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The New Year is almost upon us, which means a host of unobtainable New Year’s resolutions and a lot of promises for improvement. But what if there is a New Year’s resolution you can not only keep, but should. No, it’s not about the gym membership you’ll cancel in three months or the books you’ll never finish, it’s about improving the cyber security plan for your organization. And, if 2018 has been any indicator (Hint: it has), then 2019 is going to be an even more tumultuous year for organizations battling cyber attacks and trying to keep up with the latest and greatest in cybersecurity to keep their organizations safe.

Here are a few easy tips to get you started on your cyber security plan for 2019.

Understand What You’re Working With

This is a critical first step in any improvement program, but especially when it comes to cyber security.

The tools you have at your disposal for both security and what you need to secure are going to vary greatly from company to company. Additionally, so too will the staff you have to handle it. Medium-sized-companies likely will have an IT team at the ready, perhaps even with a cybersecurity professional on board to begin to tackle some of these challenges, where small businesses owners may be struggling to keep most of their security up to date themselves. Knowing the limitations of your team is important before you go out and spend any money on products or services – especially if they’re products you can’t readily employ.

Next, you must look at the tools and weak spots within your organization — what are some of the tools that you rely on the could be targeted? Do your employees rely heavily on email and could be prone to phishing attacks? Do you collect and store sensitive data from your customers and leave it accessible on databases hackers would try and access? Do you run a popular website that draws ecommerce traffic that a DDoS attack could bring to its knees?

Understanding where your weak points are is critical in knowing where and when to build up your defenses — especially in cybersecurity.

Implement Best Practices, Wherever Possible

A lot of basic cyber security is just common sense – at least, common sense in the digital age. And a lot of attacks can be prevented with a handful of good practices implemented across your team or organization.

Take passwords for instance. It’s common knowledge not to share your password, but do you know how often you should change your password? And how you should structure that password to thwart hackers?

Another good place to start is outside links – or phishing emails. Instructing your employees on how to handle suspicious emails — or even to know what a suspicious email looks like – can do wonders against phishing scams.

The days of leaving your password as “password1” and trusting every email that comes in are long gone — and organizations that don’t play it safe will pay the price. Just a few small best practices taught and managed across your organization can help tie up a many of the human error loose ends of your cyber security plan.

Keep Apps and Operating Systems Updated, Always

Frequent updates to your computer can quickly evolve from a minor nuisance to major pain and strain at work, but when it comes to cyber security, every update is critical.

Cybercrime is ever-evolving, which means the security that goes into stopping the latest, cutting-edge threat is crucial to implement in a timely fashion. Not keeping your security systems and software updated in today’s digital world is like leaving your front door unlocked — it’s only a matter of time before something or someone gets in.

It’s frustrating, but those frequent updates are what’s keeping your data and organization secure. So next time one pops up on your computer or personal device, don’t save it for later.

Be Suspicious

One of the key rules in preventing cybercrime is, if it looks suspicious, it is suspicious.

Especially when you’re dealing with the cyber security of an organization, you never can be too careful. Often, cyber attacks may not look like a massive data breach or ransomware attack. There won’t be any black screens with skulls that take over computers and give you a countdown of time you have left to pay the hackers. In fact, most attacks are quiet, and may just slow services or install new programs onto machines and servers.

If something ever feels off or wrong with your computer or network, it’s a good idea to take a look and see if you’ve been breached.

Rely on a Professional Team

When all else fails, it’s best to go to the professionals for your cybersecurity needs. At NENS, we have experience ranging from training staff on cybersecurity best practices to patching software and preventing the latest threats from accessing your data. Contact us today to learn how we can help secure your organization for 2019 and beyond.

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