Top 5 Tips for Cannabis Companies to Improve Cybersecurity in 2023

A woman working in a weed dispensary.

Cybersecurity is a risk for all companies, including cannabis companies, because it is important to protect sensitive data and systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. This is especially important for cannabis companies because they may be more vulnerable to cyber threats due to a variety of factors, including the fact that they may handle large amounts of sensitive financial and customer information, and may be subject to regulatory requirements and scrutiny.

In addition, cannabis companies may face unique challenges when it comes to cybersecurity due to the legal and regulatory landscape in which they operate. In many jurisdictions, cannabis is still illegal or heavily restricted, and this can make it difficult for cannabis companies to access the same resources and support as other businesses when it comes to protecting their data and systems.

As the cannabis industry continues to grow and evolve, it’s important for companies in this space to prioritize cybersecurity. This is especially true given the sensitive nature of the products and information involved, as well as the potential for significant financial losses due to data breaches or other security incidents.

Here are the top five tips for cannabis companies looking to improve their cybersecurity in 2023:

  1. Implement strong passwords and use two-factor authentication.

One of the most basic, yet effective, ways to improve cybersecurity is to use strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for all accounts. Strong passwords should be at least 12 characters long and include a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. 2FA adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of authentication, such as a code sent to a phone or email, in addition to the password. This makes it much more difficult for unauthorized users to access accounts.

  1. Keep all software and security protocols up to date.

Outdated software and security protocols are a common vulnerability that hackers can exploit. Therefore, it’s important to keep all systems and software up to date with the latest patches and security updates. This includes operating systems, web browsers, and any other software or tools that the company uses. By staying current, companies can help prevent known vulnerabilities from being exploited.

  1. Microsegment access to protect against external threats.

Microsegmentation can help protect against external threats such as malware, viruses, and hackers. Microsegmentation is a security technique that involves dividing a network into smaller segments or “microsegments,” and then defining and enforcing security policies for those segments using software. This allows organizations to have a more granular level of control over network security and can help to prevent the spread of malware or other threats within the network. These tools, such as Enclave, can provide an important layer of protection for a cannabis company’s network and data.

  1. Regularly back up data to prevent loss in the event of an attack.

Data loss is a serious concern for any company, and it can be especially detrimental for a cannabis company that handles sensitive information such as customer data, financial records, and proprietary information. To protect against data loss, it’s important to regularly back up all important data and store it in a secure location. This can include using cloud-based backup solutions or physical storage devices like hard drives. By having a reliable backup plan in place, companies can minimize the impact of a security incident.

  1. Train employees on cybersecurity best practices.

Employee training is a crucial component of any cybersecurity strategy. Cannabis companies should educate their employees on best practices such as using strong passwords, identifying and reporting suspicious activity, and understanding the company’s policies and procedures for handling sensitive information. By empowering employees to recognize and prevent potential threats, companies can significantly reduce the risk of a security incident.

In conclusion, cannabis companies must take cybersecurity seriously in order to protect their products, customers, and financial interests. By implementing strong passwords and 2FA, keeping software and security protocols up to date, using microsegmentation software, regularly backing up data, and training employees on best practices, companies can significantly reduce the risk of a security incident and protect their valuable assets.

Brian Haugli