Start 2022 with a new cybersecurity plan

With 2022 now well underway, there’s no better time to evaluate your company’s current cybersecurity plan or to create a fresh cybersecurity plan that will help to protect your business interests.

2020 and 2021 brought with them a range of new cybersecurity challenges for businesses and individuals alike. We saw a greater shift to the digital world, which did include more remote work and remote access needs.

This rapid and unexpected demand for an ecosystem that supported remote work made room for bad actors to take advantage of the security gaps in these new remote work environments. As the surface area of remote workers expanded across the globe, so did opportunities for cyberattacks.

Ill-prepared organizations, companies, governments, and individuals have seen a heavy toll resulting from ransomware attacks and data breaches. As we move through 2022, cybersecurity should be at the forefront of all our minds.

Perhaps the most fundamental question of all for individuals and organizations alike is, “How can we better protect our data in what is an increasingly connected digital realm?”

We’ve got a few tips that might point you in the right direction.

Gather information and learn

Do you know the value of your data? Do you know what type of data a cybercriminal could be after? If you’re approaching cybersecurity from a risk management perspective, you’ll be in a better position to find the right solutions.

  • Network with other professionals in your industry so that you can learn from their expertise or experiences.
  • Research news accounts of data breaches so that you can understand how the risks may mirror your own.

The more you understand cybersecurity risks and what makes your business vulnerable, the better positioned you will be to select the correct safeguards.

Create policies and procedures to address areas of major risk

Take the time to ensure that you have written policies and procedures that cover some of the areas of potential risk. This could include the following.

  • Expectations for employees and contractors for the protection of company data.
  • Data confidentiality and privacy.
  • Monitoring efforts that may potentially impact privacy.
  • Limits related to access and use. Do you want to allow your employees to use their work devices for personal use?
  • Social engineering awareness.
  • Bring your own device (BYOD) policies.
  • Policies related to passwords and selecting security questions.

Establishing policies and ongoing training

Train every member of your workforce, including employees, contractors, and vendors, to have an awareness of your company’s cybersecurity policies and procedures. Offer security training to establish a baseline awareness for everyone. Be sure that you offer ongoing training and refreshers every six months.

Evaluate and improve upon basic digital life hygiene

What is digital life hygiene? Simply put, it’s ensuring that you are using strong passwords, incorporating multi-factor authentication (MFA), backing up your key data routinely, using encryption, and ensuring that your antivirus software is kept up to date with the latest patches.

Additional concerns to emphasize to your workforce could include the following.

  • Don’t use default passwords, and don’t use passwords across multiple platforms.
  • Don’t install unsupported or outdated software.
  • Back up data routinely.
  • Use only reputable cloud services when needed.
  • Create an actionable incident response plan.

Much of this may seem like it’s basic common knowledge. But, in truth, even if it’s commonly known info, it’s all too easy to get lax about cybersecurity. A reminder to tighten the security reins can only help.

Concerns about the Internet of Things (IoT)

Every device connected to the internet offers a potential attack surface that a bad actor could take advantage of. Some of the devices that are potentially most vulnerable could include tablets, smartphones, networked cameras, and alarm systems, storage devices, streaming video devices, and laptops.

Changing the default password on these devices can help to offer an additional layer of protection.

Give thought to outsourcing your security services

If your business is too small for a dedicated security team, consider outsourcing this function. Small and medium-sized businesses are vulnerable to attacks from cybercriminals for a range of reasons. Engaging outside cybersecurity expertise can allow you to assess your vulnerabilities and get recommendations for solutions and services that are best suited to your business requirements.

We are all vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches. However, we can each act in order to improve upon cybersecurity.

Looking for more information? The FCC offers a cybersecurity planning guide to offer small and medium-sized businesses more information about creating a cybersecurity plan.