8 Cybersecurity Essentials for Your Chicago Business

Chicago's economy is booming - bolstered by rapid growth across Bio and FinTech, Auto Manufacturing, Plastics Development, Energy, and Professional Services. With a steady stream of talent from local universities, hundreds of burgeoning startups, and billions in foreign investment, Chicago businesses will only continue to grow. But with increasing cybercrime, more Chicago companies realize just how costly interruptions are to their business. A recent report from IBM found that the average data breach now costs $3.86 million, and takes 280 days to identify and contain. Despite the steep figures, proper defense-in-depth security strategies do much to keep businesses and their employees safe from cybercrime. 

Here Are 8 Essential Cybersecurity Strategies to Keep Your Chicago Business Running Securely:


  1. Conduct a Security Risk Assessment - Understand potential security threats (e.g., downtime from ransomware) and the impact they may have on your business (lost revenue). Use this information to shape a security strategy that meets your specific needs.

  2. Train Your Employees - Because cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, an ongoing semi-annual training plan should be implemented for all employees. This should include examples of threats, as well as instruction on security best practices (e.g., lock laptops when away from your desk). Hold employees accountable.

  3. Protect Your Network and Devices - Implement a password policy that requires strong passwords that expire every 90 days. Deploy firewall, VPN, and antivirus technologies to ensure your network and endpoints are not vulnerable to attacks. Consider implementing multifactor authentication. Ongoing network monitoring should also be considered essential.

  4. Keep Software Up to Date - It is essential to use up-to-date software products and be vigilant about patch management. Cybercriminals exploit software vulnerabilities using a variety of tactics to gain access to computers and data.

  5. Create Straightforward Cybersecurity Policies - Write and distribute a clear set of rules and instructions on cybersecurity practices for employees. This will vary from business to business but may include policies on social media use, bring your own device, authentication requirements, etc.

  6. Back Up Your Data - Daily backups are a requirement to recover from data corruption or loss resulting from security breaches. Consider using a modern data protection tool that takes incremental backups of data periodically throughout the day to prevent data loss.

  7. Know Where Your Data Resides - Maintaining oversight of business data is an important piece of the security puzzle. The more places data exists, the more likely it is that unauthorized individuals will be able to access it. Avoid “shadow IT” with business-class SaaS applications that allow for corporate control of data.

  8. Control Access to Computers - Use key cards or similar security measures to control access to facilities, ensure that employees use strong passwords for laptops and desktops. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff.

For more information about supporting your business with any of the above cybersecurity solutions, please reach out to iCorps for your free IT consultation.

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