6 Tips to Keep Your Business Safe This October Cybersecurity Awareness Month & Beyond

Updated on October 29, 2023
A programmer is typing a code on a keyboard to protect a cyber security from hacker attacks and save clients confidential data. Padlock Hologram icons over the typing hands.

With October Cybersecurity Awareness Month in full swing, now is the perfect time for you to analyze if you are doing all you can to keep your company safe from online threats. From phishing schemes to data breaches, hackers and con artists are constantly devising new ways to defraud businesses. So whether you run an online store or a multinational company, safeguarding against cyber attacks should be of utmost importance. 

In my journey as the creator of the 9 Year Letter™ Method (a goal-setting system for the 4 pillars of life – relationships, financial, health, and fun), I have discovered a number of ways both new and established business owners can maximize their cybersecurity. Here are 6 online safety tips to follow this October Cybersecurity Awareness Month and beyond:

Use Strong, Unique Passwords for ALL Company Logins

The use of robust and distinctive passwords is the most straightforward yet sometimes disregarded part of cybersecurity. So many business leaders just use the same password for all of their logins, or variations of the same password, which puts their company’s data and financial health at risk. Your first line of defense against unauthorized access is a password, so here are helpful ways to boost your password security:

  • Complexity Matters: To ensure the security of your password, use a length of 12 characters. It should include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. By incorporating this level of complexity, it becomes challenging for hackers to break your password using brute force attacks.
     
  • Avoid Predictability: Avoid using passwords such as “password123,” “admin,” or “letmein.” Additionally, it’s crucial to refrain from creating passwords based on information like your birthdate, name, or business name.
     
  • No Reusing: It’s vital to avoid using the same password for different platforms or accounts. If one account gets hacked, it puts all your accounts at risk if they share the password.

Keep Software and Plugins Up to Date

In the fast-paced business world, it is extremely important to keep your software and plugins up to date. When software versions become outdated, they unintentionally become points that can be exploited by hackers. Software developers address these vulnerabilities and release updates to protect against cyber attacks. Therefore, neglecting timely updates leaves businesses exposed and more susceptible to security breaches.

It’s not just the core software that requires attention; plugins and third-party applications on platforms like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal also need careful monitoring and regular updates. Thankfully, with advancements in technology, there are now automated tools that simplify the updating process and reduce the need for checks. Utilizing these tools ensures that your software constantly reinforces its defense against cyber threats.

Implement SSL Encryption

Take measures to ensure the safety of information exchanged between your websites and users. One essential tool to use is SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption. This digital shield acts as a safeguard for data like login credentials, your customers’ credit card information, and personal details as they travel across the internet landscape.

You can easily identify a website using SSL encryption by looking for “https://” in its URL. The ‘s’ in “https” represents security and signifies a protected environment for transmitting data. You may also notice a padlock icon in the URL, which provides reassurance of SSL’s protective embrace.

For businesses that haven’t yet adopted SSL, it’s essential to obtain an SSL certificate. Besides providing security benefits, it also will enhance your website’s credibility among visitors. In an era where trust holds so much value, having an SSL certification serves as a symbol of reliability. Furthermore, it may have advantages like improving the website’s search engine optimization (SEO) ranking, resulting in increased visibility in search engines and higher organic traffic.

Conduct Regular Backups

Regular backups are extremely important for businesses. They act as a safety net that protects businesses from cyber threats and unexpected challenges. Whether it’s an attack, accidental data loss, or any other unforeseen problem, having up-to-date backups ensures that business operations can continue without interruption. It’s crucial to maintain backups that include website content, databases, important configurations, and all other essential data.

An effective strategy is to store these backups securely, off-site from onsite dangers. However, it’s not enough just to create backups – it’s equally important to test them for reliability and functionality. This ensures that they are not just stored archives, but also that they can actually be used for recovery when needed.

Limit User Permissions

It is paramount to prioritize the principle of privilege (PoLP) especially when granting user access. The core idea behind this principle is to restrict user permissions to what’s necessary for them to effectively carry out their assigned tasks. By following this approach, businesses can ensure that they do not unintentionally provide avenues for security breaches.

Sometimes, organizations may grant access to a range of users or administrators in an effort to simplify administrative processes. However, this can become a vulnerability. Granting access should be the exception rather than the norm. By assigning and regulating roles and permissions, businesses can significantly reduce the risks associated with activities, data breaches, or accidental errors.

This focused approach serves as a deterrent against threats. When permissions are streamlined and closely monitored, it becomes incredibly difficult for malicious individuals within the organization to cause harm, make changes, or gain access to data. By ensuring that each individual only possesses the access they truly need, companies establish a more resilient defense infrastructure.

Leverage AI for Threat Detection

Online platforms often deal with a vast amount of data that is impractical and inefficient for humans to manually monitor and manage. Luckily, artificial intelligence has revolutionized the data monitoring process. AI has the ability to process enormous amounts of data quickly, making it an invaluable asset in modern cybersecurity strategies. AI-powered tools delve into real-time data to quickly identify anomalies and patterns that may go unnoticed by humans but could indicate security threats or impending cyberattacks.

Furthermore, AI goes beyond enhancing threat detection; it also greatly speeds up response mechanisms. The effectiveness of AI guarantees that dangers are not only discovered, but also swiftly dealt with in situations where every second matters. 

AI’s predictive capabilities are truly game-changing. It can anticipate threat vectors, allowing businesses to proactively adopt security measures and strengthen their systems before a threat materializes. In essence, AI isn’t merely a tool; it serves as an ally in the battle against cyber threats.

October Cybersecurity Awareness Month is the perfect time for you to amplify your business’s online safety measures. Using strong and unique passwords for all logins, keeping software and plugins up to date, implementing SSL encryption, leveraging AI for cyber threat detection, and limiting user permissions are just a few ways you can safeguard your business. 

By implementing these measures and by fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness within your team, you will protect your company’s assets, its hard-earned reputation, and its promising future.

Ray Blakney owner of Kairos Venture Studios
Ray Blakney

Ray Blakney is just your typical award-winning Filipino-American entrepreneur who grew up in Turkey and lives in Mexico. He has nearly two decades of business experience that have included starting, growing and leading over a dozen profitable companies along with hundreds of staff from across the USA and Latin America. Having spent his entire life across cultures, Ray knows firsthand the immense value that comes in bridging the gap between worlds. His newest venture, Kairos Venture Studios, is on a mission to bring a fresh take to online businesses in the Latin American market by launching 12 new businesses in the region each year. After hours, he can be found spending time with his family, traveling, or being a semi-professional sword fighter. He lives in Playa del Carmen, Mexico with his wife and son. www.rayblakney.com