Business security is a pressing concern across industries and operations of all sizes, and while most have learned to prioritize cybersecurity over the years, the field changes so quickly and so often as to make building strong defenses a challenge.
Given this reality, one of the best things that businesses can do is to combine multiple security tools to create a complex, layered strategy. Building a strong offense early on can minimize the risk of successful attacks over the long-term.
Digital Basics: Site Encryption
One of the most traditional and indispensable modes of business protection – and one that can simultaneously impact site functionality and ranking – is SSL certification. The gold standard in website encryption, SSL certificates are generally required for any website performing financial transactions today. In fact, browser like Google Chrome don’t allow websites without SSL certificates to load automatically, which can discourage people from visiting them at all.
Of course, the most important feature of an SSL certificate is how it protects user information. The HTTPS protocol designated by an SSL certification ensures that the client is consistently communicating with the desired server and not an intervening party attempting to steal information like credit card numbers.
SSL certificates are designed to ensure that users are communicating with the right server, but sometimes a business’s security concern stems from the possibility that unauthorized parties are accessing their server. This can be a serious problem depending on what operations clients can perform through a company’s platform.
Given this concern, a growing number of businesses now use outside identity verification services scaled based on security risk, like those from CognitoHQ.com. Such tools enable businesses to keep bad actors out of their systems by ensuring that those with questionable backgrounds never gain access in the first place. These tools also allow for ongoing rescreenings, can protect your business against lawsuits, and offer a variety of other security benefits depending on the professional setting.
Teach Security Awareness
You can put all kinds of security infrastructure into place as a business, but any expert will tell you that security is ultimately contingent on behavior. In other words, if staff don’t know the best practices for ensuring a system is secure, the software you use, or anything else about your infrastructure, or if people aren’t following appropriate protocols, like using highly secure passwords and changing them regularly and not using their own devices on the company network.
How do you make sure that staff are well-versed in security practices? All staff should undergo security awareness training, and should be encouraged to teach others and double check other team member’s practices. Regular refreshers and updates on changing security norms can also help staff improve their practices in this area, as can mandating certain behaviors like frequent password updates, or using multi-factor authentication.
Reorient In The Cloud
One of the most significant security issues of 2020 was the move toward a widespread work-from-home lifestyle, and this issue isn’t going to change significantly in 2021. However, in order to enable this type of work, businesses have had to ensure their staff have ready, remote access to key information systems, and the best way to do this is through the cloud. But placing an emphasis on cloud software isn’t just a tool of convenience. It can also help businesses strengthen their security systems.
Of course, cloud platforms are not inherently secure. In fact, improperly deployed, they can create more problems than they solve. When deployed in the right combination, including the latest cloud-based security programs, companies can both secure their other software platforms and elevate their overall security above their internal capacity.
Never Miss An Update
Even if you’ve moved your storage and software to the cloud, you do still have certain responsibilities. In particular, you should never miss a software update or patch, as this can compromise your whole system. That means that, no matter how inconvenient restarting your system may be, it’s important to be vigilant about these tasks. By the time a system problem is identified and a patch or update produced to resolve it, there are already bad actors out there who are working to exploit it. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable.
Don’t Overlook Physical Security
While cybersecurity is a hot topic in the business world, digital security is insufficient if it’s not paired with proper security within the physical plant. That means installing commercial-grade locks and alarms, shredding documents – ideally with a diamond or microcut shredder – before disposing of them, and minimizing how many people have access codes and keys.
Other ways to physically protect your company is by using an access control system for your building. These can be very useful in minimizing overall security risk and protecting areas like your server room or areas where sensitive documents are stored by regulating who can move in and out and recording every time someone enters a sensitive area.
Have A Response Plan
Even as you put a variety of security practices in place to protect your business, both digital and analog, one of the most important things every company can have is a response plan for when things do go wrong – because, at some point, they will. While it may just be a small breach that doesn’t catch the media’s attention or an employee whose security practices leave your business vulnerable, you need to know what you’ll do and say if a problem does come to light. Being able to respond quickly to security issues will be reassuring to stakeholders and can take the heat off your company.
Over the past year, security issues understandably fell by the wayside for many companies as they dealt with more pressing crises, but it’s important to prioritize cybersecurity again. Though the costs may seem steep at first, especially when coupled with other new software and operational modifications, businesses can’t afford to compromise on cybersecurity efforts. Dropping your guard for even a few days can give bad actors the opening they need to access sensitive information, craft backdoors into your systems, and otherwise compromise your operations in lasting ways.