Cyber risk never ends and is an ever-present part of business. No matter what industry you're in, you likely rely on computers and internet software to help run your business. However, that, unfortunately, opens your business to this risk, as cybercriminals have become increasingly sophisticated. Some have been able to hack high-profile companies, exposing confidential company secrets and financial information, or disrupt entire cities or industries, like the 2019 Baltimore Ransomware Attack or the recent Colonial Pipeline Ransomware attack.
Integrating cybersecurity into your business practices and policies can increase your overall efficiency while helping you stay safe. Cybercriminals are not going away, and you need to put the systems in place to ensure you're prepared for this threat. Ignoring them only puts your business at risk.
Cyber Threats are a Business Risk You Must Accept
Taking basic measures to protect your business, your assets, and your employees is crucial to remove most of the cyber threat risk you face. Waiting until after a breach is too late to assess your threats, and it will save you a lot of time and trouble by being proactive about these issues. Your company's vulnerabilities will be easy prey for a cybercriminal, but as of now, they largely rely on companies being unaware of the threats they face. Taking even the most rudimentary steps goes a long way to reduce and eliminate threats before they occur so that you can protect your company and your employees.
Determining your company's risk level requires analyzing your systems. Being proactive and assessing threats before a breach helps you determine where your vulnerabilities are so you can put relevant protective measures in place. Software or vendors can assist with cyber threats as they occur to respond to breaches, but it's a better investment to work to reduce the threat risk altogether. Keeping your systems and security updated keeps you safe from the growing ingenuity of cybercriminals. That way, even if a breach occurs, you'll be better suited to avoid catastrophic incidences. Installing a firewall on your network and antivirus on your computers, training your employees to spot tricks used by cybercriminals, ensuring you have a good backup system in place, and investing in cyber insurance puts your business in more of a defensive position and mitigates your exposure.
Control Your Data and Privacy
To control your company's data, you must first understand how you store your data. Depending on the industry your company operates in, you may have data that includes:
- Confidential employee files
- Private client financial information
- Proprietary industry information
Your business needs to protect all of this data. Your business information, if leaked, could provide your competitors with an advantage. If a client's credit card information is leaked, you may lose that client along with many others who no longer trust your company to keep their confidential information secure. If your employees have their bank account information leaked, it not only causes serious problems for them but erodes their trust in your company.
Building your company's systems with security in mind helps you develop the policies and practices that can help keep your information secure. It can lower the risk of cybercriminals getting access to your information.
Maintaining the integrity of your internal data is an ongoing process but partnering with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) reduces some of the burden on your end. Many PEO's offer cloud-based software that allows clients to securely upload sensitive employee data so that it is not on someone's desk, in a file cabinet, or in an unsecured network folder. Some of the other advantages you gain are that you can reduce your digital footprint on your internal systems, gain greater access control through security settings for user access to data, recover quicker if a computer or server goes down, and have remote access if you need to work from a location outside or your office. Your data will be consolidated away from your internal systems, which provides you with a system backup in case an incident occurs.
Instill Cyber Vigilance Into Your Culture
Your employees are the first line of defense in your cybersecurity plan. Training your employees on proper data retention policies to securely store sensitive documents is vital to keeping your company's data secure and out of the hands of cybercriminals.
One of the most common ways criminals target companies is through email. Phishing emails are one of the simplest and most frequent attacks on a company. These occur when employees receive an email that appears to be from their boss, asking them for urgent help on an item. However, if the employee clicks a link in the email, it only gives cybercriminals access to your company's sensitive information.
While it's an innocent mistake, it can be a costly and embarrassing one. That's why it's crucial to train employees to be on the lookout for these. Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated. While they're capable of mimicking names, they cannot mimic actual human speech. Training your employees to trust their instinct if an email feels off, then reaching out to the person by other channels increases your business's security. Further discussing with your team the importance of ensuring all attachments they open, and links they click are from trusted sources can go a long way to ensuring your business assets are protected.
It's vital to enact policies and procedures that give your employees a roadmap to help keep your business secure. A PEO can help your company create these cybersecurity policies by reviewing and assessing your risks. Your PEO can also help train your employees on best practices to minimize the innocent mistakes that can put your company at risk. Together with your PEO, you can provide the tools your team needs to keep your company safe.
Cybersecurity is an essential part of every employee's daily activities. By stressing the importance of vigilance, you can train your employees to help in your proactive goal of keeping your company secure. If the company is at risk, their jobs are at risk, so everyone shares this duty.
You Should Not Ignore Cyber Threats
Cybersecurity takes many forms, ranging from software to warn of potential threats to cyber insurance to help your company respond in case of a breach, as well as diligent employees watching out for suspicious activity.
Cybersecurity can also include a trusted PEO partner. Reacting to a cyber threat is necessary, but prevention is often overlooked. Your PEO partner can assist in developing internal policies and training plans for your employees to help strengthen your cybersecurity systems. Investing in cyber insurance also provides your company with a cyber shield, and just like any other type of business insurance, you have it with the hope that you never need to use it.
Your best-case scenario is never hearing about cybersecurity issues in your system since that means your precautions are working as intended. However, no protective measures fully guarantee your security, which is why cyber insurance is an added layer of defense. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.