Cyber security is a vital aspect of any business that uses the Internet or digital devices. There are many cyber threats that can harm your business, such as ransomware, phishing, data breaches, and denial-of-service attacks. To protect your business from these threats, you need to implement some basic security measures and best practices. Here is a simple checklist that can help you improve your cyber security:
Turn on multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all your online accounts, especially those that store sensitive or confidential information. MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to enter a code or use a device in addition to your password when logging in. This way, even if someone steals your password, they cannot access your account without the second factor. You can enable MFA for most online services, such as email, cloud storage, banking, and social media1.
Update your software regularly on all your devices, including computers, smartphones, tablets, and routers. Software updates often contain security patches that fix vulnerabilities and bugs that hackers can exploit. Updating your software can prevent cyber attacks and improve the performance and functionality of your devices. You can set your devices to update automatically or check for updates manually21.
Back up your data frequently to a secure location, such as an external hard drive or a cloud service. Data backup is essential for recovering your information in case of a cyber attack, a natural disaster, a hardware failure, or human error. You should back up your data at least once a week or more often if you have critical or frequently changing data. You should also test your backups regularly to ensure they are working properly21.
Limit employee access to data and systems based on their roles and responsibilities. Not every employee needs access to every piece of information or every system in your business. By restricting access to only what is necessary, you can reduce the risk of data leakage, theft, or misuse. You should also monitor and audit employee activity and revoke access when employees leave the company or change roles2.
Establish a strong password policy for all your accounts and devices. Passwords are the first line of defense against unauthorized access, so they should be strong and unique. A strong password is at least 12 characters long and contains a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. A unique password is not used for any other account or device. You should also change your passwords regularly and avoid using common or predictable passwords21.
Develop a cyber security policy for your business that outlines the rules and guidelines for using and protecting your data and systems. A cyber security policy can help you communicate your expectations and responsibilities to your employees, customers, partners, and vendors. It can also help you comply with any legal or regulatory requirements that apply to your industry or location. A cyber security policy should cover topics such as acceptable use, data classification, incident response, disaster recovery, and employee training34.
Create an emergency management plan for responding to and recovering from cyber incidents. An emergency management plan is a document that describes the steps you will take before, during, and after a cyber incident to minimize the impact and restore normal operations as soon as possible. An emergency management plan should include roles and responsibilities, contact information, escalation procedures, communication channels, backup strategies, and recovery actions34.
Consider getting cyber security insurance to cover the costs and damages associated with cyber incidents. Cyber security insurance is a type of insurance that protects your business from financial losses caused by cyber attacks or data breaches. Cyber security insurance can cover expenses such as legal fees, fines, ransom payments, data recovery, customer notification, credit monitoring, reputation management, and business interruption35.
Know where to get cyber security advice and support when you need it. Cyber security is a complex and dynamic field that requires constant learning and adaptation. You may not have the expertise or resources to handle all aspects of cyber security on your own. Therefore, you should seek external help from reliable sources when necessary. You can get cyber security advice from various organizations such as CISA6, FCC3, Cyber.gov.au1, CrowdStrike5, ThreatBlockr2, or other reputable providers.
I hope this checklist helps you improve your cyber security posture and protect your business from cyber threats. Remember that cyber security is not a one-time task but an ongoing process that requires regular review and improvement. Stay safe online! 😊