It’s not a big secret that cyber security is gradually becoming a larger issue nowadays. Major stories regarding the biggest organizations suffering from data breaches are not uncommon.
It’s not surprising that as tech tends to become more advanced and as individuals spend more of their lives online, most companies are now looking for IT support staff and experts that could help with their diverse cyber security needs.
Small businesses, in particular, are appealing to hackers. This is because these businesses often have a moderate amount of data and have minimal security.
When you are not prepared for a cyber attack, your business is at risk. Today’s notorious hackers can steal employee details, money, customer data, and vendor information.
Take note that a data breach could end up damaging your relationships with customers, employees, and vendors. About 50% of small businesses that experience a cyber attack usually go out of business within 6 months.
To avoid being another victim of a damaging cyber-attack, here are some ways you can improve your cyber security protocols.
1. Educate your Employees
Following a cyber attack getting caught flat-footed is very common. This not only makes for bad PR, but the business will also miss an opportunity to curtail the damage before it gets more severe. That being said, the Ponemon Institute notes that just half of the organizations surveyed felt that current staff training adequately reduces the risk of non-compliant security behaviors.
Create an effective cyber security policy for your company. This can’t only prevent attacks but will also make sure your team is ready to rectify any damages. It must contain key cyber security practices that your employees should follow.
You should include procedures to keep vendors, employees, and customer information safe. Since most policies are constantly evolving as cyber criminals and hackers become savvier, it is important to have frequent updates on new protocols.
To hold your employees accountable, get each employee to sign a document that states that they’ve been informed about the policies and fully understand that actions can be taken in case they don’t follow the policies.
Strict adherence to these protocols is crucial and can only be implemented if the management emphasizes the severity of the situation.
2. Use Strong Passwords
Strong passwords are often one of the first and most important line of defense against data breaches. Changing them frequently could help keep hackers and cyber criminals out. Most staff will not update their passwords voluntarily, even when they are prompted. Make frequent password updates compulsory and teach employees how to create as well as remember strong passwords.
3. Back up Data
You should back up all essential data on a regular basis. In case everything else fails, data backup will allow your company to continue operating as well as recover quickly, but that will only work if you’ve backed everything up recently.
As per experts, backing up your important data can reduce the affect of a potentially successful ransomware attack. The SBA recommends that businesses back up word processing documents, databases, electronic spreadsheets, financial files, and human resources files.
4. Update Computers
It goes without saying that you should update your computers regularly, including desktops, laptops, as well as mobile devices. Also, make sure that your web browsers and operating systems are up to date in order to protect against the latest threats. You should also regularly check for new and improved versions of software, including your current security software.
Note that any software that is stored on your system will need to be continuously updated. Don’t ignore alerts which ask you to update the software. Keep all programs updated and you would keep your business more secure. Cloud software, on the other hand, can be updated by the provider automatically.
5. Install Anti-malware Software
It is easy to think that your staff can identify phishing emails. However, the Verizon 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report revealed that about 30% of employees opened phishing emails, which is a 7% increase from 2015. As phishing attacks usually involve installing malware on an employee’s PC when the link is clicked, it is vital to have anti-malware software installed on both the devices as well as the network.
6. Be Aware of Internal Threats
You probably don’t know that 31.5 percent of cyber attacks are perpetrated by malicious company insiders while 23.5% of attacks are carried out by inadvertent actors. That means 55% of all attacks tend to come from the inside.
This is why protecting your business is also about fortifying your company walls. By raising authorization requirements as well as keeping a watchful eye on employees with access to secured data, you will be able to avert data leaks and breaches before they happen.
7. Discontinue Unused Services
Whenever limited-duration products expire, you should decommission the logins, applications and user credentials that are associated with them. Also, in case you do not use all available features of a UC deployment, like video chat function, it is better to turn it off in order to restrict unauthorized access to your enterprise.
Cybercrime is one of those threats that are not going away anytime soon. That being said, the great news is that by fostering the appropriate culture now–instead of later–you could prepare your organization to avert cyber attacks and deal effectively with ones that would almost inevitably occur.
Keep in mind that leaders that do this well would be well-positioned to lead their organization through the complex challenges of data and security breaches as well as other hacks, while strengthening their business’s value and position at the same time.
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