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Securing Your Ideas: Why Using a VPN is a Must for CEOs?

As technology advances and digital content becomes more available, it’s easier for people to copy and distribute creative works without permission. On top of that are cybersecurity threats looming at every corner of the Internet.

Cyberattacks were the top threats among businesses worldwide, leading the list at 34 percent in 2023. Business leaders know the harm and disruption a cyber incident can cause in the company.

However, many may not fully grasp the extent and longer-term impacts of the threat. Besides losing customer data and dealing with rules and reputation issues after a cyber incident, companies also suffer the less visible costs of an attack—intellectual property theft.

With that in mind, protecting your valuable ideas is imperative. One powerful tool that organizational leaders or chief executive officers (CEOs) can use is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Here, we’ll discuss VPNs’ critical function in maximizing online security and why CEOs must adopt this security service.

But before delving into that, let’s understand CEOs’ crucial role in a company’s cybersecurity and the challenges often encountered.

Cybersecurity Challenges CEOs Commonly Face

The Internet offers business leaders immense opportunities to launch and grow their ventures. Whether through social media or e-commerce platforms, the possibilities to connect with partners, employees, suppliers, and customers are countless.

As companies rely increasingly on digital infrastructure, CEOs grapple with many cybersecurity challenges that can harm the business’s operations, bottom line, and reputation.

CEOs’ top concerns for cyber risks

A PwC survey revealed that 58 percent of CEOs view cyberattacks as a substantial threat to their businesses. Of those surveyed, 62 percent are mainly concerned with disruptions in the sale of products and services to customers.

Sales can be messed up significantly when your business gets hit by a ransomware attack partially or even completely. Likewise, someone stealing your ideas or inventions can slow down innovation and product development.

The vulnerability of executives to cyberattacks 

As the organization’s highest-ranking executive, CEOs primarily have unrestricted access to company data, making them a prime target for hackers.

Generally, executives are well-protected while using the company’s network. But that security often vanishes once they leave the premises. There’s usually little to zero protection over their home networks, personal devices, and accounts.

One survey found that 58 percent of US-based cybersecurity leaders didn’t cover cyberthreat prevention for executives and their digital assets in their strategies and budgets.

As a result, cybercriminals are altering their tactics, such as completely bypassing the corporate network. Instead, they attempt to breach a company by directly targeting executives at home and through their personal online accounts.

Common tactics hackers employ to target CEOs

Hackers have discovered that most CEOs are unprotected when not using their work accounts or devices. They commonly use the following tactics to target executives with privileged access to the company’s highly sensitive data and successfully execute a breach:

  • Use stolen passwords from the dark web to gain unauthorized access to the executive’s personal email and get hold of the company’s files.
  • Impersonate the CEO to send fake email communications to employees requesting an urgent wire transfer of funds.
  • Utilize social engineering to trick executives into giving away sensitive information or committing security mistakes.
  • Infect one of the family member’s devices to launch a secondary attack on the executive.

How VPNs Can Help Executives Enhance Cybersecurity?

As a CEO, having extensive access to organization-wide data puts you at risk for cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Considering this, executive cybersecurity protection should be part of the company-wide security strategy.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) solutions are powerful tools to minimize the cyber risks you could face. A VPN builds an encrypted tunnel between the device and the server. Your data goes through that secure tunnel, making it impossible for anyone to read without the decryption key.

It hides your Internet Protocol (IP address) and online activities from external entities. This IP address concealment protects your personal and company information from specific attacks and unauthorized access attempts. As a result, it will be more challenging for hackers to steal personal and company-wide data.

Moreover, VPNs allow secure remote access to organization networks. This allows you and others in the company to work from anywhere while keeping the business’s intellectual property private and secure.

Essential VPN Strategies Every CEO Must Know

A robust, strategically planned VPN will ensure your home and company networks remain private and secure. Remember, hastily installed VPN solutions can result in numerous security vulnerabilities and risks. Consider these strategies to use VPNs in your organization effectively:

Select the right VPN solution

Different kinds of VPNs cater to specific needs and situations. Since not every VPN is the same, selecting the right one is crucial to fortify your defenses. Before investing in any VPN solution, take the time to determine your specific requirements.

The security level and flexibility features it offers are essential criteria in the selection process. Since cybersecurity is your primary concern, choose a VPN that employs robust security and encryption protocols. AES-256 is the standard for encryption strength as it’s virtually unbreakable by hackers.

The VPN’s compatibility with your devices and operating systems is important, too. Suppose you’re selecting a VPN solution for your NVIDIA SHIELD device. Use the appropriate NVIDIA Shield VPN to experience smooth and secure streaming on your device.

Equip employees on VPN usage

The best VPN won’t protect you enough if you and your employees don’t know how to use it properly.

Recognizing the human element in cybersecurity is equally critical. Clicking on phishing emails and employing weak passwords are some human errors that commonly make a company’s network vulnerable. It’s worth noting that even top-level executives can become victims of such attacks.

Employees can be the most susceptible link in cybersecurity if they are not adequately equipped with VPN best practices. Train employees on the significance of VPNs, how to install and configure them on their devices, and the safest ways to connect to the company network.

Enforce VPN security policies

There should be clear security policies on the acceptable use of VPNs, from accessing corporate networks remotely to transferring company data and reporting suspected cybersecurity incidents.

It’s also crucial to specify what data and apps can be used and how to secure VPN login info and devices. The policy must be documented, and every user connecting to the network must read and comply with it.

Monitor VPN performance

Regular monitoring of the VPN performance is critical for maintaining the security and efficiency of the company’s network infrastructure. It lets you detect and address potential issues, ensuring access to essential resources and data without delays or interruptions.

Downtime can slow productivity and disrupt daily work operations, so immediate response to security threats is crucial. For instance, tools, such as VPN logs, reports, and alerts, can help you find vulnerabilities in the network and take proactive steps to boost cybersecurity measures.

Eliminate VPN security risks

When used correctly, VPNs are secure and reliable tools for organizations. However, poorly configured or unverified VPN services can expose your company to vulnerabilities. Investing in a paid service is one of the best ways to minimize VPN security risks.

Unlike the free VPN services, a paid provider has adequate infrastructure to keep up with the evolving cyber threats facing you and your business. You’ll also get better speeds with unlimited bandwidth, robust security features, and dependable customer support.

Additional Cybersecurity Measures CEOs Can Take

Investing in a VPN is one of the easiest ways to mitigate cybersecurity risks. Yet more sophisticated cyberattacks are increasingly targeting executives.

Therefore, additional security measures are essential to bolster executive cybersecurity protection and enhance capabilities to defend against the most advanced attacks.

Besides a strong VPN strategy, advanced security protocols are equally vital to strengthen your home network and mitigate the cyber risks commonly posed to executives.

Since home networks are usually less secure than corporate networks, cybercriminals frequently target them. Among the best practices you can implement to boost your home network security include:

  • Secure accounts with multifactor authentication.
  • Ensure all your devices on the network have the latest security updates.
  • Utilize secure WiFi connections with strong encryption.
  • Restrict the use of the administrator account.
  • Unplug and safely store external storage when you’re not using it.

Boost Cyber Resilience Across Your Organization

Protection against evolving threats is no longer optional. It’s a must for small businesses and large corporations alike to take proactive measures.

As the CEO, you have an immense responsibility to set the organization’s strategy, from securing intellectual property and cybersecurity to distributing resources accordingly. That involves more than preventing cyberattacks and detecting vulnerabilities early. Equally critical is reducing their impacts and ensuring continuity of operations.

Being a cyber-resilient company helps minimize financial loss and reputational damage. But it’s essential to note that effective cyber resilience is a collaborative approach, from the executives to all the organization’s staff, partners, suppliers, and clients.