4 Common Cybersecurity Mistakes Your Business Can Easily Avoid

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At Fully Managed, we can’t stress enough the importance of cybersecurity in 2018. While we previously identified which industries are most vulnerable in the year ahead, all businesses need to be diligent. Experts predict that when it comes to cyberattacks, it’s a matter of when not if your company will be a target.
 
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out our downloadable guide on how to protect your business from common cyber threats, but sometimes it’s important to not only know what you need to do — you need to be able to recognize the potential pitfalls that you need to avoid.
 
To help you with that, we have identified four common mistakes that businesses are making when it comes to cybersecurity and outlined easy ways in which you can prevent getting caught in the same traps.
 

Four common IT mistakes and how to avoid them

 

1. Procrastinating on Software Updates

Almost every business is, or has been, guilty of this. A software plugin update request is sitting there in queue, filed in the informal “I’ll get to it later” bin. Sure, when there is a big flashing “security update” alert regarding your antivirus program, IT staff jump all over it, but many others go unattended. The issue is that these updates are not always about new functional upgrades, but they may include important security patches for newly exposed vulnerabilities. All that it takes is a few hours of being exposed to these vulnerabilities to take down your entire network. From here on in, monitor update alerts from all IT-related vendors and perform updates as soon as they become available, backing up all relevant data before doing so.
 

2. Not Following Up on Password Protocol

Every business knows that they are supposed to institute a strong password protocol for all of their IT systems. This is not the problem. The problem lies in actually following up on the process, as almost every organization out there neglects to do so.
 
Think we’re exaggerating? The most recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) states that over 80% of data breaches succeeded through stolen or weak passwords. When you consider that this is entirely preventable, it’s baffling that the blunder continues. In reality, the problem is actually getting worse. The DBIR report notes that there has been an 18 percent increase year-over-year in password-related breaches.
 
This is definitely a mistake that you cannot afford to make, but thankfully it’s one that can easily be avoided. For example, if you are using Microsoft 365 for your business, you can preset your protocol to enforce password history, age, complexity, and encryption restrictions. By not allowing yourself the option to slip-up on password protocol, you will no longer fall victim to the most common gateway to cybercrime.
 

3. Inadequate Back-Up Plan

This is also among the most obvious, but is no less neglected as it leads to the unfortunate success of ransomware.
 
Ransomware is an effective tactic for hackers because they can hold a business’ data hostage, leaving an ill-prepared company without access to important information. When a business has a strong backup and disaster recovery plan in place, including a redundant copy of their data stored safely in a remote location, cyber criminals loses their most important bargaining chip. Instead of being unable to perform critical business functions, operations can continue while you attempt to sort out the situation with at least some of the negotiating power returned to you.
 
Moving forward, institute a staunch plan which includes the encryption of backups that contain sensitive data, keeping extra back-ups off-site in a secure location (i.e. private cloud), and be sure to verify your backups to confirm that all files are retrievable.
 
 

4. Neglecting to Train the Entire Team

Without a doubt, one of the biggest mistakes that businesses make here is to not share IT security protocol companywide. The assumption, is that either the in-house or outsourced cybersecurity team will take care of everything, while staff can focus on their day to day. This way of thinking leaves your business exposed, given that hackers are finding gateways through your staff, all the way from low level admin to corner office executives.
 
If your IT is managed in-house, ensure that they provide a security tutorial to everyone on staff. The tutorial should address everything from in-office email usage to phishing schemes and what company data employees can (or cannot) download for use on their portable devices and laptops. This comprehensive training program should also address internal human resource threats, given that people tend to be the weakest link when it comes to cybersecurity.
 
If you outsource IT support in a fully managed, co-managed, or custom managed capacity, you can ask your provider to include cybersecurity training sessions and/or seminars in your service package.
 
By arming everyone within your company with in-depth knowledge about IT security, you can easily avoid becoming the latest victim of this very real threat.
 
While the tips above will help you avoid the most common mistakes, cybersecurity can be daunting to attempt to tackle on your own. If you want complete peace of mind, you may want to bring in an IT firm with the most up to date cybersecurity solutions for your business. Those solutions should include email security, IoT security, password management, monthly monitoring and phishing tests, secure network services, and more. Contact Fully Managed today to start building the perfect security package for your business.