How to protect your business from cyber attacks
Worried about being hacked? Find out how yo can protect your business from cyber attacks.
Cybercrime is a serious issue. It can destroy a business in an instant, ruining its reputation, stealing its money, taking customers’ sensitive information (credit card details, names, addresses, and more) and using it for nefarious ends.
And even if nothing is taken, a virus can easily be downloaded that then infects any other network you are in contact with.
The issue with all of this, apart from the fact that it exists in the first place, is that cybercrime is growing. It’s even possible to sign up for a ransomware subscription which effectively means anyone can be handed the tools they need for a hacking attempt, and since there is relatively little chance of getting caught, cybercrime has become a lucrative sector to be in.
That great news for the criminals and very bad news for business owners.
Except that there is something that can be done, even if it seems like you might be fighting a losing battle. In fact, there are several things that can be done, and when you put them all together, you may well be able to protect your business from cyberattacks after all. Read on to find out more.
Undertake cybersecurity assessments
Unless you know exactly where you currently stand with regards to your cybersecurity (or lack of it), you won’t know where you need to make improvements.
This is why carrying out regular cybersecurity assessments is important, and should be done before anything else and before any changes are made. When doing this, you’ll be able to not only see your weaknesses but also where you’re doing well, giving you the chance to replicate the good points in the areas that need it most.
By starting with an assessment like this, you will be able to plan out the next steps so that you can keep your business safe. If you’re not sure how to go about this kind of risk assessment you can outsource the work to an expert, or you can look online and find a variety of downloadable checklists to give you a good idea of what you should be looking for.
Undertake staff training
It makes no difference whether you yourself are completely up to date with everything there is to know about cybercrime and how to protect your business from it if your staff have no idea what they should be doing or looking out for in terms of potentially dangerous activity. This is why staff training is a crucial part of your arsenal of weapons to be used against cybercriminals.
Make sure that each and every employee you have working for you is aware of the dangers of having a weak password, that they know what a phishing attempt looks like, that they understand why firewalls and anti-virus software is important, and more. By explaining not just what to look for, but also why these things are dangerous, you will have a stronger defence in place.
Staff training can be done in-house if you have the tools and the knowledge to do so in a relevant way, but you can also book your team (and maybe yourself for some extra information) onto cyber security courses.
Run by experts who will have the answers to any questions raised and who will be adept at explaining exactly what is expected of an employee in terms of company safety, this type of course offers multiple benefits.
Update your software
Simply installing the software you need and then leaving it, never thinking about it again, is a bad idea. Although it might still work perfectly if there is an update for it you should take it.
Why is this so important? The older your software is, whether it’s an app or a computer program, the more likely it is that cybercriminals have developed ways to hack into it. The longer it’s been around, the longer they have had to think about how to break through any barriers.
When you update your software, you are effectively adding a new lock to the door, slowing cybercriminals down as they will now need to start their break-in attempt from scratch, working out ways to get past this update too. By the time they have developed a way in, there should be another update for you to use. Keep doing this, and it will prevent a great deal of cyberattacks.
Cybercriminals don’t work on a 9 to 5 schedule and that means your protection efforts have to be constant otherwise, as soon as you drop your guard, you’ll let someone in who can then wreak havoc across your network. Something to help you do this is 24/7 monitoring.
Although you won’t be able to do this yourself, and neither will you be able to ask any team members to do it (unless you run a 24-hour operation, of course), but it can be outsourced.
Not only will this mean that you are never going to miss an alert, but experts can also act immediately to block the security attempt, helping you even more. There’s no point in being vigilant if that means you have to watch hackers doing their worst and you’re unable to stop it.
Have an incident response plan
Sometimes, no matter how well protected your business might be, a cybercriminal can still get in. A moment of distraction, a break in the firewall, it could be anything. Rather than bemoan the fact that it’s happened, you’ll need to immediately start your incident response plan to protect as much as possible and patch up the area that was breached.
Ultimately it’s a good idea to have professional help with these repairs, but your immediate thought should be to push back and protect everything you can as soon as you notice there has been a cyberattack.
Although the incident response plan is going to differ from business to business, a good place to start is by informing the team members who are best equipped to deal with the situation first so that they can get on and do what needs to be done without delay.
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