Avoid 5 Security Flaws That Pose Risks to Your Company's Reputation
There isn’t a company with a perfect defense against cybersecurity threats. We’ve seen corporations that were worth millions of dollars crumble because of either internal or external security problems.
Yet, companies should always strive to minimize the chances of having their security breached. Dozens of common mistakes can be identified across multiple industries, but we will focus on some of the most important flaws that you need to remove from your business.
Security flaws can be fixed through expensive software and employee training. On the other hand, security misconfiguration is one of the more common security mistakes showing that flaws can sometimes be both caused and corrected quickly.
Importance of cybersecurity for a company’s reputationI’ve previously mentioned how multinational corporations suffered serious problems because of their cybersecurity practices. An important example in the last decade was Yahoo! This large company had some controversial features that saved more than enough user data.
Eventually, the company was the target of a cyber attack that stole more than 500 million accounts. Yahoo! has been fined a significant amount, and the situation eventually led to an acquisition by another corporation a few years after that account.
Although Yahoo! had been declining in the number of users years before the event, this has been the last nail in its coffin. Now let’s apply this situation to a smaller company or a startup. Large corporations have a lot more responsibilities, yet startups need to be more careful with how they present themselves and make decisions.
For example, if you have an e-commerce store with hundreds of customers, fraud would play a significant role in decreasing your growth and current customer base. Getting dirt on the name of your company early on can narrow your opportunities.
Furthermore, it can deal a blow to your personal reputation as well. Regardless of your industry, you need to be aware of your local and international laws and regulations. For example, if your customers come from California, then you need to look into CCPA, if they come from the European Union, you should follow GDPR devoutly.
The majority of these regulatory bodies will fine your company, which can vary depending on the size of your company. However, paying a fine isn’t nearly as destructive as long term consequences of low reputation.
5 Security flaws you should take care ofThe more technology advances, the more ways to conduct cyber attacks there are. While there have been some cases, we’re yet to see what are cyber attacks powered by artificial intelligence capable of. Overall, it’s impossible to keep track of all the cyber threats day to day.
Instead, I’m going to stick to the security flaws that have a high return on investment if fixed. Removing them won’t cost you a fortune, yet they will minimize the chances of putting your customers at risk.
1. Lack of security softwareThere are many aspects to both life and business that innovative software makes easier. When we break down a business into multiple components, cybersecurity should be of high priority, regardless of your industry.
If you’re handling large numbers of transactions or traffic, then you should implement software that will help you analyze and verify them in real-time. You can find transaction monitoring tools with various levels of customization features.
As there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, you should test out each of those tools, and see which one is the most applicable for your business. Transaction monitoring tools have large databases, allowing them to compare each transaction with examples of fraudulent and normal ones. Furthermore, they have databases of troublesome individuals.
However, if you would rather choose a more traditional way of security, you can choose regular anti-virus software. These programs did keep up with the times, but for large-scale companies, innovative services are more applicable.
There’s anti-virus software that can be utilized for protecting your business data, but you can also use it for every employee’s computer individually.
2. Untrained employeesExcept for software developer companies, there aren’t many examples of workforces that are highly trained in cybersecurity. Even in such companies, there are some people who don’t know much more than the basics.
This is completely understandable. If you have a marketing agency, you can’t expect that your employees are both capable of doing a security audit. However, there are important lessons that every individual, let alone an employee who has access to confidential info, needs to know.
You should start by doing a survey on your company that will allow you to evaluate the cybersecurity knowledge of your employees. If there’s even a single employee who thinks that the “You’ve won a brand new iPhone!” ad is true, you need to implement some form of cybersecurity training.
This doesn’t have to cover complex topics such as ethical hacking, far from that. Cybersecurity training should just help them learn how to spot malicious attacks on the internet, how to avoid ransomware and spyware, and to learn how to protect their personal data.
3. Bring your own device policy and remote workOffice equipment can be quite expensive. This is especially the case with software development or 3D design companies, as they require extensive computer resources for their employees to efficiently function.
In other cases, some decision-makers believe that company equipment is where they should save money, and allow employees to bring their personal devices. While I would rather bring my expensive laptop to work, some companies see this as a security flaw.
Office computers are more easily managed and monitored than personal devices. Whether a company implements a firewall or an internal network, cybersecurity specialists can do a lot to ensure impenetrable security measures.
On the other hand, the BYOD policy means that the cybersecurity measures of every employee aren’t standardized. Some people might use their personal computers to pirate games or movies, risking downloading malware to their devices.
Remote work companies completely rely on the personal devices of their employees, and even by giving their workforce an office budget, it’s still hard to control what will they use their computers for.
Instead of restricting the BYOD policy or abolishing remote work, you can focus on the means that you would otherwise use on office equipment to purchase advanced cybersecurity software. This way, the amount of safety of your employees will be somewhat standardized, and the chances of them compromising the company will be lowered.
4. Lack of backupIf you’ve ever lost your personal data because of a lack of backup, you would understand how is this applicable to businesses as well. The most obvious problem with the lack of backup are increased chances of data loss.
Losing vast amounts of information can lead to dissatisfied users or customers, which can impact your long-term success. Furthermore, the lack of backup makes your company vulnerable to ransomware attacks.
These attacks function by encrypting your data and then asking you for ransom. Paying the ransom is usually too expensive, so a data backup should help you get by this attack with minimal expenses.
5. Physical threatsAlthough it’s unlikely that someone will do a spy-movie way of entering your company and stealing your data, physical threats are a risk you need to take care of. Physical theft of your equipment can present a significant loss, but there’s also a lot more you need to worry about.
If you’re storing customer data on your own servers, you need to implement advanced physical security protocols. Someone breaking in can cause significant damage to your assets. Whether that’s through data theft or by simply destroying your servers, you will suffer long-term problems.
Even if you’re a digital company, physical threats can be minimized in the same way your local store does. Install a couple of cameras, and a security system, and you can also hire a guard or two.
Minimizing cybersecurity flaws will protect your companyEach year, we see both corporations and startups suffer serious blows to their operations because of a cybersecurity problem. It’s almost sad to see it, yet such problems were usually easily preventable.
If your business is growing at a desirable rate, and you have enough funds to get by, you shouldn’t save your budget on something as crucial as cybersecurity. Cyberthreats are one of the rare dangers that businesses can experience that can single-handedly destroy their success.
Overall, I’m encouraging you to analyze the security flaws that are most obvious in your business and find the most efficient ways of fixing them. This list should serve as a guide, by helping you notice the security problem that your business is most likely to have.
Veljko is a student of information technology who paired his passion for technology with his writing skills. He enjoys researching topics such as robotics and programming and cultivates his knowledge in philosophy, classical literature, and fitness. Veljko’s favorite writers are Borislav Peki?, Miloš Crnjanski, and Ernest Hemingway.
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