The challenge of protecting sensitive data within your business processes can be overwhelming, commonly under prioritized, bumped to the bottom of your to-do list. Digital security precautions may seem like a headache to incorporate into your current practices; however, we believe that this is the perfect time of year to give due attention to updating your cyber security measures with the fresh slate of the New Year. If you take steps to safeguard your business now, it’s more likely that cyber criminals will look for easier targets that haven’t bothered to protect themselves. Below are 5 tips for quick and easy actions you can take today to ensure a first line of defense and make a huge impact on the security of your business:

  1. Enforce a Password Policy:

A great place to start instilling proper security measures is to implement a password policy among your employees. If you haven’t taken the steps to set up a password manager, bite the bullet and check that off the list. Once you have it up and running, it will significantly simplify your life, eliminating password resets or the risk of being locked out of your accounts with too many failed entry attempts. It’s a good idea to require your employees to change their passwords at least every 90 days as common practice. This is one of the simplest solutions that can immediately improve your security posture.

  1. Utilize Encryption Methods:

When protecting your organization’s internal information, encryption is absolutely necessary to incorporate into your security measures. Encoding and scrambling information helps to safeguard against prospective vulnerabilities. Personnel files, financial accounts, and other sensitive data are at risk without proper encryption practices. An easy way to immediately employ safe communication is to use end-to-end encrypted chat apps. Switching to apps like WhatsApp and Signal significantly reduces the probability of having communication intercepted. It’s too often that online communication can become problematic without sufficient security protections for data.

  1. Adopt Regular Backup Protocols:

With the near constant shifts in digital security, it remains a relevant security measure to schedule regular data backups. When you have a system in place, you can breathe easy knowing that you have a backup if malware or ransomware manages to harm your computer or device. There will always be the option to wipe the disk and start over with your information intact. Store backups either on a local hard drive, an off-site data storage location, or in cloud storage—with regular backups and password protection, you will have additional protection even when vulnerable to cybercrime.

  1. Stay Up to Date

Updating your computer operating systems seems like an obvious defense when upping your security game. Antivirus software protects valuable data stored on your device. Making sure that you have the latest version installed is an easy tip that takes only minutes to complete, but benefits your organization many times the effort. With these security measures, you should have the option to sign up for automatic updates, wherein allowing you to take this step only once. Opt in, and you should be set moving forward. Running outdated software can make you an easy target for hackers who are often on the lookout for systems that aren’t running the latest technology. It’s also a good idea to implement software to block spam and detect spyware.

  1. Educate your Workforce:

It’s surprising that with so many cyber threats only growing in breadth and sophistication, how little—or sometimes none at all—employee awareness is communicated about technology-related security measures. Outside of regular ongoing industry training, it’s never been more important to educate your employees on password policies and internet security strategies. Take the time to create and implement training materials to educate your employees and be cautious about circulating sensitive information without proper training procedures in place.