The threat of a cyberattack has never been greater. In 2021, cybercrime cost an estimated $6 trillion globally, twice as high as it was in 2015. Remote work has only increased the number of attack vectors that criminals can take advantage of. Thankfully, there are a few simple steps that companies and individuals can take to minimize the danger. Here are six ways to upgrade your data security protocols in 2022.
6 Ways to Scale Your Data Security
1. Employ Multi-factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) has become a major focus of cybersecurity within the past few years. Passwords alone have proven woefully insufficient as standalone security. MFA requires multiple convergent sources of identity proofing. Security questions, PINs, software tokens and biometrics are all examples of these factors. Increasingly, location-based authentication is being used to thwart illegitimate users based on geography. Look for further innovations like open-source FIDO authentication and the increasing incorporation of zero-trust architecture to make an impact over the next year.
2. Use Stronger Passwords
As promising as MFA is, a password is usually still your first line of defense. What makes a password “too weak” has been the focus of scientific research for years now. In general, your password should never be something personal, since this can compromise both the password itself (by being easy to guess) and certain MFA options. Choose a long string of letters and numbers, at least 12 characters in length. Incorporate symbols into the alphanumeric if you can, especially if you do use an easier password. Remember: This is all for nothing if your password gets stolen. Don’t write it down. Scale your data security.
3. Spread Knowledge of the Threats
A Stanford University study revealed that around 88% of data breaches have their root in human error. The truth is that people usually have little knowledge of the most common scams and how to avoid them. Take phishing scams, for example. In these, the target is conned into giving away personal data online or over the phone. It usually works because victims have no idea how to tell a legitimate web page from a spoofed one. If you’re a business owner, make sure that you and your employees are computer literate and regularly retrained to identify new threats. Consider it herd immunity to scammers.
4. Secure All User Endpoints
Increased connectivity has made the remote workforce a reality. It’s also resulted in an incredible diversity of endpoint devices. Endpoint security is a next-generation security doctrine designed to address this issue by both strengthening and standardizing security systems (like antivirus and firewall systems) across all of those devices. It’s also about enforcement. Detaching users who fail to comply with these standards can remove a weak link from the security chain before it becomes a liability.
5. Keep Devices and Data Stored Securely
Your digital security is only as good as your physical security. Make sure that all of your devices are behind lock and key at the end of the business day. Insist that remote workers connected to your network take the same precautions. Store your most sensitive data offline, either in encrypted discs or secured flash drives, ideally kept in a safe. Never discard any paperwork without shredding it; going dumpster diving for personal information is a time-honored tradition of cybercriminals.
6. Update Your Software
The infamous “WannaCry” attack could have been blunted if more people had updated their software. Software updates are known for being inconvenient and even causing bugs in some cases, but they also contain vital security patches against emerging threats. There’s a wide gap between the behavior of computer experts and non-experts regarding updates, and therfore a large opportunity to scale your data security . Research revealed that 64% of computer professionals update either automatically or immediately, compared to a mere 34% of non-professional users. If you’re concerned about the update, research it and schedule the update during normal downtime. It’s a good way to stay ahead of the next threat.
Scale Your Data Security: In Conclusion
Cybercrime may be common, but becoming a victim is not inevitable. Think of these strategies as a toolkit that you can use to build up your defenses in the new year.