Cybercrime has increasingly become a real business issue in today’s world. This comes as many business operations and interactions have gone online, especially after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each day, there seems to be a case of a data breach that puts so much at risk, such as loss or exposure of customer data, financial loss, negative brand reputation, and penalties.
However, by adopting a proactive cybersecurity approach, you can reduce cybersecurity risks considerably by identifying and stopping threats before they reach your website, system, or platform. And if an attack occurs, you can recover more quickly and reduce the impact of the data breach on your business.
What Is A Proactive Cyber Security Approach?
A proactive cybersecurity approach involves identifying and addressing security concerns, weaknesses, and threats before an attack happens. You’ll be preemptively attempting to solve an IT security concern before it exists. Because breaches are inevitable, you need to be on the lookout by continuously monitoring your systems and have a clear plan to neutralize any threat detected.
Here are several ways to develop a proactive cybersecurity approach for your business:
Identify Your Goals And Set Security Standards
The first step in developing a proactive cybersecurity approach is to identify your goals and objectives. Look at the industry your business falls into and take note of the type of data you manage when setting security goals. Based on your findings, your business may be more at risk of certain threats only.
This will help you know where you’re more vulnerable and what your priorities must be when setting security parameters. When you have identified your business’ security objectives, it becomes easier to set policies, procedures, practices, and standards to meet. Ensure that the security standards you come up with are strictly followed every day and during recovery from a breach.
Review Existing Security Strategies To Identify Gaps
The cybersecurity industry is constantly evolving since it needs to keep up with new techniques and schemes from malicious hackers and cybercriminals. This means that the security measures you placed a year prior are likely to have rendered been obsolete today. You must constantly review your existing strategy and implement new solutions that protect your data from emerging threats.
Cybercriminals are also hard at work devising ways to penetrate existing security methods, meaning that you have to be constantly vigilant to identify threats. Hackers look for common exposures and vulnerabilities that reveal possible paths they can use to breach your system.
The paths commonly used to initiate attacks include weak passwords, outdated antivirus, weak firewalls, and unapplied security patches and updates. A proactive approach to cybersecurity dictates that you regularly
audit your security strategy to identify gaps in your current security system. This also includes changing passwords at least once every three months and updating cybersecurity software and apps.
Actively Monitor Security Threats
An excellent proactive cybersecurity approach can recognize and report unusual activities on your network. Identifying threats is crucial in quickly neutralizing them and ensuring that minimal damage is done.
Statistics indicate that the average time it took businesses to identify a data breach in 2020 was 228 days. It also took an average of 80 days to fully contain or control the breach. Therefore, it’s crucial for you to put in place active threat monitoring systems that can help you identify abnormal activities in your systems quickly. This can save your business a lot of time and money searching for data breaches and recovering from an attack.
Use Collected Data Effectively
The data you collect plays a vital role in helping identify system flaws, risk areas, and where you’re wasting resources. Use your collected data wisely to streamline and improve security measures to make it more efficient. You don’t need to wait for an attack to start analyzing data you’ve had all along. Being proactive means utilizing what you have to minimize risks.
Most of the attacks are detectable using security log files. As stated earlier, detecting threats earlier and quicker substantially limits the extent of damage that an attack can cause to your business.
Train Your Employees To Follow Proper Cybersecurity Measures
Developing a security culture in your business can be a remarkable asset. Most cyberattacks can be directly linked to human or employee error. Things such as weak passwords, using the same password for a long time, lost or stolen devices, and clicking malicious links from e-mails and websites are some of the common activities that are associated with breaches.
Although there are cases of intentional human error, most of them are unintentional and can be remedied or fully prevented with proper employee training. Here are a few aspects that can be taught to your employees and be implemented in your business:
Create Strong Passwords
Longer passwords with a mixture of numbers, letters, punctuation, and symbols are harder to hack. Unfortunately, most people use obvious words and phrases such as their names and date of birth or business name.
Also, saving passwords in web browsers allows anyone with access to your device to enter into any account they want. A good password manager is an excellent way to encrypt password information to make it harder for hackers to crack it.
Keep Your Devices Clean
Avoid downloading or installing unknown applications and external programs as they may open your network to security threats. Train your staff to keep off non-approved links, plugins, applications, and toolbars.
Secure E-mail Practices
Your staff shouldn’t open any e-mail they have doubts about. In addition, if the e-mail has any ad, attachment, or links that look suspicious, tell them not to open them even when the source looks familiar. Hackers are known to imitate e-mail addresses of credible companies to penetrate security systems through clickable links. You may invest in a content filter for scanning e-mails and their attachments for any suspicious links and files.
The aim of training employees on good cybersecurity practices is to make them understand the value of these measures, and that it protects business data and information. Informed employees make better decisions and are conscious of threats, and would therefore evade them as much as possible.
Advancements in technology bring new solutions to protect your business from cyberattacks. However, cybercriminals are also continually developing new techniques and tactics to outsmart these solutions. You need to take a proactive approach to protect your business from security threats before they can cause damage in the event of an attack.
The approach should be everyone’s job—which means employees have to be trained too. A strong cybersecurity approach requires constant monitoring, audits, and strict adherence to policies, process standards, and procedures.