A quick glance at the news is all it takes to realize that the threat of cyber attacks is increasing for businesses. So how can your business beat the odds and avoid becoming another victim of cybercrime? Try putting the following five action items at the top of your priority list:
- Encrypt your data. Whether it's bank routing digits, credit card accounts or employee social security numbers, company-held information is what hackers use to steal money, so make sure it is adequately encrypted.
- Secure your hardware. Obviously, cyber criminals use the internet to steal information, but others may actually try to steal physical hardware as well. To prevent this, make sure your business has a security system and physically lock down your computers (to desks) and servers (behind controlled-access doors) to make it harder to remove them from your premises.
- Secure your network. Unlocked Wi-Fi networks are like an open door to your company’s data. One solution is not to have Wi-Fi at all at your company. The more practical solution may be to disable the service set identifier (SSID) broadcasting function on the wireless router. This creates a cloaked or hidden network, invisible to casual Wi-Fi snoops and accessible only to users with the exact network name.
- Install anti-malware and anti-virus protection. Email phishing and apps that access social media accounts are popping up with increasing regularity. Loading anti-malware and anti-virus protection on your computers and mobile devices can help protect your business. In addition, keeping programs and hardware updated is key.
- Educate your employees. If just one computer on your network becomes compromised, your entire operation is at risk. Employees are your first line of defense, so make sure you educate them about what to look for and what to avoid (a formal internet policy can help) to keep your business secure.
The risk businesses face from cybercrimes is greater than ever. Implementing these tips will help you mitigate risk and ensure that your company avoids a potentially devastating data breach or other malicious acts, which can compromise both security and business viability.