Vulnerability Checklist: How to Minimize Online Risk

5 min read

It’s never been so hard to run a business than nowadays. The dramatic economic situation worldwide, coronavirus pandemic, and never-ending, frustrating political tensions take their toll. Besides, cybercrime wrecks industries more severely than ever. Thus, global economy losses from cybercrime crossed the line of $1 trillion last year, involving nine-tenths of companies worldwide.

Modern businesses use various kinds of software and devices, which are potential targets and mines of information for cybercrooks. Each type of software has its vulnerable sides, and any device connected to the Internet could become a passageway for hackers.

Poor authentication management, defective defense measures, end-user errors, and cybersecurity bald patches are the main types of cyber vulnerabilities. Any one of which could be a reason for a successful hacking attack and, ergo, a company’s collapse.

Vulnerability is a weak spot in the company’s digital environment. Feebles in firewall, software, web server, operating system, wireless network, and authorization protocols are the leading causes of successful cyberattack attempts. It is vital to maintain a proper, up-to-date level of cybersecurity to defend your business from cybercrime. For example, staff education programs, reliable, secure software, and implemented cybersecurity standards could significantly increase a company’s cybersecurity.

Company’s Online Vulnerability Prevention Checklist

  1. Reduce Human Factor.
    Employees are responsible for, at least, the fourth of successful cybercrime attempts. Humans tend to make snap decisions such as clicking the phishing link, install malicious software, or download files with a special “surprise” inside. To exclude such risks, company managers should explain to their employees the basics of cybersecurity and hold special education programs regularly.
  2. Update Software as Often as Possible.
    Many managers and staff members disregard software updates. But in fact, every new security update improves overall digital infrastructure. It reduces the risks of a successful cyberattack being a timely counteraction to any attempt. Cybercriminals always seek for a weak point and security updates “anticipate” their next move.
  3. Control Employees Access.
    A regular sales manager or warehouse worker doesn’t need to access accounting data, health insurance files, or other vital information. You will protect a substantial amount of data by precisely distributing access permissions between the staff.
  4. Create Strong Password.
    It is not safe to use “password” as a password anymore. And, in fact, it never was. Cybercriminals implement more and more password hacking methods, causing us to create more sophisticated passwords than ever. According to a Microsoft report, more than half of users replicate passwords that can be hacked within a dozen shots.
    Reliable passwords should include digits, lowercase and uppercase letters, and various symbols. Employees should avoid using the same password for different accounts.
  5. Firewalls and Antiviruses.
    Such software filters information that enters your company’s digital environment. It reveals, targets, and defuses malicious data and files.
  6. Protect Your Company from Phishing Emails.
    Phishing emails usually contain malicious software and link, so the company’s workers should know how to distinguish “good” e-mails from the “bad” ones that only pretend to be sent from legitimate sources.
    Spam may also be dangerous, so advanced spam filters could beneficial. Word filters, blacklists, whitelists, and other features are the most popular among users.
  7. Two-Step and 3FA Verification.
    Two-step verification significantly increases the level of cybersecurity within your company and makes life much more difficult for cybercrooks. For example, this feature asks a user to confirm his identity by sending him a passcode to his smartphone. This way, third parties won’t be able to access the company’s online accounts and exploit the data inside.

    Three-factor authentication (3FA) includes information in three categories that a user should provide to get access. These categories include:
    1. Direct information (IDs, passwords, etc.);
    2. Possessions (ID cards, one-time passwords tokens, etc.);
    3. Biological trait (fingerprints, face/voice recognition, retina scans, and others).
    Such verification assures an outstanding level of security. Although, not all companies have the possibility to implement it. 
  8. Back-Ups of Corporate Data and Cloud Security. 
    There could be nothing worse than losing all data at once with no possibility to restore it. Back-Up copies of corporate data could exclude such possibility. Those could be stored on company servers or external hard drives.

    Cloud-based hosted services which store ample assets of a company’s data have their own vulnerabilities. To protect its information, a company needs to:
    1. Implement strict access management among employees and guests;
    2. Prevent unauthorized access attempts;
    3. Make sure that data assets are encrypted and protected by relevant security posture
  9. Use Reliable Software.
    Reliable software means a lot because it serves as the basis of a company's everyday activity. Collaboration platforms, data-sharing applications, and other means should be well-protected. Managing user’s privacy includes a set of security measures. Such as end-to-end encryption, open-source foundation, two-step verification, etc., can shield a company's environment from unwelcome intrusion.
  10.   Zero Trust Concept.
    In a modern reality where cybercrime, data breaches, and personal data exploitation thrive, the Zero Trust Concept should prevail. This concept lies in a divisive attitude towards all subjects of Internet activity and service providers.

    Thereby, a business owner should treat with extra caution all acts of digital communication within a company's environment by questioning each of them in terms of security and trustworthiness. Such an approach could minimize the risks of data damage and hostile actions from the side of cybercrooks.

Vulnerabilities Managing Is a Necessity for Any Business

By implementing all mentioned above steps, a company can shield itself from perpetrators and unwelcome intruders. The integrity of the digital environment is crucial for businesses because the risks of being bruised have never been so high. According to statistics, bigger half of once cyberattacked businesses have been closed due to drastic consequences of data breaches and financial and reputational losses.

Any business should implement the aforementioned checklist to its system, adding new concepts and adapting them to its own needs. The company’s vulnerabilities are open doors for hostile intruders and ought to be eliminated both by managerial and regular employees.

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