5 Essential tips for keeping your business safe from cyberattacks

No matter the size and scope of your organization, you can never be too careful when it comes to cybersecurity. IT hardware and software are evolving at a breakneck pace, and so are the cyberattacks that exploit them, which makes proactive cybersecurity strategies more important than ever. There are now more ways for your business to be attacked than ever before, and hackers are targeting systems old and new to exploit vulnerabilities that no one had ever even thought of.

Antivirus software isn’t nearly enough to keep you safe anymore. You need a long-term security plan that will protect you from phishing scams, ransomware, and advanced persistent threats for years to come.

In this week’s post, we’ve compiled five tips to help you keep cybercriminals at bay:

#1. Use multiple layers of security

The problem with relying solely on antivirus software is that it’s reactive in nature — it only comes into play once a computer has already been infected. Furthermore, signature-based detection only works on malware that has been dissected and cataloged. Your business could always fall victim to a virus no one has seen before.

Antivirus remains essential as a last resort, but proactive cybersecurity measures are at least as important. These include multiple layers of security, such as 24/7 monitoring and intrusion detection and prevention.

#2. Keep your systems updated

Hardware and software manufacturers support their products for a limited amount of time before neglecting updates in favor of a newer release. For example, Microsoft provides several years of extended support after a Windows edition stops being sold. Once support expires, however, there won’t be any more security updates released for that software, which leaves it vulnerable to hackers.

Every business should have a patch-management system that routinely keeps all operating systems, firmware, and apps up to date. One thing that’s frequently overlooked is the importance of updating router firmware to patch security issues like the KRACK attack on wireless networks.

#3. Train your staff

Technology will go a long way to protecting your organization, but it’s not enough by itself. At the root of most security breaches is human error, which shouldn’t come as a big surprise given the ubiquity of social engineering scams and the fact that victims are routinely duped into giving away private information without a fight.

The only effective way to keep your business safe is to implement the right mix of administrative, technological, and physical security measures. Your entire strategy needs to be enabled and empowered by employees who know what they’re doing. That’s why ongoing security awareness training is a critical component of any cybersecurity strategy.

#4. Enforce strong password policies

Most Americans still haven’t gotten out of the habit of using short, easy-to-remember passwords for things like online accounts that routinely contain sensitive information. Many don’t even PIN-protect their smartphones, despite the fact that their inboxes contain extremely sensitive information. At the same time, a lot of technology providers make little or no effort to enforce strong password policies.

It’s up to you to outline your password policies and ensure you have ways to enforce them. For example, employees should never be able to access your corporate systems without a suitably strong password. Finally, people should be required to verify their identities using multifactor authentication every time they log in from a new network or device.

#5. Migrate to the cloud

When you’re tasked with looking after your own computing infrastructure, you need to have the in-house expertise required to maintain everything and safeguard it from any external (and internal) threats. You’re also going to need 24-hour digital security. After all, hackers don’t exactly stick to a 9-till-5 schedule.

Although the cloud does introduce its own set of security concerns and challenges, it does provide the opportunity to outsource everything. By partnering with a reputable cloud provider, you can outsource your technology and the cybersecurity concerns that go with it.

Hudson Valley IT Services helps protect businesses in Middletown, Newburgh, and Poughkeepsie from an increasingly complex array of security threats. Send us a message today if you’re ready to put your cybersecurity concerns to rest for good.

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