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Cybercriminals are constantly innovating their tactics and tools to breach yesterday’s defenses. That’s a huge problem because organizations today work with more customer data than ever before. A single data breach can not only bring productivity to a halt, but it can actually hit the bank accounts. Since breaches are on the rise, so are the regulations and consequences for those who don’t adhere to them. Which means a breach can also trigger an avalanche of fines and lengthy court cases (and, yes, we mean for small businesses). 

To keep the latest and most dangerous threats from inflicting damage, businesses must look for innovative ideas that can increase their data security. As it turns out, we have three right here based on our years of experience with helping our clients keep sensitive data secure.  

1. Implement a Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) 

Not that long ago (even though it may not seem that way), most employees and their work devices were in one place, behind a strong firewall that acted as a moat between the office network and the public internet.  This traditional castle-and-moat approach to network security went obsolete in 2020 by the pandemic since most workers had to perform their jobs from home. The aftermath (which arguably, we are still not fully experiencing yet) is that remote and hybrid work is now a necessity rather than a luxury. Even on an ad hoc basis. 

What’s the best bottom line to ensure data security when employees are allowed to work both from the office and from various remote locations, often using a mix of personal and work devices? Organizations should never trust—as in 0% of the time—anyone or anything by default. 

This is why Zero Trust Architecture evolved and is now becoming a more mainstream business practice. When implemented correctly, a Zero Trust Architecture can greatly reduce security breach incidents. Especially when you consider that 15 to 25% of them are caused by trusted business partners and so they couldn’t be prevented by relying on traditional defenses alone.  Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an important part of every implementation of the Zero Trust Architecture model. You may have heard of it recently, in fact, because more and more platforms and applications are requiring it. MFA is the practice of using two or more separate factors to authorize users. It makes access to sensitive data much more difficult for malicious insiders and outsiders to accomplish their goals. 

2. Switch to an End-to-End Encrypted Messaging Platform

Even though its history stretches over 50 years, email is still the most popular channel for communication with coworkers, partners, and vendors for most small businesses. But as useful as email is, it has one big problem: it wasn’t invented with security in mind. While all kinds of bolt-on security solutions have emerged over the years, they’re often not enabled by default or they’re so cumbersome that users frequently don’t take advantage of them. 

Fortunately, email isn’t the only viable communication channel that organizations can use these days. There is an ever-growing slew of communication platforms and tools, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Telegram, Viber, and WhatsApp. They all enable end-to-end encryption with a few simple clicks, making it easy for their users to enjoy the extra security that email lacks. 

3. Conduct Virtual Reality Security Awareness Training 

According to research from the security software firm Trend Micro, 91% of cyberattacks begin with a phishing email. Why? Because humans are usually the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. Which actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

While cybersecurity professionals spend their days studying the latest threats and the ways to protect organizations against them, regular employees are busy editing Excel spreadsheets, sending emails to clients, answering phone calls, participating in meetings, onboarding new hires, composing financial reports, and so much more. It’s no wonder then that they so often fail to tell the latest phishing scams from legitimate email messages. That’s why organizations have been investing in security awareness training—but with limited success. 

Employees typically describe traditional security awareness training sessions—which tend to revolve around PowerPoint presentations—as boring and unengaging. As a result, these lessons don’t stick with the learner, and the training sessions are not as effective as the organizations paying for them would like them to be. This is where immersive interactive security awareness training sessions make a huge difference. These lessons are experienced, not taught (ok, they’re a little bit taught), and the learner has real-time interaction with possible threat and benign dummy communications. What’s more, these training sessions are location-independent, so even remote employees can participate easily. 

Bonus: Partner with an Innovative Managed Service Provider (MSP)

As if actively researching innovative cybersecurity ideas wasn’t time-consuming enough, someone also must handle their implementation, management, follow up, and reinforcement. Instead of letting cybersecurity add another hat to your job-duty wardrobe, consider partnering with an innovative MSP like Help Desk Cavalry. We take all the guess work and logistical work out of ensuring your company and your data are safe. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.