If you take a look at the surveys and reports from the last decade, you'll certainly see a growing trend. Almost all companies, regardless of industry, are very worried about their digital security. That's no surprise once you learn that U.S. companies experienced 1,244 data breaches that exposed 446.5 million records in 2018 alone. The danger of being attacked is always there: It's estimated that a hacker tries to break into a computer every 39 seconds on average.
That's why businesses have security at the top of their concerns, and why you should too. Considering the issue seriously is the first step in implementing a strong security strategy that keeps you protected.
Installing firewalls and antivirus software and hiring QA services to identify bugs in your systems isn't enough anymore. When it comes to cybersecurity, you need to bring your A-game. Here are five ways you can improve your business's cybersecurity.
1. Update and patch everything in your systems.
One of the most basic things you can do to limit the risks of an attack is to always use the latest versions of the software you have installed on your systems. That includes every application you use on desktop computers, laptops and mobile devices, as well as the operating system each one of them is running.
This seems like a simple task, yet things can get tricky if you have tailor-made software and/or the size of your digital environment is considerable. On one hand, customized software needs a specific development team to take care of it. That team needs to include QA development services in what it offers, as you'll need not just to add new features but also to patch up any bugs that might have been ignored or the ones that might appear when you develop an update.
On the other hand, the size of your digital environment matters because it might take considerable time to deploy updates for a large number of devices. Imagine that you have hundreds of devices with several applications each waiting to be updated. Your IT department needs to find the right time to apply the updates while staying on top of their other responsibilities.
2. Encrypt the data you handle.
All digital systems manage some sort of sensitive data. It might be information about your customers, your employees or your own business plans. That's why you need to take every measure you can to ensure that information is protected against malicious agents. That means that, aside from QA development, you'll also need help from cybersecurity experts to make sure all data is encrypted.
Why should you get specialized help if you can simply use one of the full-encryption tools already available in many operating systems? While it can't hurt for you to activate it, these solutions are broader and depend on a third-party provider to be updated. Thus, your data won't be as protected as if you decide to develop your own solution to fit the specific needs that arise from your workflow.
You can even consider using blockchain for your internal network since the digital ledger uses hash codes to encrypt every transaction that happens within its blocks.
3. Mount zero trust networks.
Since we're talking about secure networks, there's already a proven model that can help you increase the security of yours. We're talking about zero trust networks. These identify every network user and verify each device before granting any kind of access. The great thing about this kind of network is that it applies its security protocols regardless of the location the user is trying to access the system from.
Zero trust networks only allow authorized users to access the specific areas of the system that system administrators have granted them permission to use. This reduces the number of potential attacks while also giving you control to track and trace all attempts from unauthorized users, as well as all unusual activities and patterns that can help you identify malicious actions.
4. Keep tight control over your information transfer.
"Bring your own device" (BYOD) is a common practice that allows employees to use their personal devices for work. The goal behind this is to allow workers to do their daily tasks with devices they feel comfortable with. However, BYOD can end up being disastrous for companies, as those devices can contain login information, business documents and other sensitive data that could fall into the wrong hands if the device is lost, misplaced or stolen.
If you have a BYOD policy, it's up to you to keep an eye on that practice and ensure that any employee using it does so responsibly. You can increase your cybersecurity by moving your services to the cloud, so all the information is stored online and not kept in those devices. That way, you'd only have to worry about securing the login information rather than the whole ecosystem.
5. Teach your employees about secure practices.
All of the above steps aren't enough to secure your system. You can't expect cybersecurity software to take care of everything, especially because up to 90% of breaches are caused by human error. To ensure that your business is as protected as possible, you must train your employees in everything security-related.
Your training program has to be as comprehensive as possible. Don't assume that basic security tips and topics are common sense. Start with the essentials and build up from there. Also, be sure that all the people that use your company systems participate in the training, regardless of the positions they hold within your organization. It takes just one wrong habit to open a door that lets hackers into your system.
Finally, remember that this sort of training can't ever be considered finished. As new security features, tools and threats appear, you'll have to teach them to your staff. Of course, the first stages of the training will be the most thorough while the following stages will be more about updating your staff on specific topics and tasks.
You can't take the cybersecurity of your business lightly. One mistake can cost you dearly, both in terms of money and reputation. Fortunately, there are things you can do right now to improve the way you protect your systems. From working with a QA development firm to patch up your custom-made applications to adhering to new security practices for all your staff, you can improve your defenses.
All of the suggestions above might feel basic for security experts, but that's the whole point. These are the starting blocks for building better cybersecurity measures for your company. Once you've got these points covered, you should meet with an IT team to devise more sophisticated ways to increase your protection.