Skip to main content

Now that most of our daily transactions are conducted online, cybersecurity has become a hot topic. Fraudsters are always looking for opportunities to steal data and continue to develop more sophisticated methods . If your company regularly handles sensitive information such as credit card numbers or social security details, staying proactive with your security is mandatory.   

The threat of cyberattacks continues to grow because hackers are also becoming more sophisticated at targeting organizations that handle sensitive information. Whether you’re operating in the financial, telecommunications, or healthcare industry, cyber hygiene is paramount to your stability. This infographic will break down the stats, facts, and best practices on cyber hygiene.

Complacency is no longer an option with your company’s security. As the threat of fraud grows, organizations should constantly improve their security infrastructure. Apart from acquiring authentication solutions and the like, another vital component to safety is proper cyber hygiene. But what exactly is cyber hygiene?

Protecting your devices from viruses and malware is cyber hygiene. It covers a wide set of practices such as password development and access management to ensure the safety of your data. Bad actors are online, trying to get into your devices and steal information. Luckily, proper cyber hygiene ensures that cyberattacks and other related risks are kept at bay.

Since cybercriminals can penetrate 93% of company networks, managers who handle large volumes of sensitive information must have a fundamental understanding of cyber hygiene and train their staff accordingly. Otherwise, a leak can result in serious consequences.

Consequences of Poor Cyber Hygiene

The following can happen if your organization doesn’t practice good cyber hygiene.

1. Data misplacement

Data misplacement is a serious issue that can greatly impact businesses because when it occurs, data gets lost or out of sync with the rest of the information in your system. This can lead to confusion, delays, and even loss of revenue for businesses that rely on accurate data to operate efficiently.

2. Increase risks of cyberattacks

Poor cyber hygiene will put you at risk for attacks from hackers who want to steal your data or use them against you. When hackers access sensitive information like credit card or social security numbers, they can use or sell them on the black market. Criminals can then use the information for identity theft, such as opening new accounts or making online purchases.

The impact of cyberattacks on businesses is well-documented, but what is not clear is how to prevent them. Despite multiple information security methods available, hackers continue to find ways to get through a system and ultimately steal information.

Security measures like VPNs, firewalls, double authentication, and IDs can protect you and your business. Applying more than one method will strengthen the protection, but it’s still imperative that you look out for any malicious events and keep up with technological updates to ensure safety and security.

3. Loss of client and company data

Data loss can be accidental or malicious. Accidental data loss usually occurs when someone inadvertently deletes files or a system crashes. Malicious data loss occurs when someone intentionally tries to steal or damage company information.

These events are often referred to as data breaches, which occur when someone gains access to sensitive data without authorization. This could be done through malware on a computer or by stealing devices with sensitive information like laptops or USB drives. It could also be done by hacking into the system remotely.

Businesses with poor cyber hygiene are more likely to suffer from data loss since the system isn’t updated, making it vulnerable. Cyber hygiene may not be the most glamorous thing to handle, but any business with sensitive information needs to stay on top of things to protect the company and clients.

4. Software vulnerability

This refers to a flaw or weakness in the software design that hackers can use to steal an organization’s sensitive data, including personal information and intellectual property. Software vulnerabilities can be exploited through phishing, social engineering, and other techniques.

These vulnerabilities are often caused by human error during the application or system development, such as when developers do not follow secure coding practices. They may also result from insufficient testing, improper configuration management, and other factors contributing to poor cyber hygiene.

5. User privilege issues

Sensitive files must be handled only by authorized individuals. If user privileges aren’t correctly managed, unauthorized users may accidentally or purposely leak information.

The problem is that some businesses have been slow in adopting new security practices and policies that help protect their users’ information. As a result, it has become easier for cybercriminals to breach the security of systems and gain access to sensitive information.

Cyber Hygiene Best Practices Checklist

If you’re unsure where to start, here is a cyber hygiene checklist that details the best practices you can adopt.

1. Back up sensitive data consistently

There are many reasons why businesses should back up sensitive data regularly. First, it’s a good idea from a security standpoint. If your business is compromised by hackers or other malicious actors, a backup can help you get back on track quickly.

Second, it allows you to recover from emergencies not caused by cybercriminals like fires that can destroy your physical servers. Without a backup, you’d have to start over with brand-new hardware. Finally, backing up your data allows you to recover from human error, like accidentally deleting an important file or formatting the hard drive.

2. Implement multi-factor authentication whenever applicable

Even if you have a password that’s hard to crack, hackers can still get into your system if they have the resources to guess it or if you accidentally leave the door open. That’s why it’s important to add another layer of security: multi-factor authentication.

With multi-factor authentication, you’ll need something extra—like a code sent to your phone —to get into your account. This makes it harder for hackers to break in because they would need both your password and that extra factor.

3. Periodically set, manage, and review restrictions 

Businesses should set, manage, and review restrictions periodically because it helps them stay aware of what’s happening in their networks and with the devices connected. It also allows them to be up-to-date with the latest software updates and patches so that they don’t fall behind in terms of security.

It’s the same concept as that sign that says, ‘All employees must wash their hands.’ Sometimes people have to wash their hands to manage their work properly, which also applies to restrictions because periodic reviews are needed to keep things current and safe.

4. Create strong passwords

You’re probably already aware that your organization should have strong passwords. A good password helps protect your company from being hacked, but it can also help prevent employees from inadvertently sharing sensitive information with a fraudster. 

Unfortunately, most managers fall to the misconception that their staff should change their passwords regularly. To be frank, experts such as Microsoft state that this practice isn’t ideal since frequent password changes can cause people to make weaker codes. Instead of changing passwords regularly, a better alternative would be to acquire multi-factor authentication solutions for your company.

5. Consider using a VPN

There are several reasons why businesses should use VPNs. For one, they help protect your company’s data from threats like phishing and hacking. Succumbing to these threats won’t only expose you to potential lawsuits but also cause you to lose your clients’ trust.

Another reason is that VPNs provide an extra layer of security against viruses and malware, allowing your employees to work more efficiently without worrying about losing sensitive information.

6. Use firewalls

A strong firewall is an essential part of a business’s security. A firewall is a system that monitors traffic coming in and out of the network, blocking or allowing it based on a set of rules. These rules can include IP addresses, ports, and HTTP headers. A strong firewall will block all traffic unless someone with the proper authority permits it.

Businesses need strong firewalls because they are vulnerable to attacks from both inside and outside their networks. An insider inappropriately accessing data or systems could cause significant damage by leaving a weak spot in the company’s defenses. A hacker who finds a way around your firewall could easily steal valuable data if they manage to access your network.

7. Install and update antivirus software

The easiest way to maintain good security practices is by installing antivirus software on your computers, servers, and mobile devices. This identifies malware and other viruses and removes them before they can cause any damage.

Some businesses don’t realize that they have antivirus software installed until they lose data due to an attack. If you don’t have this software, you may lose valuable information—and potentially even more.

Stay Safe and Protected

With cybercrime, theft, and fraud rapidly increasing, businesses must take the necessary precautions to protect their assets by practicing good cyber hygiene. You want to ensure that any kind of data—whether your company’s or your clients’—is secure. Better security means decreased chances of cyberattacks.

If you are interested in learning more about identity and access management solutions, contact us now. Our team of experts will surely offer you the best solutions. Contact us to learn more.

"*" indicates required fields


Request Demo

"*" indicates required fields