It’s 2016. Time to get serious about cybersecurity.

It’s 2016. Time to get serious about cybersecurity.

If 2015 taught us one thing, it’s that information just isn’t safe anymore.  Last year may well have been the turning point for cybersecurity – the year in which hacks not only became commonplace, but started to hit businesses and governments in newly tangible (and costly) ways.  From Ashley Madison to Target to the US Office of Personnel Management, hackers caused a lot of damage to livelihoods, reputations, and economies in 2015.

2016 will be no different.  Hackers are nothing if not adaptable and opportunistic when it comes to exploiting weaknesses.  When a gaping security loophole is closed, they simply look for another one.  When one large-scale victim tightens up its systems, they look for an easier target.  Sooner or later, cybersecurity is an issue which every organization has to face.  It’s just a matter of when and under what circumstances.

This is why every business should start the new year with a few resolutions on cybersecurity.  Here are a few to get you thinking:

1. Make a strategy – or review the one you have.

So many businesses think that cybersecurity is too big to handle.  Or even worse, that they can do a one-time assessment and be set for all time.  The reality is that cybersecurity is a series of small (but significant) steps.  It starts with assessing potential weaknesses, addressing them, and then iterating that strategy again over time, adapting to new threats as they emerge.  Real cybersecurity is a lifelong process.

2. Ditch your passwords.

The drumbeat against the humble password has been getting steadier and more urgent every year, and rightly so.  Passwords can be compromised in so many ways, from technically sophisticated bots to simple social engineering. There are so many alternatives out there that there’s really no excuse any more.  Single sign-on services are an entry-level way to both amp up your security and simplify your life.  Biometric security platforms take single sign-on to an even more sophisticated level.  Whichever way you implement it, changing your organization’s approach to passwords may be the single most important cybersecurity change available.

3. Enlist professional help.

Cybersecurity can become all-consuming, particularly as businesses scale.  As systems become more complex and layered, the number of backdoors and potential loopholes tends to grow.  No business has the time or resources which they would like to devote to cybersecurity.  That’s why it can pay significant dividends to outsource.  Finding a company with the necessary expertise to both design your defenses and monitor your systems 24/7 is a worthy investment.

4. Plan for a breach.

Even the best-laid plans of I.T. departments in the cybersecurity arena can go awry.  If we learned one thing from 2015, it’s that the reactions to cyber incidents can be worse than the original breach.  Too much disclosure and too little disclosure can be equally damaging.  Part of a good strategy is to anticipate your company’s reaction when things go wrong, because at some point, they probably will.

There’s only one month left until the Year of the Monkey begins – time to monkey with your systems before someone else does. We can help.