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7 Common Cybersecurity Mistakes for Businesses and How to Avoid Them

cybersecurity mistakes for businesses

Cybersecurity is no laughing matter. 78% of Canadian companies experienced cybersecurity attacks in 2020 alone. 

A major reason why companies fall victim to attacks is that cybersecurity mistakes for businesses are extremely common. However, figuring out what mistakes you are making is easy as long as you inform yourself of what common mistakes are like. Here are seven common errors among Canadian businesses. 

1. Becoming Complacent

Many small businesses and companies that do not handle essential data assume they are not targets for hackers and thieves. In reality, any company can become a victim of a hack, leak, or attack, especially companies that do not take digital security seriously. Even if you’re a small business, you must start protecting business data, as someone can use any piece of data to extort you or blackmail your customers. 

You are never done backing up your data or combatting common cyber threats. Hackers are constantly developing new tools and ways of stealing your information, so you must continue purchasing tools for cybersecurity and following the news.

2. Leaving Everything to IT Professionals

Talking to IT professionals is a great first step, but cybersecurity requires a full effort from everyone in your company. Your IT team can install as many tools as they want, but an unaware or sloppy employee can fall victim to a phishing scam at any moment. 

You must conduct cybersecurity awareness training seminars at least once a year and after any breach in your computer network. Talk to your employees about common attacks, especially phishing and ransomware. Simulate situations where employees would encounter malicious actors and have them go through steps they can take to prevent and mitigate attacks in progress. 

You should assess your own network, even if you’re not an expert in IT. Perform an IT self-assessment at least once a year that includes questions like, “Are your backups being checked daily?” 

3. Neglecting Configuration

Your cybersecurity tools must be configured to your company’s technology. The firewall you install may be for specific computers, and having the wrong computer means your firewall may not protect your devices and network from harm. Hire an IT team who can find the right tools for you and perform all necessary installation steps. 

Your tools may be configured now, but they need updates, so enable automatic updating. You can schedule your updates to take place after hours, which will prevent any problems for your business operations. You should ask an IT professional to inspect your system once the updates have been installed and make sure everything is okay.

4. Keeping Old Accounts

After you release an employee, you should deactivate any company accounts they have. Disgruntled employees can hand over their information to malicious actors and allow them to access your sensitive information. They can also steal information from your servers and extort you or leak the data to an attacker. 

If you have accounts on your company’s servers that you don’t use, you should delete them. If a hacker gains access to one account, they can gain access to the rest, especially if you share passwords across accounts. 

5. Using Easy Passwords

Your password should never contain fewer than ten characters or biographical information that is easy to guess. Think of a long password that has nothing to do with your life. You can select a random word and then add special characters and numbers to make it hard to guess. 

If you’re worried about forgetting your password, you can take a song lyric you like, write down the first letter of each word, and then add the year the song came out. “In a forest pitch-dark glowed the tiniest spark” can become “IaFpDgTtS1995!” 

6. Skipping Multi-Factor Authentication

Using harder-to-guess passwords can deter some attacks, yet using multi-factor authentication (MFA) can deter most attacks. MFA involves using a password and other details, like a code sent to a smartphone, to log into an account. You should enable MFA as soon as possible with the help of an IT team, even for junior-level employees. 

If you’re handling sensitive personal information, you should require a very hard step to log into accounts. Many companies handling credit card numbers or healthcare details require senior-level employees to scan their fingerprints or type in a code written on a keycard. 

7. Panicking When a Breach Occurs

You should take any threat to your cybersecurity seriously, but you shouldn’t overreact to an emergency. Once you learn that a breach has occurred, you should start taking steps to secure your data.

Inform your employees that they should change their passwords and move their data to offline devices and systems. Disable any affected devices or accounts. Contact the police, even for a minor breach, so you can track down who is attacking your company.

Talk to any customer who may have been impacted, even if you’re not sure that they are. Being transparent and clear with your customers will make you seem more professional and trustworthy. 

Once the emergency has passed, ask an IT professional to audit your system. They can also investigate how the breach occurred and what steps you should take to prevent similar problems. 

Avoiding Cybersecurity Mistakes for Businesses

Cybersecurity mistakes for businesses are far too common. Talk to cybersecurity professionals immediately and educate your employees about the most common threats. Install firewalls, antivirus software, and other tools that professionals can configure to your device and networks. 

You should change your passwords several times a year and enable multi-factor authentication. If you experience a breach, keep a level head and inform anyone who the breach may affect, including employees. 

The best cybersecurity experts in Canada are waiting for you. Servicad has 20 years of experience in providing personalized cybersecurity. Contact us for a cybersecurity audit today.

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