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Factoring in more sophisticated cyberattacks, bad actors and cyber gangs, 2023 is shaping up to be a very challenging year for businesses and organizations looking to stay safe and secure.

As we head into the new year, companies need to prepare with an increased focus on cybersecurity, especially with more businesses transitioning to cloud-based infrastructures to handle everything from systems and products to services and tools. This shift has markedly raised the cyberattack surface, and the number of failure points. And failure should not be an option for your enterprise. 

With threats from cyberattacks looming large and the financial costs and damage to reputations looming even larger, now is a good time to embrace some resolutions, particularly where security is concerned. To help face the coming threats, here are eight cybersecurity resolutions every business should consider heading into 2023.

1. Be proactive

When it comes to cybersecurity, every business and organization needs to be proactive rather than reactive. Proactivity begins with conducting a vulnerability check to build a cyber defense structure designed to detect and prevent cyber assaults. An A+ assessment should include stress tests and mock attacks that will help cybersecurity professionals to modify configurations associated with infrastructure. In addition, consistent patching of firmware, applications, and operating systems will curtail vulnerabilities. 

2. Have a plan

Even if you are proactive, your company could still experience a data breach. That’s why it is imperative that your business has a comprehensive action plan in the event of a cyberattack. This plan should outline the required steps to stem reputational or financial damage or stop an ongoing cyberattack. Within this plan, action steps should include alerting authorities, weighing the impact of the attack, and communicating to customers and partners. 

3. Crack down on credentials

With most business being conducted online, protecting your organization’s intellectual property and sensitive data must be a priority. Verizon reports that credential theft is the cause of 89 percent of web application data breaches. Restricting access to authorized accounts is key. At the minimum, strong password policies that impose requirements on length and complexity are paramount to successfully guarding credentials that access systems. Even better is multifactor authentication (MFA), requiring a user to provide extra information or use another channel to establish identity. For example, secure codes provided by email or SMS. Unfortunately, only 55 percent of organizations are currently deploying MFA, which can greatly improve security. Resolve to implement MFA to your systems.

4. Watch that posture

Bad actors and cyber thieves are continually trying different ways to exploit weaknesses in an organization’s system. It’s what they do. To stop them, your company should be analyzing and testing your security posture on a regular basis. Too much is at stake. Information gathered from these tests must be examined to make certain that there is a complete grasp of the security system while identifying new weaknesses.  Consider utilizing cybersecurity solutions such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to increase the odds of halting an attack.

5. Get in alignment

The cybersecurity risk factor is accelerating, and businesses seem to be allocating more dollars to IT security. But increased spending is not going to thwart all the potential threats. You still need to place trust in your employees, technology, and processes to help cover your fragile points. Will you invest in employee education or in a security operations center. Maybe in new technology?

For business leaders, it is important to have a strategy to avert cybersecurity attacks without depending entirely on your IT team. They are often stretched to the max, handling every problem that arises. They also do not have time to put a strategy in place. The key is having your entire team play a role in meeting cybersecurity challenges, which means education. But collaboration also needs to extend to your whole ecosystem including vendors, experts, and peer-like organizations. Don’t enter this fight alone. At lightning speed, cybercriminals are plotting on a big scale, sharing data about vulnerabilities, possible targets, and breached systems. Align with your local law enforcement and other groups such as the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA Small & Medium Sized Business Resources, and FTC Cybersecurity for Small Business. More alignment with private organizations and government will help quicken the identification of threats and lead to faster outcomes. 

6. Increase employee education 

As we touched on above, education will go a long way in helping your business and employees stay safe and secure. Your workers are the foot soldiers who can assist in stopping cybercrime. It is vital that every employee is highly aware of cyber risks, including how to defend against attacks, and identify threats. Employees should be able to recognize fraudulent software and murky links and learn not to leave devices unattended. Employees should also be acquainted with procedures and policies about cybersecurity. For example, they need to know the proper channels to go through to report possible issues.

Your company’s IT team should develop and implement a structured cybersecurity training program that is clear, and easy to understand so they have the knowledge to act if a threat develops.

7. Hunt for data stores

Most companies have an array of databases stored in unexpected spots. This could be spreadsheets with financial information dropped into offsite file share services or development servers hosting databases with personal information. You probably know where your main databases and file shares are but what else is hanging out there? Regardless of the source, you will need to find the non-standard locations and then categorize the databases before you can take measures to secure the information.

8. Plug Up Phishing Holes

In 2021, 83 percent of organizations reported experiencing a phishing attack with those numbers on the rise as 2022 draws to a close. Let’s face it. It’s not a matter of if you will be phished, but when. To help your workers elude phishing, you need to show them how to identify this common social engineering attack. While cybersecurity awareness courses are effective, social engineering tests may have a bigger impact. One test tactic is to send out fake emails to see if your employees take the bait. If they are hooked, your team can give them a short, targeted lesson, showing them how the phish could have been identified. Lessons learned will help stop future attacks.

Start fresh in 2023

Even if you recently had some cybersecurity challenges, the start of a new year is an excellent time for a fresh beginning. By making resolutions to improve your cybersecurity posture, you can have a stronger, more secure infrastructure and a less stressful 2023. At VirnetX, we can help your business become more secure in 2023 and prepare you for what’s ahead with two great products: War Room and Matrix. 

War Room is an encrypted construct only visible to authorized users and combats threats and hackers from invading video meetings. Built with a Zero Trust philosophy and backed by VirnetXOne – VirnetX’s proprietary Gabriel technology.   

Matrix enforces access policy controls and enables real-time network management to protect cloud or on-premises applications from threats. The platform safeguards applications and contemporary remote workforces from sophisticated hackers and mitigates threats by enabling corporate applications to be invisible to unauthorized users.

For more information, please visit https://virnetx.com/.

About VirnetX

VirnetX Holding Corporation is an Internet security software and technology company with patented technology for secure communications, including 4G LTE and 5G security. VirnetX’s software and technology solutions, including its secure domain name registry and Gabriel Connection Technology™, are designed to facilitate secure communications and to create a secure environment for real-time communication applications such as instant messaging, VoIP, smartphones, e-readers, and video conferencing. The Company’s patent portfolio includes over 200 U.S. and foreign-granted patents, validations, and pending applications. For more information, please visit www.virnetx.com