Cybersecurity threats are increasing and growing more sophisticated every day. Part of being a responsible business owner is keeping your business data and your clients’ information safe and secure.
Here are some cybersecurity measures every organization can take in 2024. These are especially relevant for businesses handling high volumes of sensitive client data such as law firms and non-profit fundraising departments.
Use strong passwords
Are you one of those people who use the same password for your email, computer, and banking login? If there is one compromise in any website that you have a login for, hackers now have a much easier time gaining access to all your accounts, personal and work-related. Taking the step to change your passwords to a more secure option (try using capital letters, numbers, and special characters) can allow yourself and your firm greater security.
Use a Password Manager
After you’ve created unique and strong passwords for all your accounts, you might want to look into a trusted password manager. A password manager gives you a secure way to store all your passwords (more secure than writing them down in a notebook by your computer). This way, you only have to remember the password to the password manager and it will autofill your login information to any site you have saved. You can even share these passwords across devices such as your computer, tablet, and mobile phone.
Create a Strong Passphrase
Your password for your password manager should be the strongest password you have. So, when you first set up your manager, come up with something like a passphrase that is both memorable and hard to guess. Strong passphrases have the following characteristics:
- Contain both upper and lowercase letters
- Have digits and punctuation symbols as well as letters
- Contain at least 12 or more letters, numbers, or symbols—the longer, the better
- Are not a word in any language, slang, dialect, or jargon
- Are not based on any personal information, such as names of family members or pets or important dates
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, is available on many sites and is one of the best things you can do for your cybersecurity. MFA requires you to sign in to your account and then authenticate your identity, usually by entering in a code sent to your mobile device or email account. Without the second step to the MFA, an attacker is prevented from gaining access to your account.
Fortify Your Network
Most every business uses a Wi-Fi network. Wi-Fi is a generally easy network to crack by hackers when they are left unattended. There are several options you have to secure your network: 1. Make sure you have a secure administrator, 2. Enforce Wi-Fi authentication, 3. Limit guest access, 4. Physically protect your Wi-Fi router from resetting, and 5. Protect your internal systems.
There are so many opportunities for hackers to target you in an online attack. Part of fortifying your network is protecting your internal systems and there are many options you have for doing that.
Keep Your Systems Updated
Malware is one of the greatest threats to your internal system. Malware is software that is created with the specific purpose of damaging or disabling computer systems. These attacks take advantage of problems in software that is old or not updated. Many computer systems allow you to automatically update your system. Turning it on is as easy as going into your settings and clicking a button. You can also keep away from malware attacks by installing and updating your antivirus or anti-malware software.
Enable Your Firewall
Firewalls are intended to watch the communication coming in and out of your computer and blocks potentially dangerous communications. Firewalls can prevent attackers from gaining access to your computer and data as well as stop the spread of malware from one computer to another. Most computers have built-in firewalls that you can configure to meet your needs. You should make sure your firewall is enabled and configured to block all incoming connections except those which you deem safe.
The final tip for protecting your systems is to limit who has access. Users should have the minimum amount of access that their job requires. By limiting users in this way, your confidential information is only accessible and modifiable by specific people. Having one person who has full privileges to configure all accounts is a good place to start. Files should be shared with people based on their need to access information.
Any weaknesses in your system can expose you to hackers and attackers. If you can place some tips in this article into action in your firm, you can ensure your systems are less vulnerable to hacks and data exfiltration from both within and outside your office.