Cybersecurity has become a top issue across all industries as hackers continue to learn more sophisticated methods to breach business networks. No longer can a company just rely on antivirus software. Now a business needs multiple security solutions operating together to ensure its data is safe. Here are the steps needed to prevent a data breach, according to the Forbes Finance Council.


  1. Hire a Cybersecurity Expert

The first step to protecting data is to find an experienced IT firm that specializes in cybersecurity. The employees should be well trained with certifications. Ideally, the firm has access to a national database that monitors current viruses, worms, malware, and ransomware.


  1. Separate Business and Personal Accounts

Whether the business uses local infrastructure or a “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy, business and personal data should be separate. Although the employee may be able to access their business account or email at all times, the company should prevent them from mixing these resources with personal use. Corporate data should be encrypted.


  1. Educate Staff About Cybersecurity

Employees, even for tech firms, don’t necessarily automatically know even the basics about cybersecurity. An enterprise cannot afford to assume it’s something that goes without saying. Only in recent years has cybercrime become a serious issue that now affects all businesses. When someone is hired they should be trained about cybersecurity with a sense of urgency to be on the lookout for attackers.


  1. Use Strong Passwords

Simple passwords such as “password” or the software’s default should never be used because hackers use “dictionary” hacking software to test millions of passwords. The best passwords have at least 8 characters, do not include easy-to-read words and mix special characters and numbers with both upper and lower case letters. Complexity is the key to password strength.


  1. Follow FINRA’s Checklist

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has established a thorough checklist for cybersecurity best practices on its website. Businesses of all sizes should use this list as a reference and follow FINRA’s advice to plan for a breach so that the company is prepared to take action during an emergency.


  1. Set Strict Policies

Since most cyberattacks occur due to employee error, such as clicking a suspicious email, an enterprise needs to set strict policies on who can access its network and how they can use it. It’s best if the network is segmented so that employees are only able to access certain parts according to their job description. Policies may also involve blacklisting specific applications and websites. Once policies are set they should be strictly enforced.