Cyber security trends have evolved considerably over the past few years with companies more reliant than ever on technology and the internet. Remote work continues to be a focus for many businesses with cloud-based applications playing a key part in day-to-day operations.
As the virtual world evolves, cyber security has become an even greater concern for businesses and with cybercriminals becoming ever more sophisticated in their methods, many organisations struggle to stay ahead.
With research showing that 83% of SMEs are ill-equipped to recover from a cyber attack, and at a time when millions around the world are affected by such attacks, cyber security has never been more important.
In this article, we are going to share our top cyber security best practices for Irish businesses.
Cyber Security Best Practices
Monitor Third-Party Access
Most organisations will work on some level with third-party vendors, partners or contractors. The problem here is that a company is only as secure as its weakest link. While a business can monitor its own user access and can then action appropriate cyber security protocols, this becomes harder to do when the user in question is outside of company control.
It is unwise to assume that the third-party vendor is adhering to cyber security best practices. Instead, a thorough review of third-party access and security should be completed.
What data is exchanged between the business and third-party vendors? What policies and procedures do they have in place to protect this data? How and when are they connecting to the organisation’s network and what exactly are they doing with that access?
These are just some of the questions that need to be answered.
Invest in IT
Investing in IT infrastructure and support can help safeguard a business from a multitude of security risks. This will be the first line of defence and the best chance of salvation should the worst happen.
Those overseeing IT management must be trained and up to date with the latest information around cyber attacks or any other potential threat to the company. They need to be aware of the solutions to maintain a comprehensive edge against so many dangers.
For many companies, it makes more sense to work with a Managed IT Services Provider. Doing so ensures that they get the right set of skills needed without heavy investment in hardware or an in-house team. The IT service provider is also best placed to know the latest trends and the greatest innovations happening in the IT space.
Ensure all devices are encrypted
Encryption plays a vital role in keeping data safe from cyber threats. Companies need to regularly review device inventory and encryption processes to ensure everything is up to date with the latest technology.
Protecting devices with encryption software is an essential measure to protect against cyber attacks and minimises the risks of a data breach.
Enforce Multi-Factor Authentication
Another highly recommended means of improving the cyber security of an organisation is to enable and enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all applications.
This provides an added layer of security by requiring one or more forms of identification to access an account or network.
Multi-factor authentication solutions are relatively inexpensive and relatively easy to deploy. The use of MFA along with strong passwords will make it much more difficult for cybercriminals to attack and access sensitive data.
Business processes produce crucial data that supports the operations of a company and helps with important decision-making. That data, however, is at great risk, whether from a cyber attack, human error, hardware failure or the loss or theft of a device.
Having reliable backups is one of the most important controls that a company can have to prevent long-term damage following a data incident.
Many think that one backup source is enough, however, one alone is not sufficient protection for any organisation, large or small.
Data backups should be done regularly, they should be tested and those backups must be stored in multiple locations, outside of the hardware that the original data is held on. This means having local, cloud and offsite backups with a regular schedule to ensure the most up-to-date backups are available if needed.
Create a Disaster Recovery Plan
Backing up data alone does not equate to a fully-fledged Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP).
This is because a DRP is a complex detailing of how to keep data secure, which also provides recovery guidelines for the entire organisation.
We detailed the steps involved in creating a Disaster Recovery Plan in our other July article, but essentially the purpose of a DRP is to minimise interruptions to operations and limit the extent of disruption and damage.
Understanding how to rapidly respond to a cyber security incident is crucial for any business as it can mean the difference between the business collapsing or recovering.
Train staff in cyber security
95% of all cyber security breaches are caused by human error.
There may be many factors at play here, from technical inadequacies to inappropriate access controls or even negligence, but an overwhelming amount of these errors are caused by a simple lack of awareness.
Cyber security training is essential for all personnel with access to the network or company applications. Every employee must understand their roles and responsibilities and any other party with access privileges must be made aware of any policies and protocols in place.
Regular training to keep staff up to date on the latest threats, and what to look out for and avoid, enables an organisation to empower its employees to safeguard the business in the long term.
Your Cyber Security Solutions Provider
The risk of cyber attacks is constant and for companies, whether small or large, it is no longer a question of “if” it will happen but rather “when”.
Calnet IT Solutions is the perfect solution to protect against these ever-evolving threats. We are a complete IT solutions provider offering support with all of your business cyber security needs, from Managed IT Services to Backup and Disaster Recovery solutions and more.
Partnering your business with us means that you can rest easy knowing all of your cyber security needs are taken care of.
As a certified Microsoft Gold Partner, our reputation is built on our commitment to our customers and understanding their requirements.
Get in touch today to find out more about how our proactive, affordable and reliable services can help safeguard your business.