5 ways to reduce your cyber security risk

| October 12, 2018

Cyber security risk should be a high priority concern for your business, whether you’re a high profile corporation or a home-based organisation. We tend to think of cyber security risk as being more of an issue for IT departments and security organisations. However, cyber security risk is more likely to affect small-to-medium sized businesses, who are less likely to have effective security measures in place.

What is Cyber Security Risk?

Cyber security risk occurs when you have a vulnerability in your network or system. They could be flaws in the coding, insecure passwords or outdated versions of software. These risks will always exist within your business, but you can take steps towards minimising your risk exposure and ultimately, secure your data.

Here are some simple steps that anyone (and everyone) should take to reduce cyber security risk:

1. Password Management

There’s a good chance that unless you’re using random password generators, your passwords are too weak. It’s tempting for users to reuse passwords they already know, usually be some combination of significant names or numbers. AKA easily hacked. Ensure passwords are strong, use SSO protocols, and a password manager if required to keep track of them all.

2. Increase Employee Awareness

It sounds incredibly obvious, but ensure your employees are on the ball. Susan in Accounting probably has her password stickied to her monitor, where anyone can see it! Dave in HR just clicked that super obvious phishing link. Come on Dave, get it together! In all seriousness though, ensuring your team understands the gravity of cyber security is more crucial than the IT department altogether. If everyone takes those steps to avoid cyber traps, IT can make much better use of their time.

3. Restrict Admin Access

System access should be frequently evaluated and updated as necessary. Having multiple users with access to sensitive data they don’t need creates an unnecessary cyber security risk within your business. Give users access to administrative accounts or sensitive data only if they require it to perform their job.

4. Screen All External Devices

Everyone has multiple smart devices now, and many of them are being used in the workplace (even for work!). Employees regularly cart iPhones, iPads, laptops, and flash drives into your office, probably without a second thought. Are they being connected to your office WiFi? That’s a risk right there. Ensure all devices are screened, or at least enrolled in a secure mobile device management program.

5. Keep Everything Up to Date

Finally, ensure that you keep all operating systems, network devices, software, apps, et al up to date. It’s easy to defer updates (yes, its annoying to restart your system) but it’s so important to do it. Developers often release these patches and updates in order to correct system vulnerabilities. So quit procrastinating and update your system.

At the end of the day, keeping abreast of cyber security risk is pretty simply, so there’s no excuse for anyone to avoid it. These simple tips should be integrated into your company culture, to make them second nature. Cyber security itself is a vast topic that could populate a hundred other articles, but it’s not as daunting as it seems. Everyone has the ability to reduce cyber security risk in business and at home.