When it comes to any business function, sales executives are certainly at the core of everything. From promotional policies and advertising campaigns to operations and strategic planning, the multi-talented sales ninjas have their eyes on all fronts. And as they continue to handle highly sensitive customer and company information, they should be aware of the associated cybersecurity risks and adopt the best practices to prevent and mitigate cybercrimes. Here are some of the tried and tested cybersecurity tips for sales executives which cover awareness, basic safety, online safety and data security.
Here Are My Top 7 Cybersecurity Tips For Sales Executives
1) Implement a Password Manager for all your applications
A large number of sales executives still rely on writing passwords on yellow stickies and placing them on their desks. More often than not, the kind of passwords they use on their business and personal accounts is also poorly designed and framed. In such cases, the implementation of a password manager can play a crucial role in enhancing the strength of their passwords. Password managers can be described as applications that create and store encrypted passwords and enter them whenever required.
Password managers can generate unique and complex passwords for every site and service that sales executives use. It is advised not to use the same password for multiple sites, and always try using a unique mix of numbers, upper and lower case letters, and special characters.
2) Refrain from Using Public WiFi and Use VPN
Public WiFi networks present in coffee shops and shopping complexes are rated as one of the most dangerous sources of internet connection by cybersecurity experts. One major reason behind this is that these connections are mostly unencrypted. This means that the data that flows between the network and your device is easy to decipher and hack.
Choosing the best VPN provider can play a major role in preventing most of the Man in the Middle (MitM) attacks, where the threat actors attempt to intercept the data en route. With VPN, data that is transferred between your computer and the server is scrambled so that nobody else can read it. With the help of a VPN, your information is encrypted, so that even when you mistakenly connect to an “evil twin” hotspot (for instance, it is quite easy for a hacker to set up a bogus hotspot labelling it as “Free Airport WiFi”) or your information is intercepted with the help of a Wi-Fi packet sniffer (Wi-Fi is just radio waves after all), your data is necessarily going to remain safe.
3) Encrypt Data on All of Your Devices
Organizations across the globe have been facing a major challenge of protecting information and preventing data loss. One of the major reasons behind this serious risk is that most of their employees including the sales executives pay little to no attention to encrypting the critical business and user data present on the vast array of devices they use on a daily basis.
As far as sales executives are concerned, they handle several sensitive documents such as invoice copies, marketing collaterals, proposals for different clients, campaign data, and non-disclosures agreements on a daily basis and if not encrypted properly, the resulting data leakage could put them in huge trouble. Data encryption can play a vital role in protecting this kind of sensitive and valuable information with the help of various techniques such as – watermarking, cryptography, firewalls, etc. thereby ensuring the safety of valuable business information.
4) Implement an MDM (Mobile Device Management) Solution to Secure your Smartphone
Although the portability of smartphones offers many unique advantages, these devices have their own set of problems, such as data leakage and unauthorized access. And in order to ward off all the security challenges associated with mobile devices; you certainly need efficient mobile device management (MDM) solution that is set up to simplify the security challenges associated with managing mobile devices.
Mobile Device Management (MDM) plays a major role in enabling IT admins to manage and monitor mobile devices used across the organization by employees and sales executives and control data leakage. It further includes storing essential information about mobile devices, locating important devices, deciding which apps can be present on the devices, and securing the data present on the devices if they are stolen or lost.
5) Turn on 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) for Applications
In simple terms, the process of two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection to your usual log-in process. And for sales executives, adding extra layers of security becomes a must, given the sensitivity of the information they have access to. After enabling 2-factor authentication, you’ll be asked to enter a security code after your password. This code is usually sent as an email or a text message, or sometimes as a push notification on the server of your phone. With the help of a second authentication step, it becomes much more difficult for threat actors to break into your online accounts.
Two-factor authentication also provides protection against phishing emails. For instance, if someone sends you a fishy email trying to trick you into logging in with your Google or Facebook credentials into a fake site, two-factor authentication will still protect you. This is because only a legitimate site will send you a working two-factor authentication code and even if the hackers get to know your password, they can't move further without entering the authentication code.
6) Beware of Phishing
Phishing remains one of the most preferred cybercrimes for hackers. One of the major reasons behind this is that it easily provides the threat actors with access to all the sensitive networks within business organizations. Phishing attempts usually begin with a seemingly harmless phishing email. This message remains harmless as long as you do not open it and save or download the malicious attachments or click on any of the links. If you do so, malware is instantaneously released into your computer system, which further goes on to infect critical files and leads to the leakage of confidential information.
Having anti-phishing software installed on your system works, but actually nothing can beat the intuition of an alert sales executive. This is because they can identify phishing emails that could have otherwise bypassed robust security systems easily.
7. Go Through Regular Security Training and Seminars
With a continuous rise in security threats with each passing day, organizations must come up with initiatives like regular security training on an enterprise level. This needs to be done to ensure the involvement of everyone across the organization towards a "security first" approach. Training on password security, anti-phishing tactics, physical security, compliance and social engineering attacks is a must-have for crucial business stakeholders like sales executives as they bear a major responsibility of protecting the interests of customers and the overall business on their shoulders.
Apart from having access to several critical aspects of their company ranging from finance and operations to sales and marketing, the sales executives have access to vast amounts of company data. Accordingly, the executives must ensure that the security practices they follow are versatile. Since businesses continue to rely heavily on technology day in and day out, it becomes crucial for sales executives to set a milestone for other employees when it comes to following and managing standard security protocols.