Today’s businesses rely on computer systems and connectivity for almost all aspects of their operations. In turn, technology helps companies serve more customers, make better decisions, and work efficiently. Without computers and networks, most modern companies could not even operate in today’s competitive environment.
At the same time, dependence upon computer systems can expose organizations to serious vulnerabilities. As an example, the FCC reported that digital theft has surpassed physical theft as the most common kind of fraud against businesses. With so much at risk, leadership on cybersecurity planning must come from the top.
Five Essential Cyber Security Steps for Business Leaders
While digital attacks against large corporations tend to make the news, Security Magazine reported that 15 percent of small businesses experienced a cyber threat during 2019. From small businesses to global enterprises, business leaders should never overlook these five critical steps for cyber security planning.
1. Understand the Urgency of Implementing a Cyber Security Plan
The FBI reported receiving over 4,000 cyberattack complaints each and every day in 2020. On the other hand, Microsoft recorded five times that number on their own. Reported to law enforcement or not, computer systems all over the United States experience thousands of threats each day.
In particular, the increase in remote work during the pandemic has provided even more tempting business targets for digital criminals. Instead of logging in from a secure network at the office, millions of employees now access their company’s systems remotely through commercial Wi-Fi or mobile networks. This ability to work anywhere has plenty of benefits, but it also introduces more targets to hackers.
2. Deploy and Maintain Security and Backup Software
As a start, organizations need to deploy security and antivirus software to protect devices, networks, and internet connections. They should also provide software and enforce using it for employees who work with their own devices. Also, a firewall-protected and private VPN can give remote workers safe access from anywhere. Just as important, companies must make certain that all updates to software get applied promptly to ensure protection against the latest threats.
Along with software protection, businesses must have an automated, tested backup and recovery plan in place. In the event of a digital or physical threat to computers and networks, the recovery system can ensure critical systems come back online promptly.
3. Ensure an Effective Cyber Security Plan Extends Beyond IT
Successful attacks don’t always require sophisticated hacking software and in many cases, don’t even occur entirely online. As an example, hackers often rely on social engineering and phishing scams to gain login credentials or other personal information.
As an example, a teenager successfully hacked into the accounts of such celebrities as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and even President Obama. With that access, he convinced Twitter followers to send bitcoin to his account. He used a combination of online phishing and even social engineering via phone calls to gain access to these accounts.
Every employee needs training to learn to spot and avoid a similar scam. Without it, even the most sophisticated security software can never ensure protection.
4. Resolve to Act Proactively and Not Reactively
All businesses should approach their cybersecurity plan with the idea that they cannot afford to suffer a digital attack. Besides having to absorb the cost of system downtime or corrupted assets, organizations may suffer most by losing the trust of customers. Even more, these businesses may get penalized with government fines for failing to comply with regulations or breaching promises to keep data secure to the public.
5. Prepare with a Top Cyber Security Course
Of course, it’s one thing to outline essential security steps and another matter entirely to implement the kind of sophisticated, effective security measures that modern businesses require. In this hazardous climate, business leaders must not only learn to identify and manage security risks, they also have to spread that task through their entire organization.
There is an online cyber security course that’s geared to both executives and security specialists. Not only can professionals understand how to fill their cyber security leadership roles, they will even know how to develop a budget to realistically fund these efforts.
Why is Cyber Security Leadership Critical Today?
Senior executives and other business leaders have understood the threat of digital attacks for many years. Still, many companies failed to protect themselves well because knowing a threat exists doesn’t automatically help develop effective plans to combat it.
Both executives and security specialists must constantly educate themselves to face evolving threats. In turn, they should use their knowledge to ensure every employee understands how to do their part and of course, why it’s so important.
Working as a cyber security solutions architect, Alisa focuses on application and network security. Before joining us she held a cyber security researcher positions within a variety of cyber security start-ups. She also experience in different industry domains like finance, healthcare and consumer products.