How To Improve Your Business's Cybersecurity

Written by: James Ponds

Chances are, you have no shortage of devices and online accounts at your company, and many of these probably contain sensitive information that shouldn't be accessed by just anyone. In addition to firewalls and other filters that you can put up, there are some steps you can take to improve your company's cybersecurity.

1. Implement Alternative Login Methods

Passwords can only do so much, especially when you're relying on hundreds of employees to create strong ones, keep them in safe locations and log out of their accounts every time they leave their desks. Plus, it's all too easy to forget and reset a password, which makes it easy for potential hackers to do the same. Instead, require dual-factor authentication for your organization's databases and servers or, better yet, move to passwordless login systems. These systems either send a regularly changed, personalized code to the user's email or use something like a fingerprint scan to log into the account. This creates fewer lost passwords, makes it easier for your employees to log out and log back in throughout the day, and deters unauthorized users.

2. Install Encryption Software

Whether it's private information in emails or customers' financial information entered on your website during checkout, make sure your company has the encryption software necessary to protect it all. If your business is too small to be able to take care of this yourself, there are third party organizations such as PayPal that can handle it for you. While they do charge you for their services, it's usually much less expensive than doing it all yourself. Once you do have these systems in place, make sure you train employees to use them, especially when it comes to sharing sensitive data over email. After all, even the best encryption does no good if no one uses it correctly.

3. Conduct Phishing Training for Employees

Hackers and scammers often access your company's systems by sending an email telling one of your employees to click on a link. This is called phishing, and these messages are often designed to look like they came from an executive's email address or from a reputable company. Train your staff on how to identify phishing emails and avoid clicking on suspicious links. You can even send fake phishing emails to see how many of them open and click on it. Just make sure you follow up by explaining what happened and what they need to do instead, whether that's contacting IT or sending a separate message to the recipient's address to make sure it's who they think it is.

4. Ensure Your Systems are Updated

Updating all of your operating systems is important for reasons beyond simply getting the latest and greatest features: These usually come with security updates as well. Hackers are on the hunt for out-of-date systems, so not keeping yours current is opening the door for trouble. To avoid falling behind, sign up for automatic updates and ask your employees to do the same with any online applications they use.

5. Require Remote Employees To Use a VPN

Your company's cybersecurity gets more complicated when you have employees working outside of the office. To combat problems that could arise from their using unsecured networks, install a virtual private network (VPN) on their devices. This will create a private network from a public internet connection and makes it all but impossible for hackers to trace their IP addresses. You can use VPNs on mobile devices as well as laptops, and doing so will give you and your organization peace of mind about those employees working from home or on a business trip.

Cybersecurity is vital to keeping your business successful, since a security breach can cost significant amounts of money to fix, not to mention the cost of losing your customers' trust. Avoid these issues by taking the steps necessary to keep you business's technology as secure as possible.

Related: Executing on Your Immediate Response to FinTech Disruption