Businesses own a plethora of information and data that is highly sensitive and confidential. The information system in an organization holds the financial numbers, management reports and strategies, competitor analysis, and pretty much every information about the business. It makes a company susceptible to a cyber-attack. Furthermore, small-scale organizations are more prone to hacking attempts because of the lack of system security or resources to defend themselves from such threats.
Cyber-attack is an attempt by a hacker with a motive to either extract or damage information in a computer system. Such attackers can also enter your computer system and blackmail you into giving them ransom in return for your data. It is crucial to devise strategies to protect your computer systems from such hacking attempts.
Here we have a list of tips for small business and organizations to help protect themselves from cyber-attacks:
UNDERSTAND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CYBERSECURITY
Cybersecurity is a crucial aspect and a modern need for today’s businesses. There have been numerous incidents that highlight the significance of owning a cybersecurity function within a company. It is the areas that you should not neglect. Ignoring these critical facts can cost you sensitive information, business, and, eventually, your reputation. Your business environment should exude a sense of awareness against cyber-attacks. It would be best if you spread awareness amongst the staff concerning cybersecurity and its significance.
DESIGN A ROBUST CYBERSECURITY STRATEGY
Even if your business is small-scaled, designing and implementing a cybersecurity strategy is vital. The only way to counter cyberattack threats is to plan well and implement robust barriers to protect your information system.
You should hire cybersecurity experts and own a team of specialists who can help you protect your system. Is a cybersecurity degree worth it? Of course, yes, and so are cybersecurity professionals! You can hire such qualified professionals who will add fantastic value to your organization. They will design an effective strategy and implement the required controls to protect your system from cybersecurity threats.
TRAIN YOUR EMPLOYEES
Businesses should have robust internal controls and systems that ensure information security breaches are the least possible. Your IT team should inform all employees regarding the policies and procedures and conduct frequent training. These training should include how to evade security threats and the rules to keep their systems safe from breaches.
Moreover, you can also educate your employees about security risks and the level of caution required when dealing with information and data. Your employees need to have a thorough understanding of security procedures.
Also, devising a plan of action in case there is a security breach is also necessary. Employees need to understand whom to contact in case of a cyberattack. The faster you react in case of a security breach, the better you will minimize the losses. Employees need to exhibit a proactive behavior if they feel any suspicious activity.
DATA ENCRYPTION AND BACKUPS
Data encryption involves converting data into a code, which means even if you get hacked, the hacker will not benefit from the information. Data encryption is one of the most active cyber-attack defense strategies to date. You should encrypt all sensitive business information such as employee details, customer data, competitor analysis, and all other critical business information.
Additionally, once you encrypt the information, remember to build a backup. This way, even if somebody steals your information or damages your system, you will not lose anything. Data encryption and data backup are an essential part of a robust cybersecurity plan.
ENHANCE EMAIL SECURITY
One of the most common hacking practices is phishing. It involves sending scam emails with a particular link attached. This link is the gateway to hell since clicking it allows hackers to send malware over to your system. This malware damages the integrity of your system and compromises data.
A necessary step towards ensuring email security is to train employees to never open or click on unidentified links given in unknown emails. Even if the email looks legitimate, try cross-checking to have enough surety that it is free of malicious content. You should conduct training sessions to ensure your employees are well-aware of the tricks played by scammers. Your workers must have enough skills to identify a shady phone call or email.
UPDATE ALL COMPANY SOFTWARE
The software in use by your company will frequently get updates from the issuer. Your employees and management should install these updates as soon as they are available. Loopholes in the older versions may give the hackers a leeway to enter a computer system, steal sensitive information, and damage the business and its integrity. You should keep a weekly check on the updates and security patches available for all the software.
UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF PASSWORD
We have all experienced the utter annoyance we feel when a specific site makes it compulsory to generate a password with eight characters. It also asks you to add some alphanumerics to make the password healthy. However, annoyance aside, this is true for our good.
The NIST recommends that you ensure it comprises at least eight characters to make a password healthy. They also suggest that the length of the password is proven more effective than the complexity of it. It would help if you asked your employees to build long and unusual passwords to avoid giving hackers an easy front to breach.
OWN AN EFFECTIVE FIREWALL AND ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE
A firewall prevents any malicious or risky traffic from entering your computer system network. It acts as a barrier and safeguards all your information and data; they split between hardware firewalls and software firewalls. Some of the firewalls also include anti-virus features. However, if you have a firewall that does not come with an anti-virus, you should get one separately. Anti-virus software will run a check on your computer system and detect any malware that could creep in through the firewall.
Cyberattacks are a grim reality of today’s digital world. Businesses need to keep a vigilant check and implement appropriate policies to counter such attacks. The highly competitive nature of markets today gives rise to numerous malicious intentions and activities. Setting up a well-formed and specialized cybersecurity function in your business is now indispensable. If you are a small enterprise and are worried about cybersecurity, some of the tips above may prove immensely helpful. Just make sure you establish a robust cybersecurity system in your company, and you are good to go!