Did you know that the average cost of a data breach is $3.92 million and almost 30% of all organizations will experience at least one breach over the next 24 months?

Besides the immediate cost, such as data loss and regulatory fines, organizations also suffer from tarnished reputations, eroded customer trust, the cost of other remedial measures, and the loss of business — all of which can impact their long-term profitability.

In fact, 60% of small- and mid-size companies go out of business within 6 months of a cyber attack — making the implementation of the right cybersecurity strategies all the more important.

Here are the top cybersecurity strategies you can implement to protect your organization from cyberattacks:

1. Get Leadership Buy-in

Cybersecurity used to be the sole responsibility of the IT team but this is no longer the case. It should be a C-level and board-level concern since a cyberattack can negatively impact a company’s financial health and reputation.

For example, the CFO needs to understand that investing in cybersecurity has a high ROI because it helps prevent a costly data breach. Meanwhile, HR leaders should be involved in policymaking, onboarding, offboarding, and employee communications to ensure the successful implementation of security protocols.

2. Provide Employee Cybersecurity Training

Social engineering (e.g., phishing) is one of the most common methods used by hackers to penetrate an organization’s systems. It takes only one careless employee to click on one malicious link for the entire network to be infiltrated by cybercriminals.

Provide employees with training on the latest security protocols. Ensure that they’re engaging with the materials and following the guidelines. Regularly educate them on the common methods that hackers use so they can stay vigilant against the latest threats.

3. Stay Current With Software Integrations

While integrating various applications onto a single platform helps break down silos and facilitate real-time collaboration, you should take the proper security precautions when choosing software and vendors — especially when the workflows involve passing business-critical information from one application to another.

Use reputable vendors that frequently update their platforms with the latest security measures. Also, check that all integrations stay intact after an upgrade to ensure that there’s no vulnerability in your system.

4. and Mobile Access Policies

As remote working has become more common, make sure that employees can log into your network securely from anywhere. For example, by using a VPN service to access the server, using multi-factor authentication to log into applications, and providing training on how to set up a secure work environment.

Also, if you allow employees to use their own mobile devices to access work-related information, you need to implement a BYOD (bring your own device) policy and provide employees with the appropriate IT support so they can set up their equipment properly.

5. Purchase Cyber Insurance

Although cyber insurance doesn’t fend off hackers, it is a preventive measure that can protect you from the potentially devastating consequences in the event that your system got infiltrated.

Cyber liability insurance coverage (CLIC) typically covers expenses by first-party, claims by third-parties, investigation fees, legal fees, certain business losses, and credit monitoring for customers.

6. Beef Up Your IT Team’s Cybersecurity Knowledge

Cybersecurity talent is scarce and you need to work closely with HR to hire, develop, and retain the right IT team members. Also, invest in high-quality training programs to ensure that your IT team has access to the latest information and necessary skills.

Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated and cybersecurity protocols more complex. You should assemble a team with diverse skillsets so they can devise and execute a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy to give your organization the best protection.

7. Use Secure File Transfer Protocols

Most industry regulations, such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and the GDPR, require any data being transferred to be encrypted. As such, you need to use a secure file transfer protocol to not only protect your sensitive information but also ensure that you stay compliant to avoid hefty penalties.

While there are many options,the most popular ones are FTPS and SFTP. While FTPS authenticates a connection using a user ID and password and/or a certificate, SFTP allows you to use two different methods — encrypted user ID and password or an SSH key — for user ID authentication.

Final Thoughts: Prioritize Cybersecurity

To support the growth of your business in 2020 and beyond, you can’t afford to overlook the importance of cybersecurity. Not only do you need to assemble the right team, provide employee training, update all software applications regularly, and protect your data whether at rest or in transit but you should also track the execution of your cybersecurity strategy to ensure its effectiveness. This will allow you to adapt the latest best practices to meet the needs of your organization.

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