Checklist for an effective online security strategy for your business

by Yaren Guzelarslan

Checklist for an effective online security strategy for your business

Cybercrime is a growing threat evolving as fast as defenses we create to fight against them. Every day, more and more businesses fall victim to cybercrime, from social engineering attacks and malware to data breaches and ransomware. Implementing an effective online security strategy is no longer an option for any business that wants to remain safe in this new dangerous environment. By following the checklist listed below, you will be able to protect your business and its customers from ever-growing threats.

#1 Perform regular cyber security assessments

Before even considering implementing the following steps, you need to know the threats your business faces. By being aware of the dangers, you can create an effective strategy to help you avoid them. This is why performing regular cyber security assessments is essential, as it allows you to identify the dangers and any vulnerabilities that cybercriminals could exploit. How often security risk assessment should be conducted depends on the business, but it shouldn't be less than once a year. Security experts suggest keeping your risk assessment a continuous process conducted every time there is a relevant change within the company, such as new hardware being introduced, significant employee turnover or a new security policy being established. 

#2 Fix any vulnerabilities as soon as they arise

After identifying the issues, you can create an action plan to eliminate them. These issues can be found anywhere within your business operations, from software that is not up to date, an unsecured wifi connection, programs that are not configured properly to issues with your security policies or even a human factor. For example, one of the most common causes of a data breach is having software or hardware that is not kept up to date and has exploitable weaknesses. According to research by Ponemon Institute, unpatched vulnerabilities were involved in 60% of data breaches. 

By identifying what elements of your business are leaving you vulnerable to an attack and ensuring they are fixed as soon as you find them, you can prevent any issues before they become a bigger problem. Some issues might be more significant than your business can handle, which is why you should never be afraid to ask for professional help if you find yourself struggling. 

#3 Use technological advancements for your benefit.

Cybercriminals are constantly working on updating their malicious actions with the newest technological trends, and the only way we can stay ahead of them is by doing the same. Technology advancements such as machine learning and artificial intelligence can make a real difference in protecting your business. From preventing identity theft by utilizing digital onboarding in the customer journey or the recruitment process to using cybersecurity tools like digital fingerprinting, transaction monitoring to email or phone lookup tools that can prevent various malicious attacks, the benefits of new technological advancements are just starting to come to light.

#4 Leverage Your Security Strategies

Every business needs to implement a security policy to protect it from scams. This can be done by ensuring efficient antivirus software and firewalls to see which additional cybersecurity tools could benefit your business. For example, data enrichment tools such as IP lookup tools allow you to collect additional information about users based on their IP addresses. Verifying that an IP address is valid or blacklisted helps you determine how risky this customer is and allows you to block scammers before they harm your business.

#5 Train your employees 

Ensuring your employees are trained on best cybersecurity practices will help protect them and your business from online dangers. Cybercriminals will always try to find some vulnerabilities in your business network; unfortunately, that can most often be your employees. In 2021, 55% of the U.S. workforce took risky actions such as clicking on suspicious email links leading to dangerous sites or compromising their credentials. This is where security awareness training plays a key role, as it can reduce the risks between 45 and 70%. 

Getting trained in recognizing the red flags, implementing proper cybersecurity practices, and knowing what to do if the worst happens, allows your employees to make informed decisions and reduce the risks for your business.

#6 Restrict access to your systems.

Not every employee needs to have the same level of access to data in your company. While you might do so to show your employees that you trust them, you are actually putting your business in danger of data breach. Just think about it, why would employees that are on different levels need to have the same level of access? Surely your intern doesn't need the same level of access as one of the heads of departments. Determine which data are required for different sets of your employees and set up the appropriate access to prevent sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands. Don’t forget to update the access as the situation changes, such as an employee leaving or changing the role. 

#7 Protect your business network

Cybercriminals that gain access to your network can do significant damage in a short amount of time, which means they can get their hands on confidential data before you even know they have breached your network. Take proper steps to secure it, such as installing a firewall and antivirus systems or setting up an isolated “guest” Wi-Fi for any user visiting your workplace. Additionally, you should encrypt any sensitive data coming and leaving your network and encourage employees to take extra precautions when using unprotected networks. 

#8 Backup important company data

In the case of certain types of natural disasters or cyber attacks, such as ransomware, you might lose access to your confidential data. Cybercriminals will then demand a ransom to restore your access, and if you do not have a backup of your data, you will be forced to make a difficult decision between paying the ransom or permanently losing that data and your business reputation in the process. Ensure your data is backed up regularly and updated when needed. For best protection, you should utilize at least two backups, one using cloud-based technology and the other on an external hard drive.

#9 Have an incident response plan

It is essential to have an action plan in case the worst happens. Most companies have an incident response plan or business continuity plan to deal with situations such as fire, flood, break-in, or other disasters. Still, they tend to forget about cyber attacks. By outlining the steps and creating prevention and recovery systems, you will be able to react quickly, mitigate the damage as soon as possible and restore normal operations.


As our world continues to be more technologically and internet-driven, we are constantly getting more exposed to the growing threat of cybercrime. Unfortunately, it has become a part of our reality, showing no signs of stopping. Any company that wants to stay in business in the face of ever-growing threats needs to start taking steps in the right direction, and this checklist will point you in the right direction.

Yaren Guzelarslan

Research Associate at

Yaren is a professional research associate at SEON starting April 2021. She is passioned about data analysis, research, and cybersecurity.