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10 Cybersecurity Resolutions to Reduce Your Data Exposures

Jan 04, 2023 Two IT workers applying cybersecurity software patches

Cybersecurity threats and trends can change year over year as technology continues to advance at alarming speeds. As such, organizations must reassess their data protection practices at the start of each new year and make achievable cybersecurity resolutions to help protect themselves from costly breaches. The following are 10 resolutions your company can implement to ensure you don’t become the victim of cybercrime:

1. Provide Security Training.

Employees are your first line of defense when it comes to cyber threats. Even the most robust and expensive data protection solutions can be compromised if an employee clicks a malicious link or downloads fraudulent software. As such, it’s critical for organizations to thoroughly train personnel on common cyber threats and how to respond. Employees should understand the dangers of visiting harmful websites, leaving their devices unattended and oversharing personal information on social media. Your employees should also know your cybersecurity policies and how to report suspicious activity.

2. Install and Update Strong Antivirus Software.

Outside of training your employees on the dangers of poor cybersecurity practices, strong antivirus software is one of the best ways to protect your data. Organizations should conduct thorough research to choose software that’s best for their needs. Once installed, antivirus programs should be kept up to date.

3. Instill Safe Web Browsing Practices.

Deceptive and malicious websites can easily infect your network, often leading to more severe cyberattacks. Employees should be trained on proper web usage to protect your organization and instructed to only interact with secure websites. Companies should consider blocking known threats and potentially malicious webpages outright for further protection.

4. Create Strong Password Policies.

Ongoing password management can help prevent unauthorized attackers from compromising your organization’s password-protected information. Effective password management protects the integrity, availability and confidentiality of an organization’s passwords. Above all, create a password policy that specifies all of the organization’s requirements related to password management. This policy should require employees to change their password regularly, avoid using the same password for multiple accounts and use special characters in their password.

5. Use Multifactor Authentication.

While complex passwords can help deter cyber criminals, they can still be cracked. To further prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to employee accounts, multifactor authentication is key. Multifactor authentication adds a layer of security that allows companies to protect against compromised credentials. Through this method, users must confirm their identity by providing extra information (e.g., a phone number, a unique security code) when attempting to access corporate applications, networks and servers.

6. Assess Your Vulnerability.

A vulnerability assessment is the best way to evaluate your company’s data exposures. Using a system of simulated attacks and stress tests, vulnerability assessments can help you uncover entry points into your system. Following these tests, security experts compile their findings and provide recommendations for improving network and data safety.

7. Patch and Update Systems Regularly.

Cybercriminals commonly gain entry into your system by exploiting software vulnerabilities. To prevent this, it’s critical that you update applications, operating systems, security software and firmware regularly.

8. Back Up Your Data.

If your system is compromised, it’s important to keep backup files and store them offline and offsite, if possible. Failing to do so can result in losing critical business or proprietary data.

9. Understand Phishing Threats and How to Respond.

In broad terms, phishing is a method cyber criminals use to gather personal information. In these scams, phishers send emails (or text messages, in the case of smishing) that direct users to fraudulent websites, asking victims to provide sensitive information. These emails and websites are designed to look legitimate and trick individuals into giving credit card numbers, account numbers, passwords, usernames or other sensitive information. Phishing is becoming more sophisticated by the day, and it’s more important than ever to understand the different types of attacks, how to identify them and preventive measures you can implement to keep your organization safe. As such, it’s critical to train employees on common phishing scams and other cybersecurity concerns. Provide real-world examples during training to help them understand what to look for.

10. Create an Incident Response Plan.

Most organizations have some form of data protection in place. While these protections are critical for minimizing the damages caused by a breach, they don’t provide clear action steps following an attack. That’s where cyber incident response plans can help. While cybersecurity programs help secure an organization’s digital assets, cyber incident response plans provide clear steps for companies to follow when a cyber event occurs. Response plans allow organizations to notify impacted customers and partners quickly and efficiently, limiting financial and reputational damages.

Cybersecurity Resolution 11: Check Your Insurance

Knowledge and preparation are the first line of defense against cybercrime. The second is securing the proper insurance to cover any potential losses. Read Cyber Insurance Coverages 101 to learn more.

Hylant works with IT organizations to help their leadership teams, boards of directors and risk managers understand and address their cyber risks. We provide risk profiling, exposure quantification, insurance procurement and negotiation, risk readiness and incident response planning services. Working together, we minimize the potential financial and reputational impacts of cyber events on the organization. Contact Hylant to learn how we can help your organization.

Related Reading:
A Guide to Understanding Your Data Supply Chain Security
What Is Cyber Insurance?

The above information does not constitute advice. Always contact your insurance broker or trusted advisor for insurance-related questions.