How Cyber-Secure Is Your Business?

How Cyber-Secure Is Your Business?

People aren’t the only organisms vulnerable to viruses! How well do you ensure the immunity of your software and business from cyber threats? Take our FREE cyber security test to find out.

1/15. Which statement best describes your business and domain?

Unfortunately, enterprise businesses are more likely to become the victim of malicious actors than a mid-size or small business. Big global companies possess terabytes of sensitive data that can be stolen and used to jeopardize their reputation. Ransomware attacks constantly target huge financial structures to steal incalculable amounts of money. Cryptojacking malware crawls unnoticed into the computers of multinational corporations slowing down or even crashing their vital systems.

And many more other cyber threats loom large; the Internet truly is the modern-day version of the American Wild-Wild West. And the bigger the company, the more vulnerabilities may be hiding in their gigantic computer networks.

2/15. What is your organization’s password policy?

Strong and secure passwords are crucial. But even the strongest password, if used to access all your accounts, places all your data at risk. Once a password leak takes place, hackers can immediately access anything you use. Even changing a super-strong password on a frequent basis is an insufficient solution that won’t save you from cyber attacks.

The best way to manage passwords for your various accounts and subscriptions, without the risk of forgetting them and the hassle of inventing the new ones, is to use a special piece of software, the password manager. Even if you are a family-owned, small business. It safeguards your existing login credentials and can generate new random usernames, passwords, and passphrases for all your websites and accounts.

You can increase the security level even more by creating and using passphrases, or a single passphrase to access your password manager, thus adding another level of safety. Much longer than passwords, a passphrase may include any characters the users like (spaces as well), and can be easily memorized.

If you worry that the password manager is a piece of software that can also be hacked, you can rest assured knowing that the primary job of this software is to store and encrypt your data so it will be secure. This is much safer than writing your credentials down on a piece of paper someone else can read, or you can lose.

Applying the two-factor authentication procedure will also help you secure particularly sensitive information such as financial or identification data. A good example is a software that allows you to set the system to send a one-time code to a linked device that can only be opened by the user, and only if the correct login credentials are provided.

3/15. How do you limit outside (remote) access to the company’s computer systems and data?

With malicious practices continuously evolving and becoming ever more sophisticated, merely setting up a security perimeter is an insufficient approach to cyber security.

The “assumed breach” model is currently the most reliable means. This model is based on the presumption that a user’s account has been compromised, so how do you protect your corporate data from cyber threats at this stage?

That’s when multi-layered security and limited access rights (role-based user access control) come into play. This will slow down cybercriminals, forcing them to spend time attempting to work around your defense system, while giving you extra time to locate and mitigate the breach at an early stage.

Endpoint security software is an even greater enhancement that encrypts data and controls applications on any devices that connect to the corporate network, including personal mobile phones.

4/15. How do you ensure security awareness among your employees?

Lack of employee cyber security training is a 100% guarantee that your computer systems will be hacked. In recent years, human interaction has been one of the top channels used by cyber criminals to execute data breaches.

Secure password policy, handling the crafty social engineering campaigns, the dangers of BYOD (bring your own device) and working from home practices, the potential consequences of using untrusted software and information resources — these are the cyber security essentials that any employee in your company should be aware of.

Big enterprises and mid-sized companies practice conducting cyber security courses for their staff. For a small business, involving a consultant can bring several security benefits at a time.

5/15. How do you manage access to the physical security perimeter in your company?

Creating an atmosphere of trust and respect between the company and its team members is a good approach, but when it comes to your cyber security — it’s better to be safe than sorry. You never know when or how your computer systems and data security could be compromised.

The more information you possess regarding employee and guest attendance at your offices, the more effectively you can deal with security issues. Additionally, admission control systems with vast functionality will keep your company safe from unwanted visitors.

6/15. What is your company’s preferable way of storing data?

Cloud vendors keep trying to outrun each other claiming that their data storage services are the safest. Hardware manufacturers and distributors go on arguing that nothing can be safer than keeping data close to your chest with on-premises servers that you own and that no one but you can physically access.

In fact, the truth is that as soon as security is compromised — whether inside your company or within your cloud vendor’s system — all of your data is immediately at risk. Encryption is one of the important steps to take if you want to ensure data safety in any cyber attack scenario.

7/15. How do you treat customer info that you possess?

Cyber security experts strongly advise businesses not to collect and store any customer information they don’t need or render it anonymized/unrecognizable. This makes your systems less interesting for cybercriminals to carry out a data breach.

Access restrictions on sensitive data are also a must. Only trusted and well-trained employees can be admitted and allowed to view and modify information to avoid possible data leaks. This is key to protect your company’s good name.

Finally, let’s assume your computer systems have suffered a security breach despite your best efforts at ensuring safety. This is why you want to have a plan B, i.e.: data encryption or/and anonymization. These precautions can save your business from a disaster.

8/15. Do you check third-party software or software components before installing and using?

Preferring trusted, reliable resources of software and software components over unknown ones is a great first step toward computer system safety. The unknowns are usually offered for free with no strings attached. You risk facing some serious cyber threats by using any such software as they very well may embed hidden malware, contain XSS vulnerability, or request users’ secret information including passwords, document ID numbers and so on.

Despite being trouble-proof, software and components from trusted resources still need to be checked. To make software work for your company safely, all security settings should be reviewed and adjusted to your system’s custom requirements.

9/15. What rules of email and message exchange apply at your company?

Email and messaging encryption has become one of the best security practices for both corporate and private users. It helps you avoid such cyber attacks as data leaks and conversation monitoring.

But email clients and messengers are also used by malicious actors as tools for phishing — a social engineering practice of sending fake messages to trick people into clicking on malicious links by means of psychological influence. Safe senders lists that only allow your employees to open messages from confirmed contacts serve as a great supplement for employee cyber security awareness training.

10/15. How is your company protected against ransomware attacks?

Ransomware attacks are continuously being listed among the top cyber threats of this year. Using malware, hackers can cause your entire computer system, certain vital applications, or database to deny access until a ransom is paid. Their strategies keep evolving and no one is 100% safe from an attack.

Keeping this fact in mind, cyber security professionals insist that frequent data back-ups and a disaster recovery plan should be your ace in the hole to minimize the consequences of a ransomware attack. Not only can this measure save you money and spare you a whole lot of stress, it will also prevent delays in operations and workflow.

11/15. How often do you update your company software?

Periodically, software updates become a pain in the neck for all of us. They make us free up the storage on our devices, can slow down the system (especially if the hardware is out of date), and give rise to worries about the reliability of the updating process.

In fact, updating your software and installing patches is key to keeping your systems safe from cyber attacks. Outdated versions can contain security bugs and known vulnerabilities that have been fixed in the new versions. That’s why it is far better to update your systems as soon as patches are available and before cybercriminals get to exploit the security weaknesses in dated software.

12/15. Do you use any IoT devices at your company? (e.g. smart plugs, lightbulbs, app-managed AC, etc.) 

The Internet of Things has gained tremendous popularity over the last decade. Smart devices can connect to the network, our mobile devices, and desktops, collecting all kinds of data to help us optimize our lives. Initially, these innovations seem really handy.

But along with the benefits come considerable downsides. Most connected devices have their own embedded software complete with a plethora of undiscovered system weaknesses. This creates vulnerabilities for the entire  IoT network.

Moreover, for the devices that are constantly connected to a power supply, cyber attacks on the electrical grid also pose a threat.

13/15. Does your company strive to adhere to cyber security compliance requirements?

Did you know that mid-size and small businesses are now attracting more and more attention from cybercriminals? Wonder why?

Quite often, small business owners don’t consider cyber security a priority and fail to make the necessary allocations in their budgets. Unfortunately, cyber attackers know this. Penny-wise, but pound-foolish. Cyber security rules and regulations may be tough to keep up with as the information technology and computer industries continue to develop at the current pace. But these rules exist for good reason.

Cyber security directives foster the adoption of necessary measures by businesses for the sake of their own, and global, safety. The process of adjusting your corporate policies, rules, and operations will be complicated and costly, but these expenditures can save your business and reputation.

14/15. Who is responsible for information security and cyber security at your company?

According to recent information from the enterprise security information agency, the business world is facing a serious shortage of cyber security professionals. 

This, in turn, spurs the activity of cyber criminals who take advantage of the situation. The lack of an in-house expert who is focused solely on cyber security reflects negatively on your business and indicates that you don’t take your customers’ privacy seriously enough. 

Having an IT department that handles all the computer-related issues at your company is a good beginning. However, you need field-specific expertise if you want to up the ante on your cyber security and have peace of mind.

15/15. Do you carry out penetration testing in your company?

Penetration testing, ethical or “white hat” hacking are the kinds of cyber security services you should have in place if you care for your corporate cyber safety. 

Even if everything looks perfectly fine and you feel there’s nothing to worry about, regular security assessments are mandatory for big, mid-size and small businesses. Just the same as regular medical checkups are a must to maintain the health of your body. 

The pen-testing services include various methods of proof-testing your computer systems against possible cyber attacks and data breaches, identifying known software vulnerabilities, finding out the level of your employees’ cyber security awareness, making sure the company is compliant with cyber security regulations, checking the organization’s readiness to cope with security incidents and other related issues. 

Cyber security experts advise companies to conduct not only the mandatory regular security tests, assessments, and audits, but additional ones whenever changes are made in security operations and policies, network infrastructure, or when you start using new corporate applications. 

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