The growing number of cybersecurity threats should have your business on alert because no industry is safe. This includes corporations, school systems, governments, financial institutions, retailers, and hospitals, all targeted by sophisticated cyber-attacks.
But knowing the dangers of malware, ransomware, or supply chain attacks alone doesn’t keep your business and assets safe. There’s more to it than that. And since your reliance on technology is most likely growing, it’s essential to take productive action to protect your data from cybercrimes.
One way to achieve this is creating a cybersecurity checklist which entails a list of the items that need protection. Moreover, this checklist should include the standards, procedures, controls, and policies your business should consider to help you prevent attacks.
An example of how cybersecurity checklist practices help lower your overall risk is through patching and vulnerability management. This means identifying vulnerabilities in your software and fixing them to prevent cyber breaches from affecting your daily operations. If you want to achieve this, here are items in your cybersecurity checklist that you don’t want to forget:
1. Taking Inventory Of Your Assets
Taking an inventory of your business’s technology and devices is an important aspect to add to your checklist. This should include the following:
- Company desktops
- Mobile devices
- Network equipment,
Apart from taking inventory and keeping track of these devices, it would be best to ensure they’re encrypted for enhanced security. This will help you quickly find items that may be lost or misplaced.
Moreover, it would help if you didn’t forget to document all software and applications you’re using and regularly update them because they’ll evolve occasionally.
2. Following Documented Guidelines
Documented action plans or policies are a list of obligations, requirements, and guidelines that organizational workers must observe and adhere to as they interact with company networks and systems.
Apart from the employees’ other individuals that need to observe these policies include the Managed IT experts that the company has outsourced and any other third party that can access the company’s systems.
Examples of these policies include the following:
- Remote Access
Another must-have in your cybersecurity checklist is remote access policies, considering many businesses currently use cloud-based systems and technologies to do their daily activities. This technology is efficient because it enables workers to access company files and documents from any device and location.
The essence of having remote access policies is to, therefore, provide security guidelines and requirements to company team members who work or access the company’s accounts and systems remotely.
An example of what this policy requires the workers to do is use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when using an insecure or public network to access the company data.
- Internet Access
The internet has become increasingly popular, and people and companies are using it in their day-to-day operations to achieve the following business operations:
- Email and social media communication
- Cloud Computing
When using the internet, you ought to be careful because people use it to commit cybercrimes in many ways, such as using malware, credential stuffing, and ransomware.
In this regard, you should have an internet access policy to guide your workers on the best practices when using the internet to reduce the chances of your company becoming susceptible to data breaches. One way to do this is by prohibiting your workers from visiting specific social media pages and websites.
By ensuring that you include these policies in your checklist, you’ll quickly execute them, increasing your systems’ security.
3. Controlling Employee Authority And Access
It’s essential that you limit and control employee access to your company’s critical data and computers. This means ensuring each team member has an account with the features and privileges necessary and relatable to their work. The good thing about separate accounts is that it’ll be easier for you as the manager to track their user activity.
Also, by limiting employee access to the entire company’s system and giving them permissions to specific segments of the system, you’re protecting the interest of your organization.
It’s also critical that you ensure that your worker only downloads software with authorization or permission to protect your networks and systems. And if by any chance your system gets hacked or an employee betrays the company by selling part of its data, the cybercriminals won’t have access to the entire company’s information. The reason is that other systems will still be intact.
4. Creating A Backup For Your Data
No matter how much you try to prevent cybercrime, there’s still a chance it can occur. Your software might also malfunction. Therefore, you have to be extra careful in preserving your data, which necessitates having a backup for your business’ data and information.
Examples of data that you’re supposed to back up regularly include the following:
- Accounting information
You can integrate automatic backups into your system to save time and speed up the process. Due to a lot of work, sometimes you may not be able to back up data daily, but you should at least try to do it occasionally—maybe once or twice a week.
After creating copies of data, you can store them in the cloud or offsite for easy retrieval and recovery in case of a virus or cyber-attack.
5. Making Sure You Use Strong Passwords
Another item that you need to add to your cybersecurity checklist is a strong password policy. By using strong passwords, you can keep your devices and accounts from unauthorized access and your data and systems safe.
Some tips to consider when creating strong passwords include the following:
- They should have a minimum of 12 to 14 characters
- The passwords shouldn’t look like any of your previous passwords
- Try and combine numbers, symbols uppercase, and lowercase letters
- Avoid using a word that can be found in the dictionary, organizational and product names, and names of people
If your business doesn’t have a strong password policy, it might be time to create one using the metrics above. Consider adding multi-factor authentication to reinforce your account and systems security.
To sum it up, every business needs to expect and prepare for cybersecurity breaches. The above checklist will help you gauge risk and put plans in place to protect assets and recover sooner if a breach occurs.
If you’ve not implemented any of them yet, it’s never too late to start. To do this effectively, consider hiring an IT expert to help your business to help actualize the listed cybersecurity items and improve its security steps.