Recently updated on September 14th, 2023

On average, only 5% of companies’ data is properly protected. With cybercrime up 600% since the start of the pandemic, 1 in 20 businesses won’t be prepared to fend off cyber criminals if they get targeted. Much of cyber defense is pragmatic thinking and planning, but you have to know where to start.

Here are some of the best practices to keep your cyber defense strong:

Set Up a Firewall

A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls traffic going into and out of your network based on predefined rules. Basically, a firewall is the doorman to your network.

It is the barrier between the internal network you trust and the untrusted network – which is essentially everything else. You can set up your firewall to blacklist or whitelist IP addresses, MAC addresses and ports.

Firewalls secure your first line of cyber defense from cybercriminals.

Back-Up Important Business Dataa 3d blue cloud graphic that has a draw coming out of it as square pieces of random data is being stored into that drawer

You never know when or where a cyber-attack will emerge to disrupt your network, so it’s important to consistently back up your critical business data.

You can set your network to automatically back up on a schedule, but make sure that the backup data is saved to a different location than where that data currently lives.

Install the Latest Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software

The keyword in the title above is “latest”. Virus definitions change regularly as do tactics that cybercriminals use. Missing a single update could leave your system open to intruders.

Make sure that you have fully updated software that protects your network from viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware and other potential cyber threats.

Almost 90% of cyber-attacks are caused by human error or behavior. Much like the rules in your employee handbook, you must train your employees on how to act to reduce liability.

Secure and Hide Your Network

When you initially purchase your router and other Wi-Fi equipment, it is not secure. You will want to create a unique password and one that’s not easy to guess. Hide your network so that it doesn’t come up on general Wi-Fi scans.

If you have remote workers, you may want to invest in a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. A VPN can help keep secure, encrypted tunnels between remote networks and the office network.

Train, Train, Train!

Almost 90% of cyber-attacks are caused by human error or behavior. Much like the rules in your employee handbook, you must train your employees on how to act to reduce liability.

They will need to know how to spot malicious emails, generate quality passwords, use two-factor authentication and handle sensitive company and client data.

This step is VITAL to keeping your business safe and secure from external cyber threats.

As cybersecurity leaders, we have to create our message of influence because security is a culture and you need the business to take place and be part of that security culture.

Britney Hommertzheim, Director of Cyber Threat Operations, Cardinal Health

Create, Distribute and Follow a Cybersecurity Plan

In many cases, creating a cyber-defense plan should be the very first thing that an organization does when trying to assess and mitigate risk. However, many businesses may not have the time or expertise to create an effective cybersecurity strategy.

From internal and external vulnerabilities to detailed policies, there is a lot that goes into an effective network security plan. You may want to engage with a trusted IT company that specializes in cyber defense.

If you are attempting to create a plan on your own, make sure that all policies are documented, clear and available to all your employees. Make sure the plan includes all mobile devices like phones, wearable fitness trackers, smartwatches and anything else with wireless capabilities.

Concerned About Your End-to-End Security?

Next Horizon is a technology company that specializes in cybersecurity for small and mid-size businesses. Considering cybercrime is on the rise, the importance of network security has never been more important.

To that end, we are offering a complimentary IT security assessment that includes a security risk report, consolidated security report card and an external vulnerability scan.

Sign Up for a Free Security Audit!

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