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Cybersecurity: It Takes Two to Tango

Author: Larry Chester, President

The dangers of cyber threats are at an all-time high. From ransomware to phishing, hackers know no bounds when it comes to accessing and stealing a business’ sensitive data.

In fact, according to SonicWall, in 2020, 304.6 million ransomware attacks occurred, as well as 81.9 million crypto hacking attacks, 4.8 trillion intrusion attempts, and 5.6 billion malware attacks. Wow!

With these statistics in mind, it’s important to start working toward mitigating your business’ cyber risk today.

Let’s talk about cybersecurity and protecting your business with or as a CFO.

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is defined as “the body of technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect networks, devices, programs, and data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access.”

Some examples of cybersecurity include:

  • Antivirus and antispyware programs
  • Firewalls
  • VPNs
  • The list goes on!

Cybersecurity for Your Business

Why is Cybersecurity Important?

Today, in our world of technology, various organizations store unparalleled amounts of data on computers as well as other technological devices. These organizations include:

  • Governmental
  • Military 
  • Financial 
  • Medical 
  • Corporate

A data breach can be detrimental to any business. In fact, the aftermath is especially severe for small businesses. The truth is that 60% of small businesses that fall victim to a cyber-attack close their doors within six months.

Preparation and prevention are key to keeping your business safe. Below, we’ll discuss steps to avoid cybersecurity threats.

How Do You Protect Your Business?

Statistics considered, how can you keep your business secure? While there are no foolproof methods, here’s a list of proactive guidelines.

Encourage a Security-Focused Culture

According to Forbes “the security culture of an organization is foundational to its ability to protect information, data and employee and customer privacy.” Security culture is defined here as “the ideas, customs and social behaviors of an organization that influence its security.”

What might a company culture focus on security look like? According to Maryville University, promoting a strong security-focused culture within your business might include:

  • Regular training sessions to help employees recognize external threats
  • Teaching employees strategies for minimizing their risk of being hacked

This leads us to our next point.

Train Your Staff and IT Team

In addition to encouraging a security-focused culture, you must train your staff and IT.

Make the guidelines of your business’ cybersecurity policy abundantly clear. Apart from training, employees should be familiar with how to identify suspicious activity.

Lastly, employees should know safe practices for sending and receiving data. For example, they need to know why NOT send excel spreadsheets, passwords, or personal information via email.

As for your information technology (IT) department, these individuals should be properly trained in knowing what to look for when it comes to cybersecurity threats.

Update Software on a Routine Basis

Company software should be updated on a routine basis.

To many people’s surprise, cyber-attacks often happen when systems and/or software aren’t fully up-to-date, which leaves room for weakness. These points of weakness are then exploited by cybercriminals to gain access to your network.

Backup and Encrypt Your Data

Picture this, your business experiences a cyber-attack, and none of your data is backed up. This would result in serious financial loss as well as loss of data and time.

Backup and encrypt your data to keep your business safe. This includes client and customer information, employee information, as well as all other business data.

Consider Cybersecurity Insurance

According to NerdWallet, “cybersecurity insurance protects businesses against financial losses caused by cyber incidents, including data breaches and theft, system hacking, ransomware extortion payments and denial of service.”

Small businesses are especially vulnerable to cyber threats, making them great candidates for cybersecurity insurance.

Additional Tips and Tricks to Reduce Risk

  • Limit company use of large email attachments and programs
  • Avoid reading, talking about, or leaving confidential information in unsecured work-from-home areas
  • Log out of work devices when you’re not using them
  • Shred sensitive documents
  • Restart your computer regularly
  • Be aware of third-party risk (Did you know 59% of companies experience a cyber breach because of either a customer or supplier that has a breach?)
  • Be careful about what you share on your company’s social media (For example, the world doesn’t need to know that your entire company has the day off and that the office isn’t under supervision…)

Read on for more about data security on the CFO Simplified blog.


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