A cybersecurity checklist for your business
Infinity’s dedicated compliance officer, Duncan Taylor, outlines some essential protection measures to protect businesses from increasingly prevalent cyberattacks.
Security breach statistics for 2023
In case any business owner doubts the need for robust cybersecurity and constant vigilance, let’s just take a look at some statistics from 2023:
- 953 recorded incidents of data breach so far in 2023 (to end October)
- Over 5.3 billion breached records to date in 2023
- 8 billion records breached in this year’s biggest cybersecurity event (Dark Beam)
The consequences of a data breach for your business
If you are a business owner, make no mistake, a data breach can have profound and far-reaching consequences for your business, negatively impacting your bottom line, your hard-earned reputation, and your operations.
Financially, the fallout from a breach can be substantial. Your company could face regulatory fines, legal fees, settlements, and the cost of implementing enhanced security measures. In addition, decreased customer trust and potential customer churn could mean tangible lost revenue.
Reputational damage is equally significant, as a data breach erodes trust and confidence in a company among clients, partners, and stakeholders. Rebuilding that trust can take years impacting future business opportunities and brand value.
Operationally, a breach will almost inevitably disrupt the day-to-day functioning of your business, and divert limited resources towards damage control, investigations, and remediation efforts.
I hope I’ve convinced any skeptics that your company needs comprehensive cybersecurity preventive measures and swift, effective response strategies. But where do you start?
Take a look at this cybersecurity checklist for businesses.
Cybersecurity checklist for businesses
This is a handy checklist of measures you can put in place to bolster your company’s defences against cyberattacks.
- Maximise cloud security
Companies are increasingly storing data on the cloud which is practical but leaves large amounts of potentially sensitive information vulnerable to attack. To maximise cloud security, you should:
- Carry out a risk assessment to ensure that risk is monitored, and threats can be detected early. Prevention is better than cure.
- Introduce encryption and access controls such as multi-factor authentication to safeguard sensitive information.
- Control who can access what data and from where ensuring only authorised personnel have entry.
- Create backups of critical data and have strategies in place to facilitate swift recovery in case of a breach or data loss.
- Educate staff about security best practices to prevent unintentional breaches or cyber threats.
- Protect against ransomware attacks
Ransomware attacks are one of the major cyber threats to your business, and they are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Reduce your company’s vulnerability with these measures:
- Employee training to identify and avoid malicious emails, especially phishing attempts, which are common vectors for ransomware attacks.
- Implement robust email security measures to intercept and block phishing emails, a primary method used to deliver ransomware.
- Ensure all systems are consistently updated with the latest security patches to defend against malware and known vulnerabilities.
- Deploy secure, automated backup tools to regularly back up crucial data and facilitate faster recovery in the event of a ransomware attack.
- Enhance protection for your hybrid workforce
If your company has remote workers, there are some important security measures to take to fortify your defence strategy. These include:
- Implement robust email security measures to safeguard against phishing, viruses, and malware transmitted through emails.
- Secure devices in all locations to prevent unauthorised access or malware infiltration.
- Utilise firewalls and VPNs to protect the infrastructure and ensure secure communication and data transfer.
- Introduce advanced AI-powered security tools to detect threats early and take proactive steps to mitigate risks.
- Have a rigorous Identity and Access Management (IAM) policy to control user access and enhance overall security measures.
- Train staff to recognise and avoid phishing attempts, viruses, and malware in emails, reducing the risk of human error.
- Protect data
Your clients and partners need to know that their data is safeguarded from unauthorised access, breach or misuse. Robust data protection measures are essential for maintaining security, meeting compliance regulations, and sustaining the trust of customers, partners, and the public. Does your company have all these bases covered?
- Employ encryption to minimise the risk of data breaches.
- Implement strategies for effective data storage and disposal.
- Utilise IAM to enhance security by controlling access, limiting permissions, and increasing visibility over user interactions with data.
- Adhere to compliance regulations concerning data integrity to bolster confidence in the overall security of your company’s data-handling processes
If you don’t have the expertise to implement these measures yourself, cybersecurity is an area worthy of investment. Spending some money now on seeking specialist help to identify vulnerabilities, fortify defences, and establish robust protocols tailored to your company’s specific requirements could save you a lot of money, time, and hassle down the line.
I have over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry and hold a Chartered FCSI qualification. I ensure that our operations are fully compliant with the rules of our most stringent regulators.