How to Protect Your Company From Cyber Security Threats

Online activity continues to grow for individuals and companies alike. After the events of 2020, more individuals entered the digital world to communicate and shop. By the end of the year, almost five billion people, close to 60% of the global population, were online.

This greatly increased the risk of cybersecurity threats. Despite the pandemic and other events of 2020, companies and individuals were still subject to malicious activities in the form of cyber extortion. Billions of dollars in investments and personally identifiable information (PII) were lost.

While no solution will erase the risk from these threats there are several ways you can protect your company. Here are a few examples.

Virtual Private Network

If you are looking for easy ways to improve company protection, a common one is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Based on servers at your main office or the Cloud, VPN creates a secure tunnel for employees to access their workplace environment.

To log in, users must request access. Once approved by the network administrators, employees enter their workplace username and password for verification. At that point, they are directed through a private IP address/hostname that's invisible to the outside world.

A VPN provides the necessary protections for not only employees but the data they access. It minimizes the risk of malicious activity since cybercriminals cannot track the path the user takes.

Another great thing about a VPN is that you could be anywhere in the world and no one can track your actual location which can help in a number of ways. For instance, if you live in England but you want to access the internet as if you lived in the U.S. all you would have to do is turn on your VPN and select the location that you want to be searching in. This is super helpful for gaining followers in other countries on social media. So while it does keep you protected it can also help to boost your marketing.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Another way to secure an employee's access to the work environment is multi-factor authentication (MFA). This is an added layer to the standard username/password combination that is easily accessible by cyber extortionists. Though that information might be hackable, getting into credentials protected by MFA is nearly impossible.

The reason is how it works. Normally, after an employee enters their credentials, the MFA software sends them a code. This is via a text message or an actual phone call. Provided with a random numerical passcode, the employee enters the code. Once verified, they are permitted in their device or a program.

It's nearly impossible for cybercriminals to crack this because they need to have the physical device in possession to get the code. Even if they did gain the ability to see the code the MFA system wouldn't allow access, especially if it was sent to a different phone number than registered.

This can help to greatly reduce the risk of security threats to your business and gives you an air-tight way to make sure that only the employees that you want to give access to get the access. If someone is trying to get in but doesn’t have the authority in the company they would also not be able to access the information. Many companies are already doing this to protect their customer’s data as well. 

For instance, in order to access your Google account on another device, you can have your Gmail set up to send you a verification code on your phone in order to access the new device. This helps google customers to keep their information secure without always having to remember a password, and if someone does get ahold of their password it doesn’t matter because you would need that person’s code on their phone to access the account. 

These kinds of verification processes can really save you as they are so good at keeping personal accounts and work accounts secure.

Hardware and Software Updates

VPN and MFA can only maximize their protection if what they shield is regularly updated. Thus, hardware and software changes must be implemented immediately to maintain business integrity. You might consider looking into certain types of software that can enhance your security and give you peace of mind. When you decide to get cyber risk management software from a company like Axio you will be able to have state-of-the-art security from having a high-quality software set that is created to keep your tech secure.  Minus that activity and your organization remains an easy target for cybercriminals.

You can't let your employees guide your decision to upgrade because they're used to their environment. Complacency is a dangerous precedent to set as it leads to poor security. Thus, everyone needs to have their system updated regardless of how they feel.

Hardware and software upgrades aren't only for the user equipment. It also has to take place on data servers and network equipment. It's especially critical for the latter. Without regular updates, firewalls and routers don't have the necessary information to block viruses or hacks. The result is increased cybercriminals activity.

Outsource Your Security

If you have limited IT resources to handle your security concerns then it's a good idea to outsource. First, you bring in a team of subject matter experts who understand IT security. Second, they have an understanding of all workplace sizes. In turn, they're able to provide the right security solutions for your organization. 

Yes, there is a large initial payout for this type of service. However, the return on investment is greater for your company. It's going to be in the form of strong security mechanisms that protect your finances and the PII of workers and customers.

Though this is a small percentage of ways to protect your company from cybersecurity threats, they are the most important. Without them, you run a greater risk of hacks and other forms of cyber extortion.

How to Get Started

The best way to start improving your protection is to get a risk management audit from an outside source. They'll do a review of your current environment and provide suggestions on how it can be improved. They also might be able to see holes in your security that you might have overlooked and therefore, help to steer you in the right direction.  And can also give you insight into what you might be doing wrong and how you can improve your security without too much extra work. 

This is a great way to see where you are at and see what the best plan of action will be for your company based on its particular needs. While many of these things you can start by yourself it is always wise to have a professional examine your needs and what the best plan of action will be for your company.

The time to update your security is now. Whether you just need to make some minor modifications or some major changes to your security, now is the best time to start getting ahead of the curve. If you value your company and want to keep your data protected, the best thing you can do is start with one of the above-mentioned security updates. With added protection, you will help your company to stay safe and profitable.