The best way to reduce cyber risks for your business is to implement good practices while keeping in mind that there are no guarantees. Even small businesses are vulnerable to cyber risks— as long as they rely on internet-based communications. Here are 8 ways to reduce cyber risks for your business:
Recognize your current cyber risks
Every business has cyber risks, but they don’t always look the same. It’s important to identify what your specific business’s cyber risks are and create a plan to mitigate them. For example, if your business has security cameras connected to your Wi-Fi, make sure to protect access to them with a strong password to avoid the cyber risk of being hacked. If your business regularly transfers funds online, make sure to have a transfer plan to ensure the proper recipient is receiving the funds. Look at what other businesses in your industry are covering, but don’t rely solely on the examples of others, all business needs are unique.
Get cyber liability insurance
Cyber liability insurance policies are growing areas of interest in the insurance industry as more businesses experience data breaches and are looking for ways to mitigate cyber risks. These policies are designed to provide extra protection against these types of cyber risk risks, along with helping businesses recover from a cyberattack. Unlike traditional liability policies that offer protection for one type of attack, cyber liability policies protect against many different potential attacks.
In addition to covering costs related to security measures, the policy may also cover expenses related to responding to an attack, such as hiring a forensic team to investigate the breach. In some cases, the policy may even cover any legal fees that may be associated with lawsuits related to an attack.
Use two-factor or multi-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is a security method that requires not only a username and password but also another form of authentication. This could be something like a code sent to your phone via text or an app. You would need both the username, password, and code in order to access the account.
Two-factor or multi-factor authentication helps to reduce cyber risks because in order to gain access, the cybercriminal must be able to access your phone, another device, or a connected account. 2FA and MFA put up roadblocks that help to keep your information protected.
Use strong passwords with numbers and symbols
A strong password includes a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. It should be at least 8 characters long, but longer is always better. Avoid using personal information like birthdays, pet names, or street addresses. The best passwords use random combinations of letters and numbers that don’t appear to be words or translate into anything in any language.
Educate your team on identifying and handling cyber risks
Many businesses do have a department that focuses on cyber security, however, it is often tasked with protecting the company as a whole. This means that the average employee might not get all of the information they need to protect themselves online, leaving them vulnerable to threats. By educating your employees about cyber security, you are not only protecting your business but also providing them with valuable information about how to keep themselves safe online.
Limit access to certain data
Limiting access to sensitive data is something we all know we should do. But for small business owners, it can be difficult to follow through if you have fewer employees. When there are fewer employees, the idea of limiting access may seem like a hassle or an unnecessary step—but it’s a necessary one that can prevent breaches of your sensitive data and systems.
Blocking access to everything can be a bit extreme; the key is to sort out what is necessary access and what is unnecessary access. For example, if you store customer data, you wouldn’t want your vendors or lower-clearance employees to have access to that private information.
Avoid using public or non-secured Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured, which means anyone can access them without a password. These networks have become popular in coffee shops, airports, restaurants, and hotels but can be accessed by hackers who look for valuable personal data or use these networks as a launching point to attack other networks. When using an unsecured Wi-Fi network, your cyber risk increases quickly.
Using public Wi-Fi for business purposes isn’t just for coffee shop meetings, but for remote employees as well who may regularly access sensitive data. Going back to the point above about educating your team, your team is the first line of defense to reduce cyber risks. In addition to keeping your business data safe from hackers, it is important that your business complies with any applicable regulations related to data security such as PCI DSS requirements or HIPAA.
Keep all software up-to-date
Regular software updates are crucial to reducing your cyber risk. By not updating your software to the latest security patches, you’re potentially leaving doors open for cybercriminals to enter into your network. Software updates are not limited to your phone or computer; you should also regularly update the software on your security camera, printers, tablet, and other devices that run on software.
Reducing your cyber risk will not only be beneficial to the safety of your business but can also lower your cyber insurance premium. By putting cyber risk mitigation practices into place, your insurer can see that you’re committed and less likely to be a risky client for them. While it may seem like it can never happen to you, it’s important to put the steps in place just in case it does. As they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Looking for more information?
A cyber liability policy can help cover your business and keep you updated with industry tips like this one. Get in touch with us today to learn more about cyber liability insurance coverage, or set up a no-obligation consultation with a commercial lines expert through TelaClient.com.