Cyber-attacks are more common than robberies. Why would someone with ill-intentions go through the trouble of bursting down your door when they can get everything they want from you from the comfort of their couch? Fortifying your business against cyber-attacks should be of the utmost importance to you – never wait until it’s too late.
Keep offsite backups
Take any information you’re storing and won’t need access to, put it on a backup device that does not have access to the internet, and store it somewhere away from your business. This prevents it from being accessed by anyone launching a cyberattack. Malware and viruses are among the most common forms of cyberattacks and some malware and viruses can render devices (and the data they store) unusable. The best way to win the game is not to play – simply don’t create an opportunity.
Always run updates
You know that annoying popup that says your system or software needs an update? That pop up that usually encourages you to click “remind me later” for nearly forever? Answer it right away. Configure your computers to run updates every day at the same time. Before or after the workday will prevent updates from causing disruptions. Remember that cybercriminals come up with new strategies to steal or destroy your data on a regular basis. If you aren’t running current updates, you aren’t protected against current threats.
Regularly replace old equipment
Many small businesses don’t budget for replacing their equipment. Unfortunately, statistics show that small businesses are a huge target for cyberattacks. This means that small businesses can’t afford to go without the equipment they need. Old equipment is prone to failure and may not be compatible with current security measures. Patch up vulnerability by replacing computers every few years. Safely dispose of the old ones so that the data they contain doesn’t wind up in the wrong hands. An IT specialist may be able to help you with proper disposal.
Have a strong password policy
Human error can be expensive to fix. All a hacker needs is one employee’s password to compromise your whole system. Set difficult parameters for your passwords. Require uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols. This makes passwords a lot harder to guess. Add another layer of security by requiring your employees to change their passwords every six weeks. A common sense talk about not writing down passwords and leaving them in a place where they may be accessed by others certainly won’t hurt.
Discuss security protocol with your employees
It’s a little hard to implement a protection strategy and measure its effectiveness if your employees aren’t on the same page. Teach them to recognize and report threats. Something as simple as opening an email attachment from an unknown sender can have serious consequences. Give them the skills they need to be safe online and cautious when handling sensitive information. Let them know what’s necessary for security and how to identify and report anything that seems suspicious. Your business’s IT expert can help educate and inform your employees.
Remember that cybersecurity is an ongoing process. You can’t set and forget the protocols and hope they’ll keep you safe for years (or even weeks) to come. Stay on top of keeping your business safe. New threats emerge every day, and you can’t be caught unaware.
About the author:
Sienna Walker is a careers and business blogger, always happy to share her tips and strategies with employees and employers alike. She is also a huge fan of self-improvement, and is often found online, listening to motivational speeches. Feel free to visit her Twitter @SiennaWalkerS and say “hello”.