According to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), the United Kingdom lost GBP£2.4 billion in 2021 to cybercrimes. Worldwide, the cost of cybercrimes is expected to grow by around 15% annually; by the time 2025 rolls around, the total global cost will be about GBP£8 trillion. Cybercrime could be more profitable than any other criminal enterprise, including illegal drugs with that price tag. That is unless something is done.
The INTERPOL may have a beefed-up cybercrimes division, but the authorities could only do so much. At the end of the day, it’s up to people and organisations to adopt sensible cybersecurity practices to fight off this threat.
Best Cybersecurity Practices For Enterprise Companies
As mentioned, cybercrimes can do considerable damage to an enterprise. Intellectual property theft, data breaches, fraud, and damage to your organisation’s reputation are just some of the damages cybercrimes can cause. Keep in mind that cybercriminals target everybody that are vulnerable. Whether education, government, industrial, or healthcare, no sectors are safe.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself and your organisation from hackers. Below are a few practices you can adopt to avoid becoming a cybercrime statistic:
1. Establish Your Business’s Security Parameters
First, take an inventory of all the devices connected to your data. Your hardware, software, and all third-party apps should be up to date and secure. Moreover, unused software should be uninstalled and deleted. Old hardware that’s no longer doing anything should also be disconnected from your system and discarded. While an app made obsolete because you’ve upgraded should also be removed from your system. Lastly, you should constantly update your antivirus and antimalware software.
Access to your data should only be done through secure methods, using new generation devices and updated programs. You should also take into account your data’s location––whether the data is stored in the cloud, on-premise, or both. The system that administers and controls access to your data should be top-notch and well worth your investment.
Limiting the ways your data can be accessed means fewer ways for hackers to access them. Similarly, having a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for your network is also a big boon for your security.
2. Consider Using Enterprise Architecture
Enterprise Architecture (EA) can provide a blueprint for organisations to standardise technology infrastructure to correspond and be in line with business goals. EA helps an organisation in its digital transformation and modernisation. This framework can help your business expand its online presence or set up your own IT department. Moreover, it can guide an organisation in planning and implementing cybersecurity measures.
EA can help direct the staff on using new hardware and software effectively. The framework is an effective tool to help your organisation achieve its immediate and future goals. Besides, having too many cybersecurity tools can make cybersecurity clumsy and confusing. Thus, having a unified program can simplify your security efforts, making them more efficient.
Implementing many tools can be expensive; it can also cause unnecessary complications. Instead, consider a comprehensive solution that has the necessary functionalities. With an EA, you can streamline your cybersecurity infrastructure and avoid spreading your resources too thin.
3. Educate Your Personnel About Data Security
Ensure your employees are properly trained for handling sensitive information. Conduct training sessions and seminars on how data breaches happen and how to avoid falling victim to social engineering, phishing, scam ware, and other cybercriminals’ tricks.
Also, make your employees aware of the importance of using secure passwords. You can also implement a two-factor authentication system as added security when accessing sensitive information. Furthermore, your data could be more secure if you install an internal network that’s not directly accessible from the Internet.
Besides that, advise your IT staff to establish an internal email gateway. This protocol will help prevent your personnel from falling victim to phishing and other scams. You could also consider using a key card system to access company property.
Once these security measures are implemented, schedule routine security audits to ensure that the system is functional.
4. Have Backups
Murphy’s Law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. A wise leader will take this dictum to heart; after all, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
Sometimes, a fully updated and upgraded system can suffer data breaches or accidents that could result in downtimes. Having a protocol in place in such an event can allow your team to deal with the problem quickly. With a backup, you can recover any data loss and deal with any issues that are causing trouble.
Preventing attacks is vital, but breaches could still happen. This possibility makes creating backups for your organisation’s data an excellent idea. Documents, spreadsheets, financial files, account files, databases, human resources files and other paperwork should be backed up electronically. Moreover, backups should be stored not only on the cloud but also on different premises in the event of disasters like fires or floods. Make sure that updating your backups is a scheduled task for your IT team. Hence, you want the latest, usable backups to use just in case.
5. Limit Data Access
To lessen the chances of being hacked, consider limiting the access to sensitive data to people who need the data to complete a task. Adopting the Principle of Least Privilege (POLP) could help decrease the chances of your organisation’s data being leaked. Granting needless access privileges to personnel who don’t need it can be dangerous. This situation is a vulnerability that can be easily remedied.
With fewer people involved, security auditing can be more manageable. Updating PLOP rules are also much more straightforward. Using the principle of ‘deny by default’ can make unauthorised access difficult and add a layer of protection for your data. ‘Privilege creep,’ meaning the gradual accumulation of unnecessary access privileges and permissions by a few individuals, can also be avoided.
6. Encrypt Data
Data encryption is one of the most important cybersecurity moves you can make. Encryption should be done end-to-end, meaning encrypting data at rest and in transit. There should also be proper authentication to ensure a secure connection at the other end. Hardcoded and default credentials shouldn’t be used; remember, dedicated hackers can easily bypass common, frequently used passwords.
Encryption is typically done by using an algorithm. The data couldn’t be viewed in plain text without an encryption key. Limiting access to the encryption keys means unauthorised individuals won’t be able to read your data.
7. Implement Endpoint Security
Data protection is vital, but at the same time, organisations and their personnel find it convenient for data access to be more flexible. Consequently, the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy has increased over the years. Unfortunately, threats that target mobile devices’ access have also increased. This situation created the dreaded multiple endpoint vulnerabilities. Moreover, employees doing remote work can cause problems for an organisation’s network security.
Endpoint security means securing the end-users’ laptops, desktops, mobiles, and other devices. These devices are the access points to an enterprise network. They are entry points from which bad actors can take advantage. These vulnerable entry points are kept secure from attacks with endpoint security software. An enterprise with endpoint security compliance can better control the increasing number of network entry points.
An endpoint security software, however, is different from antivirus software. An antivirus software’s approach is to protect an individual device. Moreover, the security solutions offered by endpoint security include the protection of the entire enterprise network and the protection of endpoints connected to the network.
8. Do Regular Penetration Testing
Don’t forget to test for vulnerabilities, as cybercriminals can exploit these weaknesses to get into your system and cause mischief. Once found, vulnerabilities should be repaired post haste. By doing penetration tests, you’d have a better appreciation of the risks your network and devices face. This type of test can help your staff learn to handle attacks from cybercriminals. ‘Pen tests’ also serve as a method to determine the effectiveness of an enterprise’s security. It can be viewed as a type of ‘fire drill’ for your business’s cybersecurity.
A pen test is a pretend cyberattack on your network to check which area of your network is vulnerable. In addition, a practical pen test can find exploitable weaknesses and recommend how to patch those weaknesses. To expose potential vulnerabilities, this test includes attempting to breach your organisation’s various application systems, like application protocol interfaces (APIs), servers, and others.
The pen test’s report can help you formulate and adjust your whole security process and strengthen any test uncovered weaknesses. The test is very effective in teaching your organisation the method of detecting and preventing attackers and expelling unwelcome visitors from your network.
Cybercrimes are projected to increase in the coming years and cause huge losses for businesses across many sectors. Although authorities may have measures to prevent cybercrimes, an organisation still needs to adopt security measures to protect itself against hackers. Setting up security measures like the ones listed here can help an enterprise lessen its risk of being a cybercrime statistic.