Whether it’s to detect a phishing scam or another form of cyberattack, best practices in cybersecurity are constantly evolving to keep pace with new tactics cybercriminals use to gain access to sensitive data, including login credentials.
In this article, we’ll explore the steps your business and employees can take to significantly mitigate the risk of a cyberattack, protect sensitive information, and ensure long-term data security for your business.
Cybersecurity Best Practices to Keep Your Credentials Safe
From using multi-factor authentication (MFA) to implementing strong passwords, there are a number of steps your business and employees can take to reduce the threat of a cyberattack. The first step is committing to a company-wide education and training process that informs employees about common “red flags,” while offering them the tools and resources (software, IT support, and otherwise) that empower them to execute any updated best practices with confidence.
1. Create Distinct Passwords
Unfortunately, it’s quite common for employees (at work and at home) to use the same password for different accounts. This decision to duplicate passwords may be more convenient, but it creates a serious “domino effect” if even one account is compromised by a security breach. That’s why most security experts advise employees to use distinct passwords for each account, especially for a business email login versus a payroll login. Passwords should avoid obvious phrases and include at least 12 characters that blend letters, symbols, numbers, or “pass phrases.” Of course, if a data breach occurs in any area of your company, all employees should change their passwords.
2. Use Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) and Secure Devices
Two-step or multi-factor authentication requires the successful entry of the account password, as well as the entry of a security code that is sent to a second device through SMS or, in some cases, an authentication app. In most cases, this means that a cybercriminal would require access to the account password as well as the employee’s phone to successfully log in to an account. MFA is an increasingly common security protocol for businesses seeking to reduce the risk of compromised accounts. We also recommend securing all company devices by setting up password protection and MFA for any device used to access accounts, business email, etc.
3.Limit Employee Access to Sensitive Data
Whether it’s payroll, IT, or another facet of your business, you should limit account access on a case-by-case basis, granting it exclusively to employees who must use a device or software as a key part of their job responsibilities. With payroll as an example, it’s wise to split payroll duties between multiple employees to delegate responsibilities, but also to reduce the possibility of fraud.
4. Update Antivirus and Security Software Regularly
Your antivirus and security software should remain up to date on all company devices and your employees should use the latest version of any email system or OS your company uses. Even when routine updates are missed, it can expose your devices to new threats that are not covered in an outdated version of your antimalware software or another security feature. Your email platform can benefit from the use of more specialized spam filters, file encryption, VPNs, and other protections, but simply staying up to date with your core software tools is a step in the right direction.
5. Educate Your Staff About Common Phishing Scams and Develop Reporting Protocols
Cybercriminals constantly modify their phishing techniques to attempt to gain access to sensitive employee and company data. That’s why you should regularly brief your employees on new types of threats, whether it’s individual phishing, phone-based phishing, or business email compromise (BEC) – arguably the most harmful tactic. BEC often targets payroll employees by sending an email from a look-alike account (sometimes using a legitimate employee name) to attempt to solicit login credentials, banking information, or personal information that can be used for financial gain. These scams often involve social engineering tactics on the part of the cybercriminal: an attempt to create a sense of urgency, panic, or guilt in the recipient and increase the likelihood that they’ll surrender sensitive information or make payroll updates reactively.
Although these types of emails sometimes contain obvious grammatical errors, requests to click links, suspicious URLs, or requests for personal information, sometimes they can be quite convincing and sophisticated, which is why training is necessary to help your employees assess these emails with greater vigilance. Additionally, it’s essential to involve your IT staff in the process and develop clear protocols for reporting the receipt of suspicious emails or requests. It may also be useful to clarify company policy for verifying an employee’s credentials any time a payroll modification (change in direct deposit account, for instance) is requested.
6. Routinely Backup Your Company and Employee Data
Among other forms of data you should backup to a secure location, it’s especially useful to create an email archiving system. Not only does this ensure that important correspondence, calendars, and company data is stored safely in the event of a security breach, it also empowers your business to analyze attempted security breaches that occurred during a specific period, targeted a specific department/employee, or consistently sought passwords or another type of information. If a compromise does occur, you can leverage your archived emails to more quickly assess the scale of the security breach, and potentially determine the source.
Boost Cybersecurity and Enjoy Payroll Peace of Mind with Workforce PayHub
Join the fight against cyber threats and enhance your security with our mandatory multi-factor authentication and password protocols. At Workforce PayHub, we apply a range of secure login requirements that help your business and employees stay protected. Along the way, you’ll benefit from a comprehensive payroll solution that keeps your data safe, your payments on time, and your legal compliance in order.
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