You may think that your business is safe because it’s not as well-known like Equifax, EA Sports, or Chipotle (just a few of the businesses that were attacked in 2017), but that’s where you’re wrong. You may not know that 43 percent of cyber attacks target small businesses. And that’s not all; 60 percent of small businesses go out of business within six months of being attacked, as reported by The Denver Post.
In 2018, a major focus of your business needs to be cybersecurity, with an eye on technologies to come, how well-trained your staff is, and most importantly: how secure your customer data is.
Keep the following in mind as you plan for another year in business. With a strong cybersecurity management plan in place, you can focus on running your business and flourishing throughout the year.
Your IT pros will need more training
Cybersecurity and the needs of the enterprise are evolving rapidly. As hackers get more efficient, your team needs to follow suit. That means your IT employees and management team may need new training to keep up with the security landscape and demands of 2018 and beyond.
Dark Reading, an online publication from InformationWeek, suggests eight skill that every IT professional needs to have in 2018. These include:
- Security analysis and investigation
- Cloud security architect skills
- Customer service skills (Internal customers, co-workers, department managers)
- Secure application development
- Risk analysis and negotiation
- IoT security
- Data management and analytics
- Communication skills
Host in-house workshops to help employees learn these skills or implement an LMS, where they can learn at their own pace, which is often more effective.
Keep your eye out for: Employees’ security habits. Your IT department can only do so much when 52 percent of data breaches are due to human error. Sign up for a workplace security workshop to make sure everyone is using best practices, not just your IT team.
Blockchain isn’t a fad
Blockchain in security is not something to be brushed off. Blockchain will change the way cybersecurity is managed for businesses everywhere. The value in blockchain is its ability to decentralize threat protection. Instead of one central marketplace for threat detection and risk management, where coverage and information are overlapping, blockchain provides more complete coverage:
“Blockchain, by nature, is a distributed approach to authenticating entities, assets, and therefore provides a much stronger architectural approach to security. Investments in technology companies who are building blockchain-based solutions are rising significantly as the investments community understands the power of a distributed approach to security,” says Mark Tonnesen, former CIO of McAfee.
With blockchain-based cybersecurity solutions, your business may be more secure in a world where even some of the largest and most powerful organizations are being attacked.
Keep your eye out for: New technologies like PolySwarm, which is the first-ever decentralized security marketplace, where security experts are rewarded for correctly uncovering threats. In 2018, look to work with antivirus and threat intelligence platforms that plug into PolySwarm, which allows the company to provide much greater security in our modern world.
Customer data privacy above all
There was at least one major data breach every month of 2017 and customers are getting fed up with the trend. That’s why the greatest priority for businesses will be keeping customer data private and secure. One way to tackle this issue is by making vulnerability management a key focus for cybersecurity in 2018. It’s the best way to evaluate your enterprise security for weak links, according to Jonathan Crowl, contributor for Mobile Business Insights.
Crowl explains, “This security solution regularly scans your enterprise environment for weaknesses such as unpatched software and other vulnerabilities related to any assets on your network, including software, hardware, and cloud-based solutions.”
This may require hiring a new employee whose main focus is to monitor for threats and submit reports to IT, where the risk can then be mitigated. It may also require a secondary form of vulnerability monitoring from a third party. Check out some popular tools to consider for additional monitoring at SC Magazine.
Keep your eye out for: New alternative security tools that are built to protect against the newest ransomware and hacking threats. Your “old standby” may no longer be enough to keep your business, employees, and customers safe.
Stay secure in 2018
Keep these ideas in mind as you head into the new year. Attacks always get better; they never get worse. Attackers, like anyone else, learn from public data points on successful attacks. In 2018, mitigate these challenges by improving your IT employees’ skill sets and putting a vulnerability management plan into place. Finally, don’t dismiss blockchain, which could be the security solution your business needs to grow in a safe and secure environment. Stay on top of new technologies so you can implement as necessary, allowing you to keep your business alive and healthy for many years to come.
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a content marketing consultant and freelance writer. She’s been part of a growing startup for two years now, where she’s learned a lot about running a business and being resourceful. She now owns her own business and has been featured on Forbes. She’s also written for StartupNation, Manta, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07.