6 Effective Cybersecurity Risk Mitigation Strategies
With cybersecurity threats as abundant as ever, businesses need to find ways to mitigate their cybersecurity risk. Cutting your company off from the internet simply isn’t an option now as nearly every business relies on cloud-based tools to operate. What are some effective cybersecurity risk mitigation strategies that you can employ without hampering your productivity? Here are some recommended strategies from cybersecurity consulting experts.
1. Use AI to Bolster Your Defenses
Artificial intelligence can make it much more difficult for cyber criminals to break into your systems and steal your data. AI cybersecurity tools use machine learning to identify regular patterns of behavior on your network and file system. Once the AI software knows how your team regularly interacts with company systems, it can spot deviations from the norm and potentially catch intrusions before any real damage has been done. These tools run automatically in the background 24/7 for maximum security.
AI can also automate important cybersecurity tasks like updating programs and computers with the latest security patches. In order for these tools to work, they need to have access to your whole network and file system. In many cases, they can be run from a central server, if you have one, or you can run them from the cloud using cloud computing services. Cybersecurity consulting services can help you set up these tools within your company’s environment.
2. Control Access to Your Accounts
Even though there are many new cybersecurity risks to be aware of, the majority of data breaches and cybersecurity incidents still happen because of a tried and true method: phishing. Phishing attacks deceive people into giving up their username and password, allowing the attacker to gain access to your system. Most phishing attacks use convincing emails that look like they came from Microsoft or Google but in reality, will send information to a criminal’s private server.
The best deterrent is to have robust account security. If your company relies on Microsoft 365, GSuite, or any other cloud-based system, it’s imperative that you enable two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA will require a second form of verification when someone logs in from a new device. For high-level individuals who have company-wide access, you may even want to consider physical security keys that plug into a USB port to validate logins. Finally, consider regular password changes and never reuse passwords.
3. Ensure Your Associates’ Devices Are Secure
Cybersecurity used to be simpler when everyone had to come to the office, use a company computer, and return home without any company data. However, in today’s hybrid work environments and with many people using personal devices for work purposes, it’s much more difficult to control where your data can be accessed. This flexibility boosts productivity, but it requires a careful approach to avoid cybersecurity incidents. How can you balance your associates’ needs with your cybersecurity demands?
If you allow team members to bring their own computers, create a separate user account for work purposes on the device and have your IT team configure it to avoid dangerous installations. For remote work, only allow associates to access data in the cloud. Saving local copies could lead to accidental data leaks if a device is lost or stolen. For maximum security, consider providing company devices to your team with proper security protocols preconfigured.
4. Train Your Team to Recognize Threats
A recent Stanford study estimated that nearly 90% of data breaches could be attributed to human error. In most cases, these errors are genuine accidents, and only rarely are they malicious actions by a disgruntled worker. However, these errors can be prevented with proper training. Can your team identify a fake company email? Do your associates know which file types are most likely to contain malware? Educating your team on cybersecurity risks can minimize the chances of a serious incident.
Enrolling your associates in a security awareness program is a great way to start building your collective cybersecurity capacity. Through classes, quizzes, and realistic simulations, your team can get a clearer understanding of cybersecurity risks and how to mitigate them in their daily activities. In addition, a secure team makes your company more trustworthy to clients and can even be required for compliance with data privacy laws. Your staff is your last line of cyber defense, make sure they’re prepared.
5. Have a Response Plan and Practice
Once a data breach or malware infestation has started, your cybersecurity risk grows with each passing moment. With fast action, it’s possible to neutralize a threat and limit damage or even prevent data loss and theft entirely. However, your associates cannot act quickly without a response plan. Your plan needs to outline what actions to take to limit damage, and it must establish a clear chain of command so that individuals know whom to report to if an incident occurs.
After drafting and approving a plan, share it with your team. Everyone has to know how to respond to a cybersecurity incident regardless of their position in the company. Next, practice your plan. Running cybersecurity drills is vital if you want your team to respond quickly and correctly if a disaster strikes. Just as you have to perform tornado or fire drills, you need to test your team’s readiness for a cybersecurity situation.
6. Personalize Your Protection With Cybersecurity Consulting Services
Even though we all face similar cybersecurity concerns, the right combination of strategies and protection methods varies from one business to the next. A large retailer needs to keep its thousands or millions of clients’ records secure. Meanwhile, a new startup may need to protect innovative intellectual property. A service provider may have to contend with DDoS attacks. Cybersecurity best practices are excellent guidelines, but every company needs to develop their own cybersecurity practices to address their unique needs.
For best results, meet with an experienced cybersecurity consulting company that can help you build the perfect plan for your business. Contact Edafio to learn how we can help your company mitigate cybersecurity risks and build a security culture for years to come.