3 ways to reduce cyber vulnerabilities

Jul 30th, 2014 / Category: Email Encryption

Given the rate at which data breaches and cyberattacks happen, the threat can feel like an unavoidable nightmare, something so persistent that there's little you can do about it except cross your fingers and hope for the best. It is true that even with advanced, well-planned security measures in place, organizations across industries still encounter incidents impacting the integrity and confidentiality of their information. However, this means that it's critical to call all hands on deck for boosting security.

Here are three steps you can take to reduce your risk and bolster your defenses:

1. Fortify your password policies
It might be more convenient to use the same password for every account or to choose something easy to remember, like your first and last name. Most people know that these practices are extremely weak, but it's still tempting to resort to them. For the workplace, developing and enforcing a strong password policies for employees to use with corporate accounts can make a significant difference in protecting against hackers and unauthorized viewers.

In addition to setting restrictions for allowed passwords on company applications, IT teams can educate workers about best practices for passwords. For example, Link2 contributor and Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at RoboForm Password Manager Bill Carey offered the following advice:

  • Use numbers that look like letters to create passwords that are both memorable and complex. For example, instead of "goodnight," he suggested "G00dn19ht."
  • Leverage the layout of the keyboard to create even more complex passwords, such as typing the keys one up and to the left of the letters in an actual word. "Werewolf," he added, becomes "@34329or."
  • Take the first letter from each word of a sentence and incorporate numbers and punctuation. His example was "2B,on2B?" for "To be, or not to be?"

2. Get rid of unnecessary data
Information, especially sensitive or personal data, is a liability. Storing these facts beyond when they're needed or in multiple, less secured locations increases your risk and the chances that a data breach will carry highly damaging consequences. 

Some files are important to hold onto forever - and to back up or archive. However, many organizations retain a significant amount of data with no ongoing value or purpose for their operations. Creating a plan to permanently eliminate unnecessary information, such as addresses for one-time customers, after a set period of time can keep your system clean and reduce needless risk.

3. Implement secure file sharing tools
Having the right resources in place that keep information within a strongly protected environment can significantly lower vulnerability. As part of an overall data and network security plan, these tools provide alternatives to consumer-grade options that employees might choose for collaborating with colleagues or accessing projects remotely.

Implementing solutions that companies can manage centrally not only discourages workers from storing sensitive documents in multiple locations, it also improves options for monitoring and responding to potential issues. For example, IT teams can track the flow of data as well as turn off account access for employees who leave the organization.