Committing mistakes in online security is one of the top causes of such disasters. Such blunders range from accidental human errors to intentional disregard of security updates. Either way, they can all contribute to or cause devastating financial losses.
To that end, we created this guide listing the most common online security errors to avoid at all costs. Read on to discover what they are and how to prevent them from wreaking havoc on your business.
- Lack of Security Training
The less your employees know about cyber risks, the higher their risk of becoming victims. Remember: Cybercriminals often exploit users who lack cyber training and digital ethics. After all, poorly trained individuals are easier to victimize.
Phishing is a perfect example of a security threat that takes advantage of human nature. In 2022 alone, there have already been 255 million phishing attacks. That’s a staggering 61% increase from the previous year.
That’s reason enough to teach your employees how to recognize phishing attacks. Educate them on other social engineering threats, too, including:
- Business Email Compromise (BEC)
To make the training more effective, inform your people about the potential cost of a data breach.
Some estimates place the average cost at $2.98 million for firms with less than 500 employees. Moreover, they note that the loss per breached record is $164.
Sharing those statistics with your people can help make them more vigilant. For example, they may realize that if your business was to become a victim, it might not recover from the high costs. That failure to recover can then put their jobs and careers at risk.
- Using Legacy Technology
A legacy system is any outdated hardware or software your business still uses. It’s so old it no longer gets updates, maintenance, or support from its creators or developers. It may also rely on obsolete technology that can fail anytime soon.
Despite that, you may still have to use such tech because it serves a critical function in your business. There’s also the issue of legacy hardware and software being expensive to replace.
Unfortunately, legacy technology is more susceptible to malware infections. One reason is that, as mentioned above, it no longer receives security patches and updates. Thus, malware can easily infect it and, from there, destroy or steal the data in your IT systems.
The first step to prevent such disasters is to look for a firm offering IT consultancy services. Then, get an IT consultant here to conduct a thorough security assessment of your systems. That way, you can get expert advice about upgrading your legacy tech before it gets hacked.
- Failure to Implement Strict BYOD Policies
BYOD stands for “bring-your-own-device.” It allows employees to use their personal computers and mobile devices for work. About 95% of organizations had a BYOD policy before the pandemic.
Having a BYOD policy can help raise employee productivity. After all, workers can use their devices, which they likely already mastered. They may also feel less frustrated since they’re already comfortable with their devices.
However, BYOD can also become the source of many common cyber threats. The risk is exceptionally high for companies without stringent BYOD security policies.
An example is not requiring online security tools and applications on each device. Another is the failure to implement a mobile device management (MDM) policy.
Such mistakes can cause the devices to become vectors of malware. These include viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, and ransomware, to name a few. They can all spread to other company IT devices and cause severe infections.
One way to strengthen your business’s BYOD policy is to use data protection software. A key feature of such programs is that they encrypt corporate data. Some can even wipe information from a device as soon as they detect tampering.
You can also block specific applications on devices permitted under your BYOD policy. Likewise, you can hire an online security team to perform remote security monitoring. This enables them to track and secure personal devices used for work purposes.
- Not Enforcing Strong Password Requirements
So far, over 4,100 publicly disclosed data breaches have already occurred this 2022. That translates to about 22 billion records exposed. Even worse, cyber security experts expect that to increase by 5% by the end of the year.
Weak passwords are among the primary culprits behind data breaches. The more feeble they are, the easier and faster hackers can guess them. It can take them as little as a few seconds to crack them.
Many cybercriminals also use software to launch brute-force attacks. They also use such tools to spread malware infections that allow them to hijack devices. Hijacking lets them guess account credentials much faster.
Thus, protecting business data requires the enforcement of stringent password requirements. You can do this by using a password policy enforcer.
A password policy enforcer is a type of software that restricts the use of common words as passwords. It also prohibits short passwords and mandates longer ones. It may even block patterns, repetition, and known compromised passwords.
You can also use a password policy enforcer to monitor existing weak user passwords. Once detected, you can have the software force users to change them to stronger ones.
- Not Having Business Data Backups
Backups protect business data from losses caused by user error or malicious intentions. It also safeguards critical corporate information from disasters that can damage IT equipment. Likewise, it ensures you have copies of your data in case of hardware or software failure.
So if you don’t have any backup, your company’s data is at risk of becoming lost forever.
At the same time, having just one backup of all your critical business data is not enough. You must, instead, follow the golden 3-2-1 rule of backup creation.
The rule is to have at least three copies of your business data. You must also store them in two different media types: a hard drive and a cloud storage service. Finally, keep one of your physical backups in an off-site location, such as a bank safety vault.
- Forgetting to Encrypt Drives and Folders
Encryption involves using passwords and codes to conceal drive and folder contents.
When you use encryption technology, it locks the contents of drives and folders. In addition, it scrambles the data, making it appear gibberish-like.
To unlock and unscramble them, the person trying to access it must enter the correct passkey. If they don’t, the contents remain locked and scrambled.
Therefore, encryption can further safeguard your business data from hacking.
You can also use encryption technology to regulate content access and availability. For example, you can create a list of which user accounts can access which drives and folders. Doing this restricts users that aren’t on the list.
- Delaying Software Updates
Even the most expensive enterprise security software won’t help if they become outdated. That’s because old software versions have bugs and flaws that hackers can exploit. Once exploited, criminals can launch attacks, steal data, and destroy or sell them.
The most straightforward way to keep software updated is through remote update installation. This involves your IT team virtually accessing work devices, including the BYOD ones. From there, they can deploy and install the updates so that the users don’t have to do it themselves.
- Relying on Free Security Software
Most free anti-virus programs provide real-time protection and on-demand scanning for malware. While both are beneficial, they’re only the bare minimum for security. They’re not enough for businesses with more data at risk of destruction and theft.
On the other hand, enterprise security software programs offer more robust security features. For instance, they provide multiple-device protection, even for IoT devices. It involves securing all intelligent devices, including personal ones, used in the office.
Paid security software also often comes with identity theft protection. This can alert you of the latest identity theft cases and suspicious activity.
Many paid security software programs also feature firewall upgrades. They monitor and control incoming and outgoing traffic and block malicious data. They can also encrypt the traffic with a virtual private network (VPN).
Password managers are also typical extra features in paid security software. Their job is to store strong passwords in a secure vault that users can only access with a master code. Thus, they make it simple for users to remember their other passwords.
Avoid These Mistakes in Online Security
So, avoid such blunders and assess your organization’s cybersecurity as early as today. Then, follow all the tips discussed above to fortify your online security.
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