Maybe it’s the faceless nature of cybercrime that has countless companies back on their heels. Perhaps executives con themselves into believing that their cybersecurity is just fine, thank you. Possibly it’s just too “below the line” for them to even worry about.
Whatever it is, all across America, complacency reigns.
Even as you read this, companies large and small are falling victim to cybercrime. Yet organizations continue to go about their business with – quite literally - a false sense of security.
Considering the amount of damage a single data breach can cause — serious legal exposure, astronomical remediation fees, reputational damage, erosion of customer trust, etc. – underestimating the potential danger of cyberthreats is one of the worst mistakes you can make.
Worst case, it could kill your business.
What follows are the top six cybersecurity mistakes - and how you can adjust your security habits and practices to avoid them:
1) Inadequate authentication policies
The issue: Weak passwords are a hacker’s best friend. Yet we’re shocked (shocked!) at how many people still use passwords like “password,” “12345” or “admin.” (Feast your eyes on a list of the top 100 worst passwords of 2022.) When you consider the incidence of online fraud, it’s clear that such passwords are not fulfilling their job description. Another “worst practice”: Using the same password across multiple accounts, which gives a hacker a better chance at gaining access.
The fix: There are numerous desktop and mobile apps for randomly generating, managing and storing complex passwords. Using any of these is much safer. Enabling multifactor authentication is also a sensible step. Looking just slightly ahead, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have now advanced to the point where they may leapfrog biometric techniques like fingerprint and facial scans and instead utilize nearly hacker-proof behavior-based systems
2) Careless email practices
The issue: Weirdly, despite repeated warnings about opening unsolicited emails, people continue to fall for phishing, social engineering, and other online scams. Patently bogus offers and seemingly legitimate threats from banks, tax authorities or law enforcement continue to proliferate in corporate inboxes nationwide.
The fix: Think before you click. Common sense and due diligence are keys to your security when it comes to email threats. Before clicking on anything that seems suspicious, use your better judgment -- stop, think and verify.
3) Poor network administration
The issue: Vulnerable systems are a reflection of poor network maintenance. IT admins who fail to properly secure network devices; implement strict authentication or validation procedures; enforce data encryption; or monitor user privileges leave open multiple doors for cybercriminals to access credentials and other critical data.
The fix: Bring on a competent and security-conscious network or system administrator. Effective administration means setting and enforcing strict security policies and practices that keep your IT infrastructure protected and running smoothly.
4) Lack of employee awareness and training
The issue: You’ve heard it before, and here it is again: human error is the leading cause of data security breaches, which means that your employees may be your weakest link. In fact, according to a Cybersecurity Dive article, "56% of insider threat security incidents were caused by negligent or careless employees" (Ponemon Institute).
The fix: Train your staff to keep a security mindset top of mind. You can start with basic security awareness training. Introduce your employees to the latest tools and best practices for staying safe inside and outside your organization.
5) Thinking antivirus programs are enough
The issue: Uh, they’re not. While it is imperative to run antivirus software, it isn’t a magic pill. It is reactive, i.e., it can only alert you of a malware infection once it is already in your system, and it can't protect your organization’s systems from newer strains.
The fix: In addition to scrupulously adhering to regular system and software updates, make sure to employ a smarter, more proactive solution to protect your systems.
6) Relying on your own
The issue: With cyberthreats constantly morphing and mutating, many IT experts don’t even know what shape the next menace will take. In this environment, DIY cybersecurity may itself be a threat.
The fix: Whether you’re a small- to medium-sized business (SMB) or an enterprise, you most likely need help bolstering areas like penetration testing, security monitoring or incident response. Start by partnering with a managed security provider like Charles IT. We offer solutions that utilize the latest and most advanced hardware and software on the market to fortify your network’s defenses so that you can focus on IT projects that will have a real impact on your bottom line.
Charles IT is the leading managed IT services in the Northeast. Give us a call today to learn more.
Editor's Note: This blog has been updated from it's original publish date.