60 million Americans are affected by cybersecurity according to The Harris Poll, and hackers rake in $1.5 trillion every year, according to Beta News. In 2017 alone, hackers stole the identities of 15 million consumers.
82-percent of finance executives believe fintech competitors will create intense competition. As this unfolds, cybersecurity will grow increasingly important.
In some countries, hacking is the foundation of the entire economy. As commerce grows increasingly digitized, small business owners must learn to enforce basic cybersecurity practices to protect company data.
Cybersecurity, however, is not all high-tech. Sometimes, common sense is just as important as advanced software solutions when it comes to protecting your company data.
The Digital Battlefield
Cybercriminals have a significant presence on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. Park Jin Hyok, for instance, executed several cybercrimes, one in which he led a series of attacks while attempting to steal over $1 billion.
As businesses and consumers grow more reliant on mobile devices, there’s a 33-percent surge in mobile malware attacks, according to the Symantec 2019 Internet Security Threat Report.
The previous year’s study reports that nearly all malicious mobile payloads are delivered by third-party app markets outside of Google Play and Apple iTunes. By 2023, says Symantec, almost half of all cyberattacks will occur in the United States.
1. Get Your Team on Board With Cybersecurity
Hackers use many techniques to compromise business networks, including phishing and malware attacks. Attack vectors include email accounts, people, weak passwords and lax information security protocols.
The first step in securing your company network is educating your staff members. You don’t need to necessary spend a lot of money in order to train staff. There are a ton of online cyber security resources available that can help your team get up to speed. You must also develop an emergency response plan should a cyber breach occur.
Furthermore, you should conduct occasional drills to make sure that all workers know what to do if your network is compromised. Employee training could include topics such as backing up data, creating secure passwords and identifying suspicious emails and attachments.
2. Hack Your Way to Safety
If it's in your budget, hire a cybersecurity specialist or consultant to check your company network for vulnerabilities. Data specialists use several high-tech tools to evaluate, monitor and resolve security issues.
A data security specialist will start the process of protecting your information by learning your existing policies and practices. They will then test your network for vulnerabilities. Finally, they will report any vulnerabilities that they find and give you repair suggestions. The suggestions may include improved data security practices or additional hardware, such as two-factor authentication and biometric identification equipment.
3. Encrypt Your Data
Invest in a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your data. VPNs encrypt information that you send over the internet. The technology also hides the (internet protocol) IP address of your company computers.
Even with a VPN, however, you and your employees must still follow cybersecurity best practices. Your data security is only as strong as the weakest link.
4. Create and Maintain Security Policies
Fewer than 39-percent of small businesses create a cybersecurity policy. Every organization, however, should have a formal data security policy in place. A basic cybersecurity policy includes guidelines such as:
- Accepted email and internet uses
- Mobile device protection
- Password creation and storage
- Remote access rules
- Removable media rules
- Sensitive data management
A data security policy is a written document that clarifies the measures that all organizational stakeholders must follow. Once you've created a security policy, train existing and future employees using the report.
5. Establish Access Protocols
The biggest threat to your data comes from within. You must manage who has access to your company information.
As a policy, you should only grant staff members access to information that they need to fulfill their roles. Limited access reduces the chances that hackers can compromise your data.
Depending on your industry, you may also need to limit employee access to parts of your facility. You can do this by using devices such as scanners and security checkpoints.
A Solid Career Choice for Computer Experts
There are several certifications in the data security field. For instance, GSEC certification demonstrates a professional’s knowledge of information technology. Also, cybersecurity specialists can earn Certified Ethical Hacker certification in partnership with the International Council of Electronic Consultants (EC Council).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts 20-percent growth in the cybersecurity field. On average, data security specialists earn $72,000 per year. Furthermore, qualified security specialists can advance to higher paying positions.
The expansion of cybersecurity will create many opportunities for professionals in the field. The world’s data security experts will enjoy a satisfying career that keeps the wheels of commerce turning by detecting enterprise data.