From ransomware attempts to aggressive digital supply chain attacks, the past year saw as classic hacking methods paired with extraordinary circumstances created a cybersecurity environment unlike ever before. Hacking activity against corporations more than doubled in the early months of 2020, according to Reuters. While this spike was fueled by several causes, digital attackers primarily capitalized on weakened security protocols related to an increase in work-from-home policies, a trend that shows no sign of slowing down.
Now, as more organizations permanently embrace fully remote or hybrid work environments, digital security should be at the forefront of every leader’s mind. Understanding and executing a layered cybersecurity policy that follows these top five best practices will be key to securing your company’s data and minimizing your risk.
1. Educate and engage employees
Did you know that 9 in every 10 breaches are related to human error, as found by researchers from Stanford? Your end users are simultaneously your biggest vulnerability as well as your first line of defense when it comes to maintaining the security of your corporate networks.
The key to helping employees understand the importance of cybersecurity is to make it an ongoing initiative. Rather than providing a yearly or quarterly session that’s quickly forgotten, follow up with more routine refreshers.
One popular method is to send out weekly tips on company emails. Keeping your network secure will take collaboration from the entire organization. Even if it’s just a single note on a weekly email, provide your team with reminders of how they can stay ahead of hackers. If your IT team has the bandwidth, you may also want to look into fake phishing attempts. These fictional attacks will help employees learn the signs of malicious email, and will also give you valuable information as to how many are still falling for them.
2. Create clear cyber policies
To help your end users follow best practices, it’s important to create clear rules on how they’re using their company devices or accessing secure data from personal ones.
Some helpful questions to guide your policies include:
- Who is allowed to use employees’ work devices? When work and home are no longer physically separated, the boundaries between the two can quickly become blurred. It may be wise to ensure employees are the only ones using their company devices, preventing partners, children or other family members from accidentally creating an issue.
- How often are passwords changed? Whether it’s monthly or quarterly, regularly updating login information is an essential piece of cybersecurity. Not only should employees be made aware that the date to change credentials is coming up, but you should also provide minimum criteria, like the length of the phrase and the inclusion of special characters.
- Can employees access company data via their personal network? If your organization hasn’t already, it’ll prove worthwhile to set up a virtual private network (VPN). Not only is it far more secure than public or personal Wi-Fi connections, but it can also help provide an extra layer of assurance that company data is only being seen by others on your team.
3. Automate software updates
While your end users play an important role in maintaining the security of your company network, technology will prove to be the most valuable investment in the long run. When software updates are left up to the individual, it’s likely that they’ll be pushed to the end of the work day or entirely forgotten, creating a significant risk for your organization.
By monitoring and automatically deploying patches as soon as they become available, you can minimize the threat of a security-related update going unnoticed and leaving a vulnerability open for a hacker to take advantage of. Look for a solution that gives your IT team a holistic view of all company devices to ensure no update goes unnoticed.
4. Leverage a solution to create an advanced firewall
Ransomware, where a hacker holds data “hostage” in exchange for a set amount of money, has become one of the most common forms of cyber attacks following the pandemic. While employee education and proactive software maintenance are key components of a proactive approach to cybersecurity, there’s still the potential for these more aggressive attacks to break through.
Partnering with a security expert who offers an advanced firewall can give you that extra layer of defense from viruses, worms and trojans. It’s important to remember that even the most advanced IT expert can get overwhelmed by the increasingly saturated security market. To simplify your search, look for solutions that isolate infected devices and only allow certain users to alter settings.
5. Deploy Deep Freeze technology
In even the most regulated security environments, mistakes happen. Viruses get through, and the employees who work from home are left scrambling to get in contact with IT as soon as possible. When the inevitable occurs, you need a last line of defense to ensure valuable data doesn’t get in the wrong hands.
Deep Freeze technology is the answer.
Deep Freeze technology empowers your employees to immediately correct any issues they run into with a single reboot. By resetting their device, employees will be able to return their computer to the desired state as set by administrators, removing any trace of the hack before it spreads and reaches your company’s sensitive data. This means there’s no delay in the return to day-to-day business activities, and IT experiences less of a strain as they won’t be managing as many support tickets.
If your team is ready to adopt a more centralized approach to cybersecurity that works for you, contact us today to learn why over 30,000 unique customers have entrusted Faronics to support their security systems.