber criminals become more creative and advanced, it can be difficult to keep up with the many angles they take when trying to manipulate employees. As these attacks are constantly evolving, there’s a number of necessary steps to help prevent an attack from occurring and prepare your clients’ organizations, should they fall victim.
- Keep Software Up to Date
Yes, these constant pop-ups and reminders on computers, tablets, and phones are annoying but shouldn’t be ignored. Software updates should be done as soon as they’re available so each system is prepared for the latest attack.
- Create a Culture of Continuing Education
Hackers are talented manipulators and triggering human emotion, such as fear and stress, can get them the personal information they’re looking for. All employees need to be constantly educated on the latest threats, phishing attacks, and how to appropriately identify them. Identifying an attack is the first step in blocking it.
- Utilize Strong Passwords
A strong password is a complex password. Utilizing both letters, numbers, and varying capitalization can help thwart hackers. Regularly updating passwords can also help protect private data from unauthorized individuals.
- Proactively Back-Up Data
The loss of data can have a significant effect on an organization’s ability to conduct business. When a cyber attack occurs and essential data is lost or inaccessible, the business may also face business interruption costs on top of those associated with the actual attack.
- Form a Breach Response Plan
Is your organization prepared for an attack? What role will each party take? What is their duty? Ironing out these details will allow everyone to confidently and quickly take action. A step-by-step plan should be written out and agreed upon prior to facing any breach.
- Secure a Cyber Liability Insurance Policy
The costs now associated with a breach can be upwards of $200,000 for small businesses and often lead to bankruptcy. The costs a company faces following a breach can now include:
- IT forensic costs
- Credit protection costs
- Crisis management costs
- Breach of contract claims
- Negligent protection of data claims
- PCI fines and penalties and assessments
So what is the best cyber security precaution? A cyber liability policy.
Part Two: Mitigation
Once a breach occurs, the manner in which it’s responded to has an enormous effect on the extent of the damages. A well thought out and fast response is one of the most important cyber security best practices.
- Stay Vigilant & Act Fast
When a cyber attack occurs, the faster the response the less damage may occur. This is where the pre-set breach response plan comes into play. Responding to the breach should become the first priority for all parties involved.
- Secure the Breach & Identify Compromised Data
This step can often require an IT forensics team to secure the breach and identify what, if any, data has been inappropriately accessed—which is complicated and costly. With a cyber insurance policy in place, a business can act quickly and know they’re covered.
- Be Transparent with Customers
It’s imperative that an organization that has suffered a breach be transparent with its customers and the public about what sensitive information was accessed in order to restore trust and avoid additional fines and penalties.
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA), provides an added layer of protection for your clients’ by requiring users to provide two-plus verification methods to gain online access. Instead of only a username and password, MFA requires additional biometric (fingerprint or face scan) or hardware token verification. We recommend “Google Authenticator.” MFA options are typically inexpensive and are well worth the investment as a means of critical control to reduce the risk of cyber crime.
Get Started With ProWriters
As cyber attacks become more and more common, it’s not if, but a matter of when, your clients’ will be affected. A cyber liability policy is now an important part of all cyber security best practices and provides the necessary protection from these imminent threats.
For more information on how to protect your clients, download our FREE eBook, How to Sell Cyber: Big Claims in Ransomware & Social Engineering.
To learn more, contact a ProWriters expert today or call 484-321-2335 with any questions.