Invest in cybersecurity: Protect clients, employees, your brand
With businesses more dependent than ever on technology to conduct business — and with the average cost of a single data breach upwards of $3 million, according to the Ponemon Institute and IBM — it is vitally important to make informed decisions on the issue of cybersecurity. Businesses stand to lose far more than sensitive client data and intellectual property; at risk is the structural integrity of any business organization. Cyberattacks and data breaches leave companies vulnerable to legal, fiscal and personal nightmare scenarios, damaging their brand and reputation –sometimes irreparably.
Cybersecurity safeguards to protect your business should be as ubiquitous as locks for your doors and safes for your valuables. Educate yourself and your staff not only about the risks but about the measures every company should take to protect itself. The trust of your clients and employees, the intellectual and monetary capital, and the hard-earned reputation of your business will always be worth the investment of time in this vital issue.
Here are some measures to have in place to minimize your vulnerability to an attack:
- Employ basic software and hardware safety requirements. You should at least have a firewall, antivirus and malware software, and a backup and disaster recovery system.
- Encrypt your data with readily available encryption software.
- Practice scrupulous password management. Never write them down and never share them.
- Physically secure your hardware against theft. PCs, laptops, tablets and cell phones can all be used by hackers to break into your data.
- Don’t let your guard down on social media. Certain information, such as where you went to school or when you are planning a vacation, can be used to crack passwords or facilitate hardware theft.
- Inform your team and have a plan. Your employees can be your best defense against a cyber breach. Be sure your efforts are staff-wide, and perform checks and refresher courses on cyber security frequently.
- Consider hiring a professional. Depending on your business, you may want to invest in a professional risk assessment or purchasing cyber insurance.
Lisa Ryder, of Chubb Insurance, explains how to mitigate the risk of data breaches.