The pandemic has forced many businesses to consider and adopt remote and hybrid work models. Research shows 70% of employers are working towards adopting a hybrid work setup for employees, while a lower percentage are focusing on going fully remote.
While remote and hybrid work models certainly have their benefits, they have also exacerbated security challenges for companies and professionals whose core jobs are not IT-focused.
Some of these are existing issues, while others are new challenges resulting from remote work.
Non-IT leaders are still an integral part of preventing cybersecurity attacks, and solutions don’t have to be technical or complex to be effective. When businesses operate in an increasingly threatening online environment where attacks are costly and can have catastrophic consequences, cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility.
Here’s how non-IT leaders can make a significant impact on preventing ransomware and cybersecurity attacks.
Create a Company Culture Focused on Security Best Practices
The best cure is prevention, and the people who make up your business are often the biggest risks for your cybersecurity. If your employees and vendors don’t understand cybersecurity best practices, that’s creating an inherent risk that no amount of damage mitigation can change.
Employees need to be trained and educated about the role they play in a company’s security every day. Creating a company culture focused on security best practices can lower your risk for a cyberattack dramatically.
Preventative measures are much more affordable and effective than trying to mitigate damage and repair your company’s reputation after an attack has already happened.
In part, trainings should focus on identifying and avoiding phishing emails, regularly changing passwords and creating strong passwords, as well as password management best practices.
Understand Where Common Threats Originate
About 60% of cybersecurity threats originate from inside a company, partly from human error. One of the most common threats is phishing emails, which appear to be from someone inside the company and contain harmful links that release ransomware.
Malware in the form of an email attachment or link that employees can click on allows the malware to install itself to render the network useless and transmit data, which hackers can then hold at ransom from a company.
Understanding that the most common attacks on a business come from inside its walls can change the way non-IT leaders approach security and preventative practices for employees and vendors.
Have a Plan in the Event of an Attack
While there’s much to be said for training employees and preventing attacks, non-IT leaders must also have a plan in place in the event of an attack. Businesses have to assume an attack will happen—it’s a question of when, not if.
There should be a professional in charge of cybersecurity at your company. This person can organize and conduct trainings, create a plan should an attack happen, and have the authority to shut down systems and contact the appropriate authorities if necessary.
As part of this plan, there should also be a way to communicate if systems need to be shut down to ensure the problem can be handled as efficiently as possible.
Backup Your Data Consistently and Install Software Updates
Backing up your data is essential, and you certainly don’t need to be an IT leader to do this.
Attempting to restore your data after an attack has taken place without a backup can be challenging and costly. If you have a current backup of your information, especially of critical data, you can save time and money in the event of an attack.
In addition to backing up data, install updates or patches as available, especially if there’s a known security issue. You can set backups and updates to occur automatically to reduce risk.
Regular updates can help ensure your systems are as protected as they can be against attacks and prevent hackers from finding vulnerabilities they can exploit.
Remember You Don’t Have to Be an IT Specialist to Make an Impact
Non-IT leaders can help create a cyber security-conscious culture and implement best practices that reduce risk to create a safer place for remote and hybrid work models. All of a company’s procedures have the potential to prevent ransomware and cybersecurity attacks, so whether or not you’re an IT leader, you can make an impact.