Some people think cyberattacks succeed simply because cybercriminals are smarter and more technically skilled than their victims, but this isn't always the case. In fact, Verizon's 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report revealed that a distressing 82% of data breaches occurred because of human error. This means that, in many cases, the victims' own behavior increases their likelihood of suffering a cyberattack.
Improving your business's cybersecurity, therefore, must involve changing dangerous bad habits, such as:
1. Creating weak passwords
A shocking number of people still use predictable passwords like "password" or "123456" for online accounts that contain sensitive business data. Hackers know this and will often try these common passwords first.
If you want to keep business accounts secure, follow these password best practices:
- Use passwords that have at least 12 characters.
- Make sure your password is not a predictable word or phrase; rather, it should be a random combination of mixed-case letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Do not reuse passwords across different accounts.
You can also implement multifactor authentication, which requires users to input more than one proofs of their identity whenever they log in to an account. This ensures that even if cybercriminals were to get hold of your password, they won't be able to infiltrate your business accounts that easily.
2. Posting too much information online
Anything you post on social media can be of potential use to cybercriminals. A post about your pet or birthday, for instance, can give clues about the answers to your online accounts' security questions. Announcements about company-wide events can tip off cybercriminals about when your workplace will be unoccupied and your cybersecurity lax.
Before posting anything online, consider how it could be used against you or your business. If there's even a remote possibility that the information could help a cybercriminal, it's best to keep it to yourself.
3. Not applying software patches and updates
Software patches and updates are released not just to improve a program's functionality, but also to address its security vulnerabilities. By not applying these patches and updates, you're essentially making your business vulnerable to cyberattacks.
That's why you should always apply the latest software patches and updates as soon as they're released. Better yet, enable automatic software updates so you don't have to worry about forgetting to do it yourself.
4. Using public Wi-Fi
While working remotely, you may feel inclined to connect to free public Wi-Fi networks, such as those in libraries, cafes, and airports. Although convenient, these free internet hotspots are often unsecured. Cybercriminals can hack into them and steal information from the users connected to the network.
So when you're working outside the office, bring your own portable Wi-Fi hotspot. If you really need to connect to a public network, make sure to use a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN creates a secure and encrypted connection between you and your intended destination on the internet, preventing cybercriminals from stealing your data.
5. Neglecting to back up your data
You can lose sensitive business data because of natural and man-made disasters, cyberattacks, and technical errors, among other reasons. If this were to happen, your business could suffer major downtime, which can result in revenue disruption and the loss of your customers' trust. What's more, you could suffer severe fines and penalties if your organization belongs to highly regulated industries like healthcare and education.
Back up your data as frequently as needed — the more crucial the data, the more often it should be duplicated. Additionally, make sure to follow the 3-2-1 rule when creating backups. These measures ensure that you will always have access to the data your business needs to stay operational.
The actions of everyone in your business, whether intentional or not, can increase your organization’s vulnerability to cyberattacks. On a brighter note, this also means that cyber incidents are very much preventable, as long as you and your team members avoid harmful behaviors.
If you need help with changing bad habits and implementing cybersecurity best practices, turn to the IT experts at [company_short]. We can help train your staff and bolster your cybersecurity infrastructure to further lower your risk of experiencing cyberattacks. Get in touch with our IT experts today.