2020 brought a lot of uncertainty. The global pandemic, along with the unprecedented shift to remote work, has altered the way both people and companies approach and conduct business. And while many of the changes are likely to become permanent, so is the promise of a cybersecurity threat landscape that will continue to evolve.
As you begin 2021, how can you resolve to have a more cyber-secure future? We’ve created a checklist of six things you need to plan for in 2021.
Just as you may require your team to use a key card or a traditional key to enter your office building, passwords are the keys by which employees access your workplace’s network. You have most likely gone to great lengths to secure your office building and ensure no unauthorized access is granted to your space; the same should be done for your online environment via passwords. By the end of 2021, all of your apps should have a robust password policy. These five things should be included in your password policy:
A firewall is your first line of defense in your environment. It acts as a gatekeeper and will identify malicious traffic and block the source IP address, shutting down any attack directly from the source.
In 2021 your organization should add an intrusion detection system (IDS) to your firewall. An IDS is placed at strategic points within your network to monitor all incoming and outgoing traffic from all devices. It compares the traffic on your network to a database of traffic sources with a library of known attacks in real time to identify and alert your administrator when active traffic is happening from a known risky source.
While a firewall will protect you from the traffic itself, two-factor authentication protects you from a hacker breaking in with a lucky combination. Imagine if an employee’s login info was stolen as a part of the Equifax breach and that employee used the same credentials to log in to your network. If you were not using two-factor authentication, the hacker would now have direct access to your environment.
2FA is a security measure that requires more than one method of verifying a user’s identity before they can obtain access to your environment. The second factor of authentication can be through a cellphone code, secure email address or application. In 2021, most – if not all – of your applications need to be using 2FA.
By this point, cybersecurity training for your employees should already be on your radar. Expect that in 2021, you will need to conduct monthly security awareness training efforts to keep your organization protected.
Within businesses, human error accounts for 90% of security breaches, meaning this may be the most important part of your security defense plan. It’s no secret that SMB leaders wear a variety of hats. Is 2021 the year you have resolved to be better about delegating? This may be the place to start. An expert has the tools to continuously produce quality training materials that align with the most recent and relevant attacks that have a proven success rate.
You’re probably all too familiar with pop-up windows that ask you to update your system. For many people, selecting “remind me later” is the default option. However, that could leave your organization at risk. Updates help patch security flaws found in an application, and hackers love security flaws and are generally able to act fast on them.
A patch management software will ensure that all devices on your network are forced to update patches pushed out by your administrator, doing away with the procrastinators opening you up to security flaws.
If 2020 taught us anything, it is that nothing is certain. When an attack happens, give yourself the peace of mind that your organization, people and customers will be protected by cyber liability insurance.
According to IBM’s 2020 Cost of Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach was $3.86 million, and breaches cost smaller businesses more (relative to their size) than they cost large businesses.
Cyber liability insurance will cover the cost of recovering from a data breach, virus or other cyber attack. It also covers legal claims resulting from the breach. In 2021, resolve to evaluate your cyber liability insurance options and protect your organization.
In 2020, small businesses in particular overcame tremendous challenges to adapt to the constant changes. Those that are setting the stage for successful 2021 are poised for a tremendous rebound. Resolve to be better this year by creating a secure environment and protecting what you’ve worked so hard to build.
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