As businesses continue to shore up remote and hybrid workspaces, cybersecurity practices are more vital than ever, as hackers create new threats to outsmart security developers and providers. Simultaneously, cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated. According to a study by Deloitte, the number of cyberattacks using previously unseen methods increased by 15% amidst COVID-19.

Businesses must adapt to the everchanging landscape of cyberattacks to prevent breaches and hacks. Here are four best practices for implementing a strong cybersecurity strategy.

Identify risks and implement threat monitoring

The first step toward a comprehensive cybersecurity plan is identifying a business’ risks with home offices being less protected than centralized offices. Employers must understand the threat landscape and what an attack could mean for their organizations. First, take inventory of the Internet of Things (loT) – including network hubs, personal devices, wearables and cloud storage. It is estimated that by 2025, there will be 64 billon loT devices globally, and these are all entryways to cybercrime.  Knowing what needs to be protected will also help identify gaps in current cybersecurity plans.

To create a foundation of cybersecurity awareness, install threat monitoring tools, firewalls, and anti-virus solutions. Threat monitoring tools block malicious threats like malware, ransomware, and phishing. Firewalls create barriers between trusted and untrusted networks, preventing access to suspicious IP addresses. Anti-virus tools can prevent, detect, and remove malicious files.

Enact a proactive cybersecurity strategy

After identifying risks and creating a base strategy, it is essential to enact a proactive cybersecurity plan. 

Businesses can stay on top of potential network threats by continually stress testing their networks. This can also be as simple as spotting indicators of behaviors that could lead to a cyberattack, such as using an unknown network source or downloading data to an external device. Identifying these actions will allow employees and employers, alike, to stop them before they lead to a breach.

Deploy the right cybersecurity tools to protect your new business models

Safeguarding networks is essential, especially since remote workers likely have fewer security measures on their home networks. Network security solutions, like access controls and URL filtering, proactively protect employees’ devices and the data that they are accessing.

IT teams can also follow simple steps to protect employee devices. Updating devices’ software in a timely matter can help protect users from threats. Password management solutions are equally as important, as employees can create strong passwords and easily and safely store or access them. Multi-factor authentication tools also add an extra layer of protection for employees accessing potentially sensitive information.

Educate employees on best practices and how to handle attacks

The value of employee cybersecurity education cannot be overlooked. Well over half of the breaches that happen in the U.S. involve company insiders, according to a study by IBM. Employees must be continuously trained and educated on recognizing and reporting evolving cyber-attack methods.

Preparing a detailed plan for employees to follow in case they fall victim to a cyberattack will help minimize immediate damage. A response plan should include tactics and timing for alerting employers, clear steps for recovery and considerations for handling an attack when remotely working.

Employee education can come from an outside trainer, online courses, or internal reminders, but it is best to use a combination of these approaches. Standardized education campaigns and simulated cyberattacks are just a few ways to help keep employees aware.

Protect your business against the new threat landscape with an extensive cybersecurity plan

Cybersecurity should be top of mind for any business, big or small. It is crucial to implement a strong plan that includes customized cybersecurity tools, multipoint employee education and proactive network monitoring.

A strong technology partner can help you design and execute a cybersecurity plan that is tailored to your business’ needs. As cyber threats and attacks are continuously evolving, your tech partner should be well-informed on the latest resources to help you protect your business. In 2021, Comcast’s Advanced Security program protected nearly one billion unique devices (a 12x increase from 2018) from billions of cyberthreats before they reached customer devices – and as those numbers continue to grow, the need for a fully-comprehensive security plan increases as well.

If your organization could use support developing its cybersecurity plan, visit business.comcast.com.       

Jeff Marston is vice president of Comcast Business in Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky