Data breaches at large companies like Facebook and Delta Airlines have brought cybersecurity to the forefront of boardrooms across the world. Major corporations, the healthcare industry, and even the federal government are all monitoring network and digital infrastructures closely. However, many individuals have a hard time grasping how cybersecurity is essential to them.

Each year sees an increase in cybersecurity breaches and outright cyberattacks. In the past year alone, cybercrimes have cost companies over $600 billion dollars. While it may seem that only powerful security measures can stop these types of attacks, it is often a small error by one individual that creates a vulnerability. Companies should understand that while global safeguards are necessary, security is ultimately the responsibility of each employee.

Things Companies and Employees Should be Doing to Improve Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is only as good as all its parts are. If one link in the chain of defense is broken, critical breaches can happen. Companies must make it clear to their employees that cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility. Even the best cyber defense system or team is rendered useless if individuals do not do their part.

Companies must do their best to educate and enforce cybersecurity measures amongst employees. Here are five essential actions companies should take to ensure every piece of data is kept safe.

1. Update Your Security Policies Annually

Cybercrimes are growing more sophisticated each day and the toll taken on businesses increases each year. Cybersecurity is not a “set it and forget it” action that will be effective eternally. Often, security measures currently in place are many years old. Unfortunately, malware developers are steadily working to stay well ahead of current defense systems, rendering your security plan from two years ago obsolete.

Companies must see cybersecurity as an actionable item and should address security measures at least annually. Ideally, your security team can adapt to changes in cybercrime tactics and technologies in real-time.

2. Train Every Single Employee on Cyber Defense

It never fails: an employee receives what looks like an email from a co-worker with a link attached. One mouse click later, your company may become a victim of a popular cybercrime tactic known as phishing. These types of attacks are avoidable with appropriate comprehensive training.

Take the time to educate each employee on the variety of ways personal behaviors impact the cybersecurity of the entire company. Unfortunately, phishing is not the only way individuals create security problems for companies. From mobile app security to Wi-Fi password setup or appropriate file storage, employees should receive a wide-range cyber defense training.

3. Enforce the Use of Secure Browsers

Simple web browsing can make your network vulnerable via malware, password theft, and even secret surveillance. Secure browsers use tactics like decentralized servers, erasing all online content, and obscuring IP addresses from public viewing to ensure user safety. You may be interested in this article for a list of most secure browsers available online. Employees should be encouraged to use secure browsers both on and off campus as they may be logging in to company data portals, for example, their corporate email accounts, from home.

Browser developers like Mozilla and Google have created many options for users to take advantage of secure browsing. While maintaining a semblance of the browsers you are familiar with, plug-ins and security features provide a high level of safety on the internet. Each option is unique in what it offers to users, making it vital for your company to research which one is best for your needs.

4. Focus on Cybersecurity as an Essential Company Function

The financial impact of any data breach is far-reaching and long-lasting. Thus, cybersecurity is an essential company function that should be treated as such. Companies often find themselves addressing cybersecurity as a task on the list rather than understanding that it is a vital piece to long-term success. The same investment and planning should go into security as it goes into marketing or research and development.

5. Stay Abreast of Current Cyber Threats

Awareness of where common threats come from can keep your security team prepared for potential attacks. Many organizations globally produce reports and information on major security threats. Ensure your cybersecurity team stays on top of known issues and implements strategies to defend against these evolving threats.

Everyone Plays a Role in Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is everyone’s function. If one link in the defense chain is broken, your company will be vulnerable to data breaches and other forms of cyber-attacks. Ensure your plan includes a methodology to make each employee see the value in cybersecurity. Implementing a strong, adaptive, and all-inclusive cyber defense plan can prevent your company from experiencing a loss of consumer confidence, clients, and money.

By Harold Kilpatrick

About the author

Harold Kilpatrick is a cybersecurity consultant and a freelance blogger. His passion for virtual security extends to his early teens when he aided his local public library in setting up their anti-virus software. Currently, Harold’s working on a cybersecurity campaign to raise awareness regarding virtual threats that businesses face on a daily basis.

Featured image via Unsplash.