During the 2021-22 financial year, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) received over 76,000 cybercrime reports1 – an increase of 13% from the previous financial year. The threat of cybercrime is becoming more prevalent for businesses, which is why it is so important to take appropriate measures to protect your organisation and employees.
Here are some tips to help you be more proactive in protecting your business and reduce the risk of cyber threats.
Employee Training and Awareness
One of the most significant factors contributing to cybersecurity breaches is human error. To combat this, ensure that employees are aware of potential threats and understand the importance of following security protocols. Regular training sessions should be conducted to familiarise staff with different types of cyberattacks, such as phishing, malware, and ransomware, as well as the consequences of falling victim to these attacks. Encourage employees to report any suspicious activity and reinforce the importance of maintaining strong passwords, avoiding suspicious links, and safeguarding sensitive information.
Implement Robust Security Policies
Having clear and comprehensive security policies in place can help establish a strong foundation of protection. These policies should cover aspects such as access control, data handling, password management, and incident response. Regularly review and update these policies to ensure they remain relevant and effective. Additionally, make sure all employees are familiar with these policies and adhere to them consistently.
Secure Your Network Infrastructure
A strong network infrastructure is critical. Begin by installing a robust firewall to prevent unauthorized access to your network. Regularly update your software and hardware to ensure they are equipped with the latest security patches. Implement virtual private networks (VPNs) for remote access and secure Wi-Fi connections with encryption and strong passwords. Regularly monitor your network for any signs of intrusion or suspicious activity.
Encrypt Sensitive Data
Data encryption is an essential aspect of cybersecurity. By encrypting sensitive information, you make it more difficult for cybercriminals to access and exploit it in case of a breach. Use encryption tools to protect data both at rest (stored on devices or servers) and in transit (while being transmitted over networks). Additionally, secure sensitive data with strong access controls and consider employing a data loss prevention (DLP) solution to prevent unauthorised data transfers.
Regularly Backup Your Data
Regular data backups can help businesses minimize the impact of a cyberattack or data loss incident. Back up your data on a routine basis and store copies in different locations, including offsite and in the cloud. Test your backups regularly to ensure they can be restored effectively in case of an emergency. Implementing a disaster recovery plan can further help your business recover quickly from a cyber incident.
Work with Trusted Partners and Vendors
Your business’s cybersecurity is only as strong as its weakest link. Ensure that any partners or vendors you work with have robust security measures in place and that they adhere to your security policies. It is important that you regularly assess their security practices and consider incorporating cybersecurity requirements into your contracts with them.
It is essential to stay informed of the latest cybersecurity trends and threats, as well as continuously evaluate and improve your organisation’s security measures. Cybersecurity is not a one-time effort but an ongoing commitment to safeguarding your business in an ever-evolving digital landscape.
ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report, July 2021 to June 2022, Australian Cyber Security Centre, November 2022