With the internet era in full swing, numerous risks come alongside the slew of benefits associated with digital business interactions. Cyber attacks are more common than ever, with more than two-thirds of small and large businesses falling victim in recent years, according to digital rights protection group Privacy End. The escalation in cyber crime causes an increase in the need for businesses to protect their classified information online, and there are many steps to ensure everything is secure.
Here are a few tips that can help your business run smoothly by making it resilient against and able to deal with cyber attacks.
Inform yourself and your employees what threats they should be looking for, such as spam and phishing emails. Spam messages are unsolicited junk emails, while phishing messages are disguised to be from organizations you think you can trust. Phishing can be especially dangerous because the scams are aimed at tricking you into forfeiting personal and financial company information. Advise your employees to never open attachments in emails from unknown sources, and to send anything questionable to an IT professional to double check before responding.
To further ensure the security of your company devices, lock down your hardware by installing firewall and antivirus programs. Viruses are a serious threat to devices as they break the immunity levels of a system, making it vulnerable to outside invasion. To make it more difficult for thieves to access and steal sensitive information, install antivirus software such as that of AVG, to scan folders for disruptions on a regular basis.
In preparation for security breaches, develop a backup and recovery plan for data on all company hardware. Consider implementing an automatic backup system that classifies all sensitive data immediately, or assign an employee to manually back up data weekly, to reduce the risk of losing anything. It is also a good idea to store copies of data within the cloud or via another external storage device, such as a USB or external hard drive.
The use of weak passwords by employees can be detrimental to the security of your company’s whole system by making email accounts easier for cyber criminals to hack. To create strong passwords, encourage employees to include both lower and upper case letters, special characters, and avoid using personal information that could be easy to guess.
Employees now have the increased capabilities to work remote from external devices, and with that comes a greater need to treat all company devices with the same safety precautions. One way to do this is by utilizing secure unified communication tools to ensure all employee devices are in sync and have up-to-date security measures. Without these, there’s a higher chance that your company devices will not be properly protected and therefore vulnerable to being hacked.
According to the Joint Technology Committee, companies are not often aware they have fallen victim to a cyberattack until 200 days after it has occurred. Once you’ve become aware of the attack, to help contain the issue, be sure to reset login passwords, disconnect affected hosts so they can no longer be subject to an attack, apply security patch software, and remove all files affected by the attack. Reinstall once clean.
Far too often, companies focus all of their energy on containing the attack and neglect informing the public or those who were impacted by the incident. Rather than taking this approach and losing the trust of your customers, be prepared with a recovery plan and inform those whom the breach affects as soon as possible. Speak with your public relations and marketing professionals to create and release a statement with critical information and solutions.
If any customers or clients were affected by a breach in your company’s security, consider increasing your legal defenses in the case that they try and sue. Prepare for the fact that you could be taken to court by forming positive relationships with law enforcement and determining a direct point-of-contact to whom you can report cyber crimes. Also, ensure any legal team you employ has past experience with cyber incident management.
One of the most important aspects of dealing with a breach of information is learning from and improving for the future. Part of this process involves enlisting the right systems, such as cybersecurity experts and online security technologies, which can help save your company’s reputation and income. To best protect your business’ information, look at the issue from various perspectives. Ensure that you and your employees are trained and have the necessary systems in place to detect and react to attacks. With these precautions in place, your business should be ready to combat and recover from cyber threats without extensive effort.