You always hear about hackers attacking big companies in the news, but they come for the little guy, too. Check out these 10 cybersecurity best practices.
Do you think that because you have a small business, you don’t need to pay attention to cybersecurity best practices? That hacking attacks are only reserved for the big companies?
You need to think again.
In the UK alone, 43% of businesses and charities (yes, charities) have experienced a security breach in the last 12 months.
These attacks cost businesses about $92 billion each year. Not only are there financial costs, but these attacks can also do long-term damage to your business. Trust in your company will erode if you
What can you do to keep these threats at bay? Read these tips to find out.
1. Understand the Most Common Threats
There’s no way you can prepare for something you don’t understand. The first thing you want to do is to know and study the types of threats that are that hackers use to infiltrate businesses.
These are the most common ways hackers will try to breach your systems and steal sensitive data.
There are many types of emails that hackers will use to break into your systems. Some can be as simple as the classic Nigerian prince looking to give you a million pounds. Of course, you need to give your banking information to do that.
They’re more targeted and sophisticated. In real estate, for instance, hackers know when buyers are about to close in on a new home. They know this by hacking into other systems like your mortgage lender.
They’ll email you saying that in order to complete the sale, you need to deposit funds into a bank account.
There are many instances in just about every industry of these types of emails.
We depend on our computers for a lot of tasks, and we keep our personal information stored there.
Malware and ransomware are hidden in fake ads and emails. These programs can wreak havoc on your machine.
Ransomware is particularly destructive. It essentially holds your computer hostage until you pay a ransom, usually in cryptocurrency that cannot be traced.
If you don’t pay, the hackers will then destroy the data that’s on your computer.
Malware works a little differently. It works when you click on an unsuspecting link in an email, ad, or malicious website.
The software is installed on your computer that runs in the background, looking for information like banking information or items that they could use for ID theft. The software can also redirect you to websites that you would never visit.
2. Train Employees
The cause of most hack attacks isn’t someone running an automatic password generator to get into your systems. It’s your employees.
Your training program should be focused on employees, but should also include contractors and vendors who have access to your systems.
You need to let employees know what the common threats are, what they should do if they have questions, and how one wrong click can put the entire company at risk.
Since technology changes rapidly, your training needs to be ongoing. Once isn’t enough.
3. Have Standardised Office Policies
Taking your employee training one step further can have an even greater impact n your security.
These policies can be as simple as having checks and balances before money is wired at the request of an email. They can also detail what an employee should do if someone gets a suspicious email.
4. Keep Devices on You
Ultimately, cybersecurity begins with you and your actions. You set the example for your company. That’s why you want to have your devices on you at all times when you’re away from the office.
How would it look if important data was stolen because you left your phone on a table at a restaurant?
It wouldn’t look good and your employees would see that as careless.
5. Keep a Backup
Backing up your systems regularly is the first step in being able to respond to an attack. If your company has a ransomware attack, you still will be able to function because you still have the most important information.
It’s a good idea to back up your systems every week and keep them separate from your other network systems.
6. Have Cybersecurity Insurance
A cyber attack can still be costly even if you have a backup of your data. Having cybersecurity insurance is one of the underrated cybersecurity best practices.
Your business can be protected if you lose data, revenue, or if your data is stolen.
7. Change Passwords Often
Changing your passwords often is an overlooked way to protect your business data. You also want to be sure that your passwords are strong and easy to remember.
8. Keep Software Up to Date
When software is released, it’s not perfect. There are bugs and security flaws that have to be patched after the fact.
That’s why it’s critical to keep all of your systems up to date. If you don’t hackers can expose these security flaws and break into your systems.
9. Use a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) is another way to protect your systems, especially if you have employees off-site.
A VPN lets you communicate and send data privately over a public, unsecured network. If you need to send data, a hacker could be looking to steal sensitive data on that unsecured connection.
10. Have a Plan in Case of Attack
These days, it’s not a matter of if you’re going to have some kind of data breach, it’s a matter of when. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have protocols in place to prevent them. You absolutely should and have a plan to respond to attacks when they occur.
For example, your first step might be to immediately pull the infected machines from your network. You can also have a procedure to notify customers and the authorities if sensitive data was stolen.
Cybersecurity Best Practices
You don’t need to be a cybersecurity expert to prevent hacker attacks. You do need to be aware of potential attacks and the methods hackers use. Once you know that, you can move to prevent attacks, loss of important data and business. You can implement these cybersecurity best practices to keep your data safe.
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