How to Enhance Cybersecurity and Minimize Attack Risks: Practical Steps for Individuals and Organizations

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With more IoT (Internet of Things) devices coming online yearly, cybersecurity has become even more essential than ever before. Learn more about cyberattack risks and measures to lessen the chances of these threats occurring.

Why Is Cybersecurity Important?

Effective cybersecurity measures can protect individuals and organizations from digital threats. Considering the devastating effect a successful attack can bring, it is paramount that people invest in risk mitigation solutions. 

Data breaches can cost millions of dollars. Alongside the financial headache, they can also damage a company’s reputation. 

After suffering a breach, some companies cannot recover and are forced to file for bankruptcy. Therefore, it makes sense why individuals and organizations are constantly trying to invest more company resources into cyber solutions to ensure they are adequately protected. 

7 Tips to Enhance Security and Mitigate Cyberattack Risks

Here are seven ways organizations and individuals can protect themselves from digital threats.

Invest In Cybersecurity Training

The first step is to invest in cybersecurity training for your staff and yourself. This can help you understand what possible threats you could encounter and how to combat them. 

Train staff to use cybersecurity best practices. These could include:

  • Not clicking any links in suspicious emails. 
  • Not sending sensitive company information through messaging apps.
  • Not connecting personal devices to company systems.

Conduct Cyberattack Risk Assessments

Companies should perform frequent cyber risk assessments, looking for and securing system vulnerabilities. 

These assessments help organizations get a deeper understanding of their business security and potential weaknesses that could be exploited. After conducting security checks, organizations can implement preventive solutions to ensure they are protected.

Keep Backup Systems

Losing sensitive company information can severely weaken an organization, which is why, in today’s digital world, it is essential to keep backups. These would help the company get systems up and running again in the case of a successful attack. 

Change Passwords Frequently 

While this is a basic cybersecurity best practice, it is still essential. The strongest passwords are those most difficult to guess, and even these should be changed often. 

Companies should also use multifactor authentication (MFA). As the name suggests, MFA is a method of authentication that requires more information before granting access to an account. Even if hackers obtain a user’s password, they will still be unable to access the account with MFA enabled.

Keeps Systems Updated

Installing the latest software for devices and other computer systems is incredibly important. New threats are identified daily, and failing to install updates inhibits your system’s ability to fend off attacks. Keeping systems updated provides businesses with the best chance of not falling victim to modern digital dangers.

Install a Firewall and Utilize Antivirus Software

Organizations should also install firewalls and use antivirus software. While sometimes referred to interchangeably, the two are not the same.

A firewall protects a system from outside threats trying to gain access, whereas antivirus software battles cyberattack risks that have already made it into the system. Installing these two preventive measures gives businesses the tools to overcome modern digital dangers.

Configure Network Access Controls

Configuring network access controls allows individuals and businesses to dictate who has access to a network, and artificial intelligence (AI) is a helpful tool. For example, with the help of AI, organizations like higher education institutions can decrease data entry time by 80%.

However, artificial intelligence can also fall victim to digital threats. This is where network access controls, alongside other solutions such as data monitoring and encryption, can help. Network access controls can prevent malicious actors from exploiting this technology. 

Most companies invest in zero-trust (ZT) architecture because it offers excellent protection. It works under the assumption that no device, whether inside or outside a network’s perimeter, is safe. In other words, it assumes there are threats within a network and has solutions built in to fend off against the dangers. 

Additionally, ZT only provides a user with what they need instead of granting access to everything. The zero trust model provides businesses with more peace of mind, knowing that only authorized users can access company information. 

7 of the Most Common Cyberattack Risks

Businesses can face several cyberattack risks of varying severity. Without proper precautions, organizations and individuals are at risk of encountering some of the following threats.

Malware

Malware is a malicious program that gains access to a computer, network or another system with the intent of causing harm. It can steal sensitive company information, infect other devices and bring business operations to a standstill. Examples of malware include:

  • Viruses.
  • Spyware.
  • Worms.
  • Trojans. 

Data Breaches

As the name suggests, a data breach occurs when threat actors gain access to company data. Breaches are devastating and can have dire repercussions for an organization.

Password Theft

Password theft is one of the most problematic cyberattack risks a business can face. If employees don’t utilize password best practices, a malicious actor can guess passwords with the help of technology or trick employees into giving passwords away.

If this does occur, the hacker acts fast and changes the information to lock the real user out. As stated in step four, employees should use strong passwords, change them frequently and enable multifactor authentication to combat this threat.

DDoS Attacks

A denial-of-service attack (DDoS) sends large amounts of traffic to flood a server, making it unavailable and preventing the user from accessing it. In some cases, DDoS attacks are conducted alongside malware to wreak havoc on a system.

Phishing Scams

There are several types of phishing scams, and in recent years, they have become more elaborate. This threat entails sending someone a message that tricks them into entering sensitive login information or downloading and installing malware onto their system. The best way to circumvent this online danger is to know the signs that indicate a phishing scam. 

Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware is a type of malware that can create massive challenges for businesses and individuals. Its main purpose is to encrypt data and demand the organization pay a ransom to receive the encryption key to access the data again. In other words, ransomware locks someone out of their computer until the individual pays the hacker. 

Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

Man-in-the-middle attacks occur when a threat actor puts themselves in the center of a conversation between two parties. They do this to impersonate one of the users or to eavesdrop on the conversation. The main intent behind this attack is to steal confidential or sensitive information such as login information or banking details,

Protect Your Business Against Cyberattack Risks

In today’s technology-driven world, there are several threats that organizations face. This is where cybersecurity comes in.

Cybersecurity offers businesses and individuals much-needed protection to combat digital dangers. When organizations invest in cyber solutions, they dramatically reduce the chance of falling victim to an online attack.

 

Eleanor Hecks is the founder and managing editor of Designerly Magazine. She’s also a web design consultant with a focus on customer experience and user interface. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dogs, Bear and Lucy. Connect with her about marketing, design and/or tea on LinkedIn.