Five Ways to Protect Your Business

September 27, 2023

This year marks 20 years of Cybersecurity Awareness Month (CAM), a month dedicated to raising awareness about cyber-smart behaviors and empowering businesses and individuals to protect their data.


Securing your business against an evolving threat landscape is more important than ever. Of course it is. But so is reinforcing basic cyber hygiene. Most data breaches are still due to insider threats, caused by individuals with the best of intentions who still inadvertently fall for phishing and social engineering tactics, costing their organization millions of dollars per incident.


Let’s get back to basics and continue to reinforce behaviors that will help protect your business from the inside.



Use Strong Passwords and Password Managers

Strong passwords are fundamental to securing online activity. Update passwords regularly and use a strong, unique password for every professional and personal account. Password best practices:


  • Use complex passwords with a minimum of 12 characters that require lowercase and uppercase characters, numbers and special symbols (not easily researched answers to security questions, such as a pet’s name)
  • Incorporate password blacklisting and audits
  • Implement password vaulting for privileged accounts
  • Consider using password managers for personal accounts





Enable Multi-Factor Authentication

Build on your strong password with multi-factor authentication (MFA) for enhanced security. MFA requires users to present at least two pieces of evidence to prove their identity, making it much harder for cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access to your accounts even if they have compromised your password. Popular MFA methods include one-time SMS passcodes, hard tokens, security questions and push-to-accept notifications with number matching or other user input.



Update Software

Threat actors will always go the route of least resistance; and it doesn’t get much easier than vulnerabilities in software and applications. Turn on automatic updates when possible and always update security patches and software updates as soon as possible.



Recognize and Report Phishing

Phishing scams continue to be a worldwide threat to organizations. Proofpoint’s 2023 State of the Phish reports that more than a third of surveyed respondents took at least one action in 2022 that put themselves or their organization at risk.


Employees who know what to look for are less likely to fall victim to a phishing scam. Educate your employees about cyber best practices, including phishing threats, with Optiv’s free cybersecurity awareness training or see a few tips below.





Limit Your Digital Footprint

Everywhere you go online, you leave a digital footprint. Cybercriminals can use this footprint to create more effective social engineering schemes. When traveling for work or working remotely in a public setting, use an enterprise Virtual Private Network (VPN) solution and browse in incognito mode.


These tips are simple yet so effective. Let’s all do our part to build a culture of cybersecurity awareness and best practices in our organizations this month and every month.

Max Shier
VP, Chief Information Security Officer | Optiv
Max Shier is a 23-year Air Force veteran and has more than 27 years of experience in all facets of security, including direct cybersecurity and IT experience in several technology and security domains. Prior to Optiv, Shier held several leadership positions in the Federal Government and the defense industry base, with his most recent position as a cybersecurity director at a large defense contractor where he was responsible for cybersecurity oversight and implementation of critical space-based national defense programs.

Optiv Security: Secure greatness.®

Optiv is the cyber advisory and solutions leader, delivering strategic and technical expertise to nearly 6,000 companies across every major industry. We partner with organizations to advise, deploy and operate complete cybersecurity programs from strategy and managed security services to risk, integration and technology solutions. With clients at the center of our unmatched ecosystem of people, products, partners and programs, we accelerate business progress like no other company can. At Optiv, we manage cyber risk so you can secure your full potential. For more information, visit