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Who’s Watching? How to Keep Your Business’ Online Data Private and Secure

As data breaches are on the rise, it is essential that businesses of all sizes prioritise their cyber security. With remote working seemingly set to stay, businesses must address the increase in exposure and ensure that keeping their data secure is a top priority. Linaro, an open-source collaborative engineering organisation, here shares its ten top tips on how business’ can keep their online data private and secure.

  1. Educate Your Employees on Cybersecurity

With IBM reporting that 23% of data breaches are caused by human error[1] one of the greatest threats to your business’s data security is employees who are poorly trained in cybersecurity. An honest mistake made by an employee can result in a cyber-attack on your businesses, so to avoid this, ensure all employees are trained and kept up to date on cybersecurity protective measures. With security threats constantly evolving, make sure your training is updated regularly.

  1. Implement Security Policies

Implementing a straightforward cybersecurity security policy is essential in ensuring your business’ data stays protected against threats. The policy should guide your employees on everything from what is acceptable when sharing data and accessing websites, as well as using computers and other devices.

Data protection must be a top priority for every business, and with personal data involved in 58% of breaches in 2020[2], one of the most important factors in security policies is how to handle sensitive and personally identifiable data.

  1. Set Strong Passwords

Something as simple as a password can be optimised to protect your businesses data, so ensure that everyone in your business uses strong passwords. Invest in a business-wide password management tool, so employees do not have to memorise each password that they create. As an additional measure, incorporate multi-factor authentication into your devices and apps to add another layer of security.

It is also important to have unique passwords for everything, including personal accounts, as the last thing your business needs is an employee’s personal email getting hacked and the hacker then gaining access to sensitive business data.

  1. Secure Your Router

With employees continuing to work from home, it is important they are informed about the risk of cybercriminals looking to exploit default passwords on home routers. Requesting any remote workers change their router’s password from the default setting to something unique is a simple step to protect your devices from malicious attacks. VPNs should be used if working in cafes or coworking spaces.

  1. Protect Against Malware

Herjavec Group estimated that by 2021, a business would fall victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds[3], Herjavec Group estimated that by 2021, a business would fall victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds and with malware attacks constantly evolving, it is vital that businesses have preventative measures installed, such as anti-malware software which is regularly updated. Software should be installed not only on business devices but on any devices owned by employees that are used for work-purposes.

  1. Back Up Your Data

It is important to back up your data, because if your business suffers from a cyber security breach, you will be able to recover any corrupted or lost information and avoid major disruption. Data should be backed up daily using multiple methods, including cloud storage, portable devices and external drives.

  1. Limit Users Access Permissions

According to the Varonis 2021 Data Risk Report, on average, every employee has access to nearly 11 million files[4]. Not everyone in your business needs access to all the data you own, so limit employees’ access to just the data they need to do their job. Administrative permission should only be assigned to trusted members of staff to ensure employees who are not skilled within certain roles do not accidentally make changes to important data.

  1. Encrypt Your Data

Data encryption adds an extra layer of security to your business, ensuring your data is secure from hackers and other threats. Even if hackers do expose your data, it is much more difficult for them to reach and use if you  convert it into a secret code before it is sent over the internet. The best approach is to encrypt everything all the time.

  1. Perform a Cyber Security Audit

One of the best ways to find where your businesses’ security vulnerabilities lie is to perform a thorough audit to identify any weaknesses and detect potential risks. Once identified, it is easier to start making changes that will better protect your business.

Every business, no matter the size, should be conducting regular security assessments. If you do not have an in-house IT resource, a third-party IT expert will be able to carry out the necessary checks, identify any potential gaps and implement the security measures.

  1. Create A Recovery Action Plan

Preventing a data breach is always the main goal, however, as such attacks are so widespread, with one every 39 seconds[5], it is always best to prepare for the worst and have a recovery action plan in place for your business. The ability to quickly detect a breach can save millions in some situations.

Working with your in-house IT staff, or an experienced third-party IT consultant, your recovery action plan needs to be thorough enough that any interruption to your business only last hours, rather than days or weeks. Once created, it should be reviewed and updated at least once a year.

Notes:

  1. https://www.ibm.com/security/data-breach
  2. https://enterprise.verizon.com/resources/executivebriefs/2020-dbir-executive-brief.pdf
  3. 3. https://www.herjavecgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/CV-HG-2019-Official-Annual-Cybercrime-Report.pdf
  4. https://info.varonis.com/hubfs/docs/research_reports/2021-Financial-Data-Risk-Report.pdf
  5. https://eng.umd.edu/news/story/study-hackers-attack-every-39-seconds

About Linaro:

Linaro leads collaboration in the Arm ecosystem and helps companies work with the latest open-source technology. The company has over 250 engineers working on more than 70 open-source projects, developing and optimizing software and tools, ensuring smooth product roll outs, and reducing maintenance costs. Work happens across a wide range of technologies including artificial intelligence, automotive, datacenter & cloud, edge & fog computing, high performance computing, IoT & embedded and mobile. Linaro is distribution neutral: it wants to provide the best software foundations to everyone by working upstream, and to reduce costly and unnecessary fragmentation. The effectiveness of the Linaro approach has been demonstrated by Linaro consistently being listed as one of the top ten company contributors, worldwide, to Linux kernels since 3.10.

To ensure commercial quality software, Linaro’s work includes comprehensive test and validation on member hardware platforms. The full scope of Linaro engineering work is open to all online. To find out more, please visit https://www.linaro.org and https://www.96Boards.org.

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