October 9, 2023
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month
October is here, and along with the fall season comes an important observance for businesses across the globe – Cybersecurity Awareness Month. As technology continues to advance, so does the risk of cyber-attacks on businesses, the importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated.
Payroll providers play a crucial role in managing sensitive employee data such as social security numbers, bank account details, and salary information. Any compromise in the security of this data can have severe repercussions for both the payroll provider and the client company. Payroll providers must ensure that they have robust security measures in place. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as we saw with Kronos in 2022, and Zellis earlier this year.
Recognizing the sings of cyber threats is a critical component in ensuring you do not fall prey to them. Although cyber-attacks are constantly evolving to react to new security measures, the most common examples are as follows:
Cybercriminals send emails pretending to be from legitimate sources, tricking recipients into revealing sensitive information or clicking on malicious links. Education and email filters are key defenses against this threat.
In a ransomware attack, hackers encrypt an organization’s data and demand payment to restore access. Regularly backing up data offline is one way to mitigate the impact of such attacks.
Cybercriminals manipulate individuals by exploiting their trust and emotions to gain unauthorized access to systems. Vigilance, employee training, and implementing strict data access controls can help prevent social engineering attacks.
As an industry leader in cybersecurity, we have found that robust security measures are critical to avoiding such threats. Here are a few suggestions for bolstering cybersecurity:
Using a Certified and Insured IT Company
Choosing a certified and insured IT provider is vital for safeguarding your business. An IT provider undergoes rigorous assessments and demonstrates compliance with industry standards to obtain certification, ensuring they meet recognized security requirements. Additionally, their insurance coverage provides an extra layer of protection, giving you peace of mind. Certified and insured IT providers have the expertise to implement strong security measures, shielding your sensitive data and computer systems from various cyber threats like viruses, hackers, and data breaches. By partnering with them, you ensure capable handling of your cybersecurity, reducing the risks and potential harm caused by cyberattacks.
Role-Based Access Control
This refers to providing individuals with access to specific systems and resources based on their job function or role within an organization. For example, an employee in the HR department would have access to employee information like performance evaluations and payroll information, while a sales employee would have access to customer information and sales reports. Employees in the finance department would have access to finance records such as income statements and balance sheets. By implementing role-based access control, employees will only have access to the information and tools necessary for their role, ensuring data integrity, confidentiality, and security within the organization.
MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication)
MFA is an additional layer of security that requires users to provide multiple credentials, such as a password and a one-time code sent to their mobile device, to gain access to a system or application. MFA is a powerful security measure that helps prevent unauthorized access, even if a password is compromised.
SOC (System and Organization Controls) Audits
A SOC (System and Organization Controls) audit is a comprehensive, voluntary examination of a company’s security controls and processes. By conducting a SOC audit, the company can assess its ability to protect confidential client information and ensure that its systems are operating effectively. This audit provides several benefits, including the identification of vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the company’s security posture, reassurance to clients that their data is being safeguarded, and compliance with industry regulations. Ultimately, SOC audits help bolster the company’s reputation, instilling trust and confidence in its clients.
Monthly Security Awareness Training
Security Awareness Training is regular training to educate employees about current security threats, best practices for password management, phishing prevention, etc. This helps employees stay informed about potential risks and empowers them to identify and mitigate them effectively. There are many security awareness training options available such as: Proofpoint, Phished, and KnowBe4. Your IT provider may already have a training available.
Cybersecurity insurance offers a vital layer of financial protection against the losses that may arise from these incidents. Whether it is a sophisticated cyber-attack, a malicious data breach, or any other digital-related crimes, cyber insurance helps businesses recover their financial losses, cover legal expenses, and potentially mitigate reputational damage. This proactive approach not only safeguards businesses’ operations and assets but also reinforces their commitment to data privacy and security, giving clients and stakeholders the reassurance that their information is adequately protected.
Technology policies are foundational guidelines that organizations implement to govern the proper use of technology resources. These policies encompass a wide range of aspects, including but not limited to computers, networks, software applications, and data. This includes guidelines for handling confidential data, managing personally identifiable information (PII), encrypting data transmissions, and regularly updating security software. They provide a clear framework for technology usage, promoting responsible practices, data security, and ensuring that technology is leveraged effectively to support organizational objectives. If you don’t have one, download a sample Technology Policy here to add to your employee handbook.
Using Trusted Operating Systems (OS)
These systems provide strong security measures and undergo thorough testing. Microsoft is a trusted name in the industry and invests in maintaining their operating systems’ reliability and integrity. By using trusted OS, organizations can protect against cyber threats, including malware and data breaches. These systems come with built-in security features and regular updates. They ensure compatibility with various applications and services, enabling seamless integration. Other examples of trusted OS systems are: macOS, Linux, UNIX and Chrome OS.
When you implement these strategies, you significantly reduce the risk of successful cyber-attacks. This not only protects your organization’s reputation and business continuity, but also safeguards sensitive employee and client data. So, in honor of National Cybersecurity Month, take this opportunity to get acquainted with your company’s cybersecurity measures, make any necessary improvements, and stay up to date with current cybersecurity trends. Remember, that protecting your organization from cyber threats starts by prioritizing cybersecurity from within.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog page is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. It is advisable to seek professional legal counsel before taking any action based on the content of this page. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided, and we will not be liable for any losses or damages arising from its use. Any reliance on the information provided is solely at your own risk. Consult a qualified attorney for personalized legal advice.