In today’s digital age, cybersecurity is a matter of utmost importance. With the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyber threats, businesses must continuously assess and enhance their cybersecurity posture to protect sensitive data and maintain digital trust. But how do you know if your cybersecurity measures are up to par? In this article, we will explore 6 key signs that indicate it’s time to improve your cybersecurity posture.
1. Frequent Data Breaches and Security Incidents
One of the most obvious signs that your cybersecurity program needs an upgrade is the occurrence of frequent data breaches and security incidents. If your organization experiences a high number of security incidents, such as data breaches, malware infections, or unauthorized access attempts, it’s a clear sign that your cybersecurity measures may be lacking. Over the last few years, there has been an increase in cyber-attacks experienced by companies. This has led to sensitive information being exposed and financial losses. Experiencing multiple security incidents or data breaches within a short period of time, should be a wake-up call to strengthen your defenses and reevaluate your cybersecurity strategy. This may include strengthening your network security, implementing robust access controls, and regularly patching and updating software and systems to help stay ahead of emerging threats.
2. Lack of Employee Training and Awareness
Your employees are often the first line of defense against cyber threats. Not having a recurring cybersecurity awareness and training program doesn’t address human error, which is often the weakest link. If your workforce lacks awareness and proper training in cybersecurity best practices, they may inadvertently expose your company to risks. To reduce this risk, regular training and awareness programs are essential.
Investing in cybersecurity training and awareness programs for your employees is a proactive approach to upgrading your security. At a minimum, good training programs will include topics such as identifying phishing emails, secure password practices, data handling, and cybersecurity incident reporting and response procedures.
Adding simulated cyber-attacks like social engineering and phishing attempts, provides the training your employees need to recognize tactics and identify tricks cybercriminals use to get employees to reveal crucial company information or click on malicious links.
As threats change over time, training and awareness programs should be updated and refreshed with courses to ensure employees continue to stay informed about the latest threats and best practices.
3. Weak or Reused Passwords
The use of weak or reused passwords is a common security pitfall. Passwords protect our accounts, and weak or reused passwords can be an open invitation for cybercriminals. If employees are allowed to use easily guessable passwords or the same password across multiple accounts, its time to consider updating your password policy to include the following:
- Complex passwords: Create unique, strong passwords for each account. A strong password should include a combination of upper and lower-case letters, special characters, numbers, and be at least 14 characters in length.
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Whenever possible, implement MFA for your accounts since requiring a second verification step, such as a temporary code sent to your mobile device, adds an extra layer of security.
- Password manager: Consider the use of a password manager to assist with generating, storing, and auto filling complex passwords for your accounts. Password managers not only make creating and keeping track of your passwords easier, but they also prevent password reuse.
4. Weak Network Security
IT networks allow computer devices and endpoint users to communicate, share resources and files, and leads to an increase in productivity. Networks serve as the backbone of your digital operations, but if they are not properly managed and protected, they can expose you to a wide range of threats. Whether it’s a device that hasn’t been configured with the proper firewall rules, is an unsecured Wi-Fi network, or is missing an intrusion detection system, not managing network security can be a costly mistake. Below are two ways your network security can be improved:
- Secure Wi-Fi networks: Ensure your Wi-Fi networks have strong passwords, default router login credentials are changed, and encryption protocols are enabled to provide improved security. A separate guest network should also be configured for visitors.
- Firewall and intrusion detection: Installing a firewall with an intrusion detection system (IDS) is important for monitoring network traffic for suspicious activity. Identifying and mitigating potential threats before reaching your network is a valuable investment.
5. Outdated Software
Using outdated software leaves a company exposed to new threats that evolve. Running outdated and aging software where the developer is no longer providing updates or support, can allow cybercriminals to access your systems, steal data, or launch attacks. A good security practice is ensuring software and systems receive regular security patches and updates. If software used in operating systems and applications has reached End of Life (EOL), it’s time to upgrade.
6. Inadequate Endpoint Security
Endpoints (laptops, desktops, and mobile devices) are commonplace in businesses and are often an entry point for cyber-attacks. Modern threats, like advanced malware and zero-day vulnerabilities, require advanced endpoint security solutions. Often referred to as antivirus or antimalware solutions, it’s important to ensure endpoints are equipped with up-to-date protections designed to detect and block malicious software. If you’re relying solely on traditional antivirus software, it may be time to consider an upgrade to keep up with today’s threats.
Encryption is also important in protecting endpoint devices. Unencrypted data is an open invitation to cybercriminals. If you’re not encrypting sensitive data both at rest and in transit, you’re leaving a significant gap in your cybersecurity posture. Implementing robust encryption protocols on all endpoint devices will help protect your information. Encryption scrambles data to make it unreadable without the proper decryption key and protects sensitive information in case of theft or unauthorized access.
In today’s digital landscape, cybersecurity is not something you can afford to overlook. The signs mentioned in this article are clear indicators that your cybersecurity maturity needs improvement. Proactively addressing these issues can help protect your organization and its data from a wide range of cyber threats. Keep in mind that cybersecurity is an ongoing process, and staying vigilant is essential to safeguarding against ever-evolving threats.
This is where the CatchMark Technologies Cybersecurity Team can help. We can assist your company or business with an assessment to identify areas of concern. We also provide services to help establish cybersecurity programs to improve your cybersecurity posture, meet cybersecurity standards, and achieve compliance with regulatory requirements.