If you’re a business owner, chances are good that you already have a cybersecurity plan. Because threats to digital security are constantly evolving, that plan can never become static. In other words, your tactics could be due for an update. Here are seven fundamental strategies for keeping your cybersecurity plan ahead of the curve. 

1. Learn About New Tech Trends

Cybercriminals are betting on the ignorance of their victims. In many cases, it’s a good wager. The average end user doesn’t have a sophisticated knowledge of computing. Even managers familiar with cloud computing and data processing might not know the types of Prometheus metrics. You don’t need a degree to notice threats and vulnerabilities. Just peruse the most current issue of a security magazine or read about common attack vectors and exploits (like SQL injections) on Wikipedia. Even a little knowledge puts you ahead of the game.

2. Intensify Staff Training

Managers aren’t the only people lacking security know-how. A report from Verizon in 2021 discovered that a shocking 85% of data breaches involved a human element. Most of this “element” consisted of simple errors like clicking the wrong link or falling for a scam. Everything you learn about emerging threats should be communicated to your staff. Have regular training sessions that emphasize straightforward tactics for avoiding the most common error-based security pitfalls.

3. Monitor Data Constantly

The status of your data is forever in flux. For that reason, data monitoring needs to be performed consistently. Effective data monitoring means checking crucial business data against strict quality control metrics. Checking the constancy and formatting of stored information can keep business processes efficient. Data should be proactively checked during the storage process. Don’t forget to include cloud monitoring if you store data remotely. These quality checks help you know what’s right and wrong with your data. 

4. Encrypt at Every Level

Encrypting your data is a powerful way to keep it secure. Unfortunately, many users only encrypt their hard drives or use an encrypted USB drive. While these steps are definitely advisable, additional encryption strategies should be used. Many communications apps (like Whatsapp) utilize end-to-end data encryption. A virtual private network (VPN) helps prevent third parties from accessing your IP address. None of these are foolproof, but each adds a layer of defense. 

5. Update Hardware and Software Regularly

Installing software updates can be a pain. Hardware upgrades mean the expenditure of resources. Even so, both are critical for cybersecurity. Some hardware vulnerabilities (such as outdated firmware) open the door for malicious code. If your operating systems prompt you to download new security patches, schedule an upgrade time that won’t interfere with workflow. Consider shopping around for deals on more advanced hardware, too. Evolving your infrastructure is a constant process. 

6. Enact Endpoint Security Measures

Within a few years, the percentage of people working remotely has increased dramatically. That trend is likely to continue. The efficiency of remote work comes at the price of added exposure for networks. For this reason, it’s critical to standardize defenses across every user endpoint. Enforce adherence to a common set of security parameters. Installing antivirus software, passcode-locking devices, and avoiding unsecured Wi-Fi connections should be fundamental security measures that the whole team can agree upon. 

7. Prioritize Response Strategies

Preventing cybercrime and responding to it are equally vital considerations. Removing affected equipment from the internet, patching vulnerabilities immediately, and containing the breach itself are all immediate steps to prevent further harm. Data forensics teams and legal counsel should also be contacted quickly. It’s advisable to visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website for a comprehensive list of steps that you can take to limit the fallout from a breach. Remember: It’s not just your data at risk. Your clients have a lot to lose in a worst-case scenario.

Cybersecurity planning doesn’t have to be a nightmare. That said, you can’t let it be an afterthought, either. The key, again, is knowledge. Stay current on the latest emerging threats, and your business will be one less victim.