6 Ways To Reduce Cybersecurity Risk for Your Organisation
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Every ten minutes, an Australian small business is attacked by cybercriminals.
Data breaches, ransomware, malware, and social engineering are some of the most common threats Aussie businesses face every day.
Cybercriminals don’t always target big businesses.
In fact, 43% of cyberattacks target small to medium-sized businesses.
But the good news is that there are ways to protect your company against devastating cyber attacks.
So, if you’re wondering how to reduce cyber security risk, keep reading as we share below six practical steps you can implement today to protect your business against cyber incidents.
Encrypt Your Data and Create Backups
Encryption is an effective and critical security tool to protect your business and customer data. Regardless of your industry, chances are you store your clients’ information online, process credit card payments, or send emails to suppliers every now and then. And all of these digital activities make you vulnerable to data breaches.
The best way to protect sensitive data and information against cybercriminals is through encryption. When you encrypt your data, the only people who can access the data or information are the ones who hold the encryption key.
And the great thing with encryption software is that they’re constantly being updated to adapt to the ever-changing cybersecurity threat landscape. These days, encryption software not only makes your data impossible to read for hackers, but it can also notify you when someone unauthorised tries to access it.
In addition to encrypting your data, regularly back up your information. We’d suggest using the 3-2-1 rule, which recommends having at least three copies of your data stored on two different media. The last copy should be stored in an offsite location.
This will protect your data and business in case of a primary failure or malicious attack.
Train Your Employees Regularly
Phishing scams are the most common attacks against Australian businesses.
In fact, 90% of Australian organisations reported being targeted by phishing in 2021.
Phishing refers to the practice of sending a fraudulent email purporting to be from a well-known company to prompt the receiver to share sensitive information such as credit card details or even passwords. They can be difficult to detect for employees as they might seem completely legitimate.
Because these attacks are increasing, regularly training your employees to spot potentially fraudulent emails and other forms of digital communications is critical if you want to reduce cybersecurity risk and prevent data breaches.
Some other common cybersecurity threats affecting businesses include:
- Social engineering
To enhance your team’s cybersecurity awareness, teach them to spot the following signs:
- The sudden appearance of new programs or apps on their laptop or mobile phone
- The sudden loss of control of the mouse or keyboard
- Strange pop-ups appearing on their screen during startup or right before shutdown
- One of their devices slows down
- New extensions or tabs in the browser
Update Your Systems and Software Regularly
You’re working on something important, and you’re really getting into the flow. Suddenly, a pop-up appears asking you to update your software. You click “remind me later.”
Now, while you might have been more productive today by delaying your software updates, you might also have made yourself an easy target for cybercriminals.
Software and system updates are critical because they’re designed to fix bugs and patch security flaws. What’s more, software update notes usually highlight the patched-up exploitable entry points to the public, making the holes in your organisation public knowledge!
That’s why you should click the “update now” button every time it pops up. Regularly updating your software and systems will reduce the risk of cybercriminals exploiting your vulnerabilities.
These updates are considered a critical weapon in your arsenal of cyber security mitigation strategies, so use them to protect your business against attackers.
Use Strong Passwords
If you’re wondering how to reduce cyber security risk for your business, one of the easiest answers is: by using strong passwords.
After all, a whopping 81% of data breaches were made possible due to weak passwords!
Now, we know what you’re thinking.
With all the different devices and apps you have to use on a daily basis, it’s much more convenient to use a password that’s easy to remember for all of them. Like your kids’ birthday or the name of your first pet, followed by the year they were born. The problem with these kinds of passwords is that they’re easy to crack for hackers.
Password cracking technology is constantly improving, and simple passwords aren’t able to protect your data, computer, or systems efficiently anymore.
Here are some rules when it comes to creating a strong password:
- All of your passwords should contain at least eight characters.
- All passwords should contain alphanumeric characters.
- You should never include any personal information.
- They should be unique and have never been used before.
- None of the words they contain should be spelled correctly.
Also, make your password unique for each device, app, software, and system you need to access.
Lastly, when training your employee on cybersecurity threats and risks, discourage them from sharing the same password to access computers or systems.
Assess and Monitor Your Vendors
Did you know that 60% of all data breaches occur through third-party vendors?
And the thing is that it takes, on average, 311 days to detect and contain a data breach in Australia. That’s because cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated and can operate in stealth mode once inside your networks, systems, and computers. Also, unfortunately, some third-party vendors try to hide data breaches because they lacked proper cybersecurity protocols and controls in the first place. And this can be extremely costly for your business as it might prevent you from operating as usual and even destroy your reputation.
The fact that 6 out of 10 data breaches happen via third-party vendors really highlights the importance of assessing and monitoring your vendors to reduce cybersecurity risks.
That’s why cyber security prevention should be your focus when dealing with third-party suppliers.
Here are some of the risks you should focus on to reduce your third-party risk exposure:
- Cybersecurity Risk: Your vendors should be transparent and openly communicate their cyber risk management strategy and incident response strategies.
- Legal And Compliance Risk: You should always ensure that your vendors’ operations will not impact your compliance with agreements and regulations.
- Operational and Strategic Risk: Is your vendor a critical supplier that’s vital to your organisation? If the answer is yes, you need to ensure they won’t be disrupting your business if they ever experience a cyber incident. And they shouldn’t impact your ability to reach your company’s objectives either.
Invest In Cyber Insurance
The steps mentioned above are great strategies to add to your cyber attack prevention plan. However, cyber incidents could still happen even after devising a cyber risk management strategy to reduce cyber security risk.
As mentioned before, certain cyberattacks, such as data breaches, can be hard to detect and contain.
That’s why you should incorporate cyber insurance into your cyber security mitigation strategies.
Our cyber & privacy liability insurance is designed to protect small business owners like you against a range of cyber threats and ensure a fast and smooth recovery should you experience a cyber attack.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s covered under our cyber & privacy liability insurance:
- Cyber incident response
- Cyber extortion
- Data and application restoration costs
- Cyber crime
- Business interruption
If that sounds like what you need, don’t hesitate to give us a call or jump on our instant quote generator. We’d be happy to help you get insured within minutes!