Don’t Make These Enterprise Cybersecurity Mistakes

What Is the Biggest Cybersecurity Mistake?

Today’s cybersecurity landscape is so complex that businesses are always exposed to making some mistakes, some of which are huge. They include assuming you’re too small to be attacked, thinking it won’t cost much if you are attacked, being too trusting, not updating security software, and not staying up to date on the latest threats. But there’s one mistake that’s bigger than all the rest: not educating employees. 

Here’s why: all the research, planning, knowledge, resources, tools, and software won’t make a difference if employees aren’t on board and educated about how to handle cyberthreats. For example, one of the biggest threats today is phishing, which is when a fraudster tries to get someone to reveal personal or sensitive data by tricking them through diverse tactics (such as a fake website or an email that contains links to fraudulent sites).  

While most people know not to reveal data to unfamiliar people, not everyone does. And, even if they know that, they may not know what to do when they are in front of such phishing attempts. For the most robust cybersecurity possible, you must be able to count on employees to do the right thing when facing phishing, upholding personnel physical security protocols, running backups, updating their security software, and so much more. 

Making Assumptions

Perhaps the second biggest mistake is making assumptions about cybersecurity that simply aren’t true. Here are a few that might sound all too familiar:

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    “We’re too small to be attacked.”
    Any company, no matter the size, can become a victim of a cyberattack. In fact, because they are often not focused enough on cybersecurity, smaller companies can be easier targets. Small businesses need to be just as careful as major corporations about protecting themselves.
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    “The damage wouldn’t be that bad.”
    The most common cybersecurity attacks can cause major problems for a company. Viruses can damage or eliminate important files, worms can spread through a network to every computer on it, spyware can send sensitive company information to cybercriminals, and ransomware can prevent you from accessing your files until you pay a large sum.
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    “It won’t cost much if we are attacked.”
    You may be thinking of the cost of a cybersecurity breach in terms of dollars and cents. And, certainly, there is variation in terms of how much money it will cost you. But think also of the time and effort you stand to lose, as well as the blow to your company’s reputation.

Lack of Procedures

Another area where your company may be making cybersecurity mistakes is in its lack of procedures. Keeping your network secure takes work and diligence. Here are a few specific mistakes in this area:

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    Not updating security software
    While software updates can be inconvenient, savvy companies make it part of their cybersecurity plan. Many of today’s software is cloud-based and automatically updated. But any time a software update response appears, employees should click “Update Now.”
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    Not backing up data
    When you fail to back up data, you lose your ability to access it if it is made unavailable in a breach. That’s why cybersecurity experts have been recommending people to “back up early and often” for decades. A wide range of local and cloud backup systems are available to perform this task automatically.
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    No website audit process
    If you think your website is “only” your customer-facing asset, think again. How much revenue would you lose if your website went down? To overcome this problem, use an automated tool to perform regular security audits and hire a professional to perform more thorough checks.
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    Not staying up to date on the latest threats
    Knowing what you’re up against is a good place to start when battling cybercriminals. While every employee shouldn’t be expected to be a cybersecurity expert, company leaders should understand the threats and be prepared to face them.
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    No backup plan
    This is something no one wants to think about, but what if you are attacked? What’s the first thing you’ll do? If you don’t know, then you’re guilty of not creating a cybersecurity backup plan that can save you in the event of a breach. Even developing a quick plan to get you started is better than not having one at all.

When you’re ready to flesh it out, be sure to include things like getting visibility into your system to find out the extent of the damage, developing ways to access your backed up files, communicating with employees and customers, researching to find out how the breach happened so it doesn’t happen again, and appointing people responsible to call for help if needed.

Too Much Trust

Trust is a wonderful thing in business, but you have to know where trust ends and potentially opening yourself to attacks begins. Examine your level of trust in these important areas:

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    Employees
    You want to be able to trust your employees and, to a certain degree, you should. But, unfortunately, employees can and do participate in cyberattacks. Using the Zero Trust model limits the amount of damage they might do.
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    Cloud providers
    Different hosting locations have different rules, and they can make a difference in the safety of your business. Each cloud provider should be able to tell you where your data will be stored and how likely it is to remain in that location.
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    Vendors
    Even if you have solid policies and procedures in place to manage your data and support cybersecurity, your vendors may not. Given the access they may have to your data, you should make sure to check their processes or even require that they maintain certain rules if they want to stay partners with you.
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    Cybersecurity personnel
    It should be obvious by now that cybersecurity ought to be a priority for every company. For those big enough to hire cybersecurity professionals, be sure to check their credentials very carefully and start with small tasks to build trust.
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    Your own procedures
    If you continue using the same procedures year after year, you risk leaving holes in your cybersecurity and opening yourself to new threats. Be sure to review your policies at least once per year to make sure you’re up to speed with processes that will continue to keep your company safe.

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