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2021 was a record-breaking year for data breaches. A recent study by the ITRC shared that the total number of public-reported data breaches through Q3 in 2021 had already exceeded the total number of occurrences for the entire year in 2020 by 17%. 

Some of the top industries affected were the manufacturing and utilities industry with 48 reported compromises and over 48 million people impacted, the healthcare industry with 78 compromises and over 7 million people affected, and the financial services sector with 69 compromises and 1.6 million people impacted. Other industries that topped the charts were professional services and the government, both with over 1 million people impacted.

What does that mean for you and your company 2022? 

It means you better be prepared because hackers are ramping up their efforts. To help you prepare for the coming year and protect your company, your customers, and your livelihood, we’ve put together a quick checklist to help you organize what you still need to do to secure your company for 2022. 

1. Make Cybersecurity Part Of Your Company Culture

One of the big problems with implementing a cybersecurity program is that business owners will install firewalls and antivirus but don’t teach their employees about good cybersecurity habits. 

Phishing is still the leading cause of data breaches because employees still click on dangerous links and let hackers into the network. You must train them, refresh them regularly, and weave them into the company culture so that everyone is reminded and focused on keeping the business secure. 

If you need help – we offer training for this. We can work with your employees to ensure they know how to do the essential items like quickly identifying a phishing email. 

2. Update Passwords Used More Than Once

This step is an easy, fundamental one that most people skip. Stop using the same password for every account you make. If hackers guess one, they’ll be able to get into all of them. Use a password manager to stay organized and choose longer complicated passwords that are hard to guess. Not your birthday, your pet’s name, or your favorite sports team. Those are too easy, and a hacker could likely get enough information from your social media profiles to guess it. 

3. Have A Disaster Response Plan In Place  

If a data breach does happen, does everyone in your company know what to do next? Most organizations do not have a plan for how to handle the situation. Employees might be afraid to tell, not know who to notify, or take actions that worsen the problem. 

Get a disaster response plan in place, hold a meeting where you go over it, and put it in a folder that they can keep handy in case something happens. When a data breach occurs, every minute counts, so it’s critical that everyone knows what they should and shouldn’t do. 

4. Review Privileges Regularly

The average employee has access to more files, including sensitive data, than they need to do their jobs effectively. This can lead to disaster for several reasons. We’ve seen disgruntled employees delete or release data to cause problems for the business owner but more commonly, we see simple, innocent mistakes being made that end up exposing sensitive information. 

Review who has access to what information, decide if access is necessary, and adjust accordingly. 

Bonus tip – make sure any former employees that used to work for the organization no longer have access! Many business owners forget to delete ALL accesses when a team member leaves. 

What’s Next? 

Make sure you’re covering the basics like using complicated passwords, training your employees, making certain people have only the access they need, and having a plan in place in case something does go wrong. 

If you can’t say with confidence that you have all of these in place, that needs to be your priority. Start with a FREE Network Assessment. We’ll go through everything you’re currently doing, find what you might be missing, and let you know how to quickly and efficiently get everything set up correctly. 

Make 2022 your best year yet, and do it with the confidence that your company is secure! 

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