8 Simple Steps to Keep Your IT Systems and Company Data Secure

Invincible data security is a must today. For any business, it’s an area we can’t just overlook. 

The risk is high, leaning on catastrophic. In fact, companies lost about $3.86 million on average per data breach in 2020. 

Here, we present eight ways for you to build an iron-clad defense against sneaky cyber threats.

1. Conduct Regular Security Audits

You should always do security audits. These help pinpoint weak spots in your IT systems. By conducting this often, you’ll spot the flaws early. The 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report from Verizon noted 45% of breaches involved hacking. Hence, why regular security audits aren’t optional.

Here’s how you do a detailed security audit.

  • Define the scope first. Which IT system parts should you audit?
  • Seek out possible threats, within and outside.
  • Dig deep: what protective measures are in place?
  • Gauge how effective your systems and measures are.
  • Highlight the parts needing quick fixes.
  • Create a plan to fix the weaknesses you found.
  • Act proactively to implement your new plan.

2. Implement Strong Password Policies

Creating a strong password is crucial. It’s your first defense. These passwords are the key to your castle, your precious company data. 

Yet, 81% of breaching incidents involved either stolen or weak passwords.

Here are some tips for creating strong passwords.

  • Mix things up. Apply both uppercase and lowercase letters.
  • Add a twist. Marry letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Avoid using personal details or common dictionary words.
  • Emphasize length. Today, less than 12 characters aren’t enough.

3. Utilize Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA lowers the odds for hackers. It checks identities using more than just one way, like a door with three locks. 

Forrester Research found that MFA could have stopped about 80% of breaches. That’s a big number, highlighting MFA’s power.

Various types of MFA include.

  • Knowledge-based factors: This is what only the user knows – passwords, PINs, or answers to security questions.
  • Possession-based factors: This is what the user has. It can be a physical thing, like smart cards, or virtual, like mobile tokens. For a hacker to get in, they’d need to physically have this item.
  • Biometrics: This is who the user is. Things like fingerprints, voice patterns, or face recognition. Biometric data is too hard to fake, lifting security levels much higher.

Relying only on passwords to protect data is old news, hence, the need for tougher measures. MFA requires users to provide more than one piece of evidence to prove their identity. This makes it very hard for intruders to break in.

4. Backup and Disaster Recovery Planning

Sadly, 6 out of 10 businesses that lose their data will close within half a year of the disaster.

Always be ready for the worst. Frequent data backups and solid recovery plans can save you from disaster. 

Consider these backup and planning practices:

  • Use cloud-based backups so you can get your data anytime.
  • Keep on-site storage for fast recovery.
  • Regularly test your backup systems to see if they work.
  • Create, review, and test your disaster recovery plan often.

5. Regular Software Updates and Patch Management

Updates aren’t a maybe – they’re a must. They guard against security breaches. Every update also brings better security. But, most breach victims ignored updates that could have shielded them.

Keep these points in mind about updates and patches:

  • Software updates hold security boosts and bug removal.
  • Patches mend weak areas in the software.
  • Always keep your software updated to stay safer.

6. Employee Awareness and Training

People can be the weakest link. 

A high 82% of data breaches relate to human error. This shows that employees matter a lot in a company’s cybersecurity.

Training for employees should not be an entrance checklist or an annual nuisance. It should be deeply woven into the company’s culture. Here are ways to foster a cybersecurity culture:

7. Frequent security training and awareness programs

Hosting regular security training and awareness programs creates a vigilant and knowledgeable team. These programs ought to cover a range of topics such as recognizing phishing attacks, creating secure passwords, and spotting suspicious conduct. It’s crucial for this to keep evolving to keep up with the ever-changing threats in cybersecurity.

Frequent Security Training and Awareness Programs

Hosting regular security training and awareness programs creates a vigilant and knowledgeable team. These programs ought to cover a range of topics such as recognizing phishing attacks, creating secure passwords, and spotting suspicious conduct. It’s crucial for this to keep evolving to keep up with the ever-changing threats in cybersecurity.

Simple Yet Comprehensive Security Policies

Drafting security policies that are comprehensive but easy to understand is key. Complex terminology and instructions will only confuse. Keep policies clear about the do’s, don’ts, and consequences if they’re breached. Ensure all employees understand these policies and what they mean for their daily duties.

Encourage an Open Reporting Culture

Create a place where employees can voice their security concerns freely. This helps spot potential threats early. An open work culture lets employees report irregularities fearlessly, ensuring swift responses to threats. Remember, it’s better to catch security irritations before they explode.

8. Implement Physical Security Measures

Physical safety is equally important. CCTV cameras and limited access zones can halt unsanctioned entry. A study noted a 25% drop in on-site crimes after setting up surveillance cameras.

Perks of surveillance cameras:

  • They discourage folks from sneaking into no-go zones.
  • They help keep an eye on sensitive areas to snub unsanctioned entry.
  • They provide proofs to aid in checking any security mishaps.

Final Thoughts

With these seven practices at your disposal, you’re equipped to safeguard your firm’s precious data. Heed this age-old advice: “Stopping bad things is better than fixing them later”. Defend your data now for a safer future.

8 Simple Steps to Keep Your IT Systems and Company Data Secure was last updated August 18th, 2023 by Emma Willaims