Keeping information safe and secure can be challenging for businesses of all sizes over the last few years. The shift from in-person to online to hybrid workplaces forced companies to change their cybersecurity practices and protocols. 85% of organizations suffered from a successful cyberattack in 2021, according to CyberEdge’s Cyberthreat Defense Report.


Businesses that have suffered cyberattacks and those that have avoided being a victim are looking at ways to improve their defenses and safeguard their data. But which plans, practices, and services should these organizations invest in?


To better protect themselves against cyberattacks, here are four steps businesses can take:


Identify the Valuable Data of Your Business  


Understanding what information cybercriminals are after is essential to combating cyberattacks. Therefore, creating an inventory list of valuable data and assets within your organization, including manufacturer, model, hardware, and software information, is of the utmost importance. In addition, take note of who has access to critical data and information while accounting for all storage locations. This practice will ensure that business leaders have a record of accessibility, so they know where to look in case of a vulnerability or breach.


Protect Assets by Updating and Authenticating


Protecting your data and devices from malicious actors is what cybersecurity is all about. To accomplish this, make sure your security software is current. Investing in the most up-to-date software, web browsers, and operating systems is one of the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Furthermore, make sure these devices have automatic updates turned on so employees are not tasked with manually updating devices. Additionally, make sure all data is backed up either in the cloud or via separate hard drive storage.


Another critical way to keep your assets safe is by ensuring staff are using strong authentication to protect access to accounts and ensure only those with permission can access them. This includes strong, secure, and differentiated passwords. 70% of people admit they use the same password for more than one account, according to a 2021 PC Mag study. Using weak and similar passwords makes a hacker’s job a lot easier. Finally, make sure employees are using multi-factor authentication (MFA). While this may result in a few extra sign-ins, MFA is essential to safeguarding data and can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful breach.


Monitor and Detect Suspicious Activity


Companies should monitor for possible breaches, vulnerabilities, and attacks, especially in a world where many often go undetected. By investing in cybersecurity products or services that help monitor your networks, such as antivirus and anti-malware software. Moreover, make sure your employees and personnel are following all established cybersecurity protocols before, during, and after a breach. Individuals who ignore or disregard essential cybersecurity practices can compromise not only themselves but the entire organization. Paying close attention to whether your company is fully embracing all of your cybersecurity procedures and technology is incumbent upon business leaders.


Have a Response Plan Ready


No matter how many safeguards you have, the unfortunate reality is that cyber incidents still occur. However, responding comprehensively will reduce risks to your business and send a positive signal to your customers and employees. Therefore, businesses should have a cyber incident response plan ready to go before a breach. In it, companies should embrace savvy practices such as disconnecting any affected computers from the network, notifying your IT staff or the proper third-party vendors, and utilizing any spares and backup devices while continuing to capture operational data.