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At this point, you’ve heard it enough. 2020 was a struggle in many ways. The best part about 2020 is that the countdown to 2021 is on.
Though, if you’re expecting to start planning your year in January after day one has passed, you’re already behind the ball.
Now is the time to start planning (and create that cybersecurity resolution!) so that you can hit the ground running in January. If you don’t, you’re going to be using up valuable goal-achieving time figuring out what goals you want to achieve. At the same time, your competition will be well ahead of you.
With less than 30 days left until 2021 arrives, what strategies can you add to your goals to move the needle forward on your business’s cybersecurity in 2021?
Well, two main themes are going to carry over into 2021. Those are:
- The pandemic. It isn’t going to be over once the midnight bell rings and we all yell ‘Happy New Year.’ Even with vaccines coming soon, we will still have to deal with it for a while longer.
- Ransomware. It has increased year over year and will do so in 2021 as well.
Based on these themes, we’ve put together five strategies for better cybersecurity in 2021.
#1 Focus on what’s going to move the needle.
Unless your business has thrived in the pandemic, it’s safe to say that in 2021 your budget for cybersecurity will be smaller. This is especially true if your business lost the majority of its revenue last year.
A key strategy is to focus on what cybersecurity activities will move the needle most for your business. Not what is the lowest cost, but what will move the needle. That may still mean a significant investment, but a laser-focused significant investment.
#2 Continue working on securing your remote employees.
On January 1st, the pandemic will still be here, and we’ll still need to protect our businesses while working elsewhere than the office.
If last year you got yourself out of the office quick or switched to doing business virtually without much thought to cybersecurity, then here is your chance to catch up!
Some ideas to get you started are to:
- Protect your business’s computers with a good antivirus, VPN, and a firewall.
- Encrypt your business’ computer’s hard drives and any removable media you use that contains confidential information.
- Learn how to detect phishing emails.
- Educate yourself and employees on picking a safe and secure workspace that won’t expose company information.
#3 Patch up your new technologies.
Lots of businesses adopted new online technologies to keep them operating during the pandemic. Because of the accelerated timeframe required, chances are the decision was to get them running now, and someone would look at cybersecurity later.
Like the last strategy, this is your chance not only to catch up but also to prepare for the future. If you intend to continue using these new technologies in your business post-pandemic, then secure them now.
Focusing on your business’s cybersecurity while you have the time now will put you ahead of the curve in the future.
Some ideas to get you started:
- Turn on MFA everywhere.
- Secure remote meetings (Such as Zoom)
- Identify what data your business has, where it is, and whether it’s adequately secured.
#4 Work on ransomware resilience.
Unfortunately, ransomware isn’t going anywhere. If you aren’t able to recover quickly, it can be a devastating experience.
However, if you haven’t already been affected, you can prepare, so you don’t have to experience ransomware woes.
The biggest thing you can do to protect against ransomware is to have excellent regular backups. I know that carving out the time to complete a backup can be a pain. Still, in the event of ransomware, hard drive failure, or even theft, your backups could be what makes the difference between resuming operations or closing up shop for good.
Another thing that helps with ransomware is getting good at detecting phishing emails. Ransomware is distributed commonly via phishing emails. Becoming adept at spotting these will reduce ransomware’s chances of getting on your computer in the first place.
A third and last thing to prepare for ransomware is by developing recovery plans and procedures for events like ransomware.
Knowing who will do what tasks and where the materials are they will need can help your business recover quickly. Having written plans and procedures also enables testing of those plans and procedures, confirming that you can recover when you need to recover for real.
#5 Develop a culture of cybersecurity.
You can add as many cybersecurity tools and features to your business as you want. Still, these days all of your employees, not just those in IT, are your first line of defense.
Like a safety culture, cybersecurity counts on everyone to do their part and look out for each other. Suppose everyone takes your business’s cybersecurity as seriously as you do safety. In that case, your business will have much success in preventing cybersecurity incidents.
You can begin fostering a culture of cybersecurity by:
- Develop employee awareness of cybersecurity concerns and issues.
- Educate employees that everyone in the business has a role in protecting the business from cybersecurity threats.
- Regularly test your employees’ resilience to cybersecurity threats with mock phishing emails and other simulated experiences.
- Celebrate and recognize successes and good cybersecurity behaviors.
More on building a culture of cybersecurity here.
2021 is almost here. Instead of thinking of it as relief from 2020, think of it as an opportunity.
Think of it as an opportunity to enhance your business. To prepare it for growth and continued success once the pandemic is over and the world’s economies start to recover.
What’s your plan for 2021?
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