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Cyberattacks are becoming more frequent for food and ag organizations.
C magazine

5 tips for preventing cyberattacks

Here are 5 tips for preventing a cyberattack on your business.
Feb 24, 2022

With cyberattacks becoming more frequent for food and ag organizations, any business that uses technology or automation needs to know how to prepare for and prevent a cyberattack.

“It’s a broad, complex and scary topic, and it can be overwhelming,” says Sarah Engstrom, who heads up cybersecurity efforts at CHS. She offers five things to consider first. 

1. Implement two-factor authentication  

This security measure requires two forms of identification, such as your password and a code sent to your cellphone (or better yet, using an authenticator app). If everyone in your organization registers for and uses two-factor authentication, it reduces the chance a criminal group can use a compromised password to get into your network. Pro-tip: only allow registration for two-factor authentication from a trusted network. 

2. Pay attention to patches 

When updates (known as patches) to applications and operating systems are released, test and install them immediately.  

3. Monitor remote access 

As more work happens remotely in organizations of all sizes, many workplaces aren’t doing enough to ensure security. “Many companies started expanding where and how people have access without implementing controls to keep out bad actors,” says Engstrom. Make sure team members can use only safe, approved applications to access company resources. 

4. Plan for a cyberattack   

Cooperative boards and managers should talk about how they’ll handle an attack before it happens. A quick Google search will identify multiple templates for incident response plans, says Engstrom. These templates will help you think through considerations such as communications plans for alerting others affected by an attack, cybersecurity insurance requirements, FBI contact info and backup plans if your automated systems are inaccessible. 

5. Seek out cybersecurity resources   

Budget for cybersecurity the same way you’d think about investing in a new building, advises Engstrom. “You either pay now or you pay later,” she says. Free resources, such as cybersecurity assessment services from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, can help determine where you’re most vulnerable and how to fix weak spots.

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Check out the full Winter 2022 issue of C magazine with this article and more.

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