Cybersecurity, no matter the size of your business or how many employees you have, is a vital part of today’s business. Everyone in your organization must be up to date on how to spot a cyber threat and what to do about it.
In addition, there are some fundamental things you should do to protect your business from cyber threats. As hackers find new and innovative ways to steal your data, you must be able to stay a few steps ahead of them. Here are some ways that you can “seal the breach” against hackers:
- Educate your staff about social engineering attacks.
Social engineering attacks trick people into giving up sensitive information, usually by posing as someone within your company or a vendor. Educate your staff on what to look for and how to protect themselves and your company from these malicious attacks. Phishing is a popular social engineering threat that disguises a virus within an email. Once the attachment is opened, the virus goes to work attacking data and sending information back to the hacker. Make sure your employees question anything that seems odd or out of place.
- Use up-to-date anti-virus software and firewalls.
Check for updates periodically and set them to install automatically. Cybercriminals can easily exploit an unsecured system with a one-time breach or ongoing theft.
- Establish company policies for handling and storing sensitive data.
Everyone in your organization doesn’t need access to sensitive data. Restrict who has access, and make sure they change their passwords every 90 days at the very least. Also, don’t store more client data than you need, and don’t hold it any longer than you have to. The less data you have on hand, the less you lose during a breach.
- Establish guidelines for company-wide computer use.
Your employees shouldn’t use company computers or devices for personal use. This prevents them from inadvertently sending out sensitive data. Plus, employees shouldn’t use their personal devices for business purposes. This includes thumb drives, tablets, and phones.
- Institute a mobile device policy.
Set up a protocol so your employees can access data from a secure location on their phones without downloading data. Enable access codes, encryption and remote-wipe software on all company devices—And keep a log of all issued and approved devices, and who has them
- Stay up-to-date on software patches.
Install all hardware, software and operating system updates. This keeps hackers from taking advantage of vulnerabilities. Be sure these updates take place across-the-board on all computer devices.
- Use passwords.
Use the built-in password functions for laptops and other devices. Don’t allow employees to store passwords on their work computers or devices. And make sure they use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols to make strong passwords. They should also change them at least every three months.
- Encrypt sensitive files.
Encrypting your files is essential. This way, even if criminals get your data, they won’t be able to view or alter it. Data in transit that’s sent over the internet should also be encrypted. This way, if they’re intercepted, they’ll be unreadable by unauthorized individuals.
- Dispose of old files and devices properly.
Simply deleting a file on your hard drive doesn’t mean that it’s gone forever— The data can still be retrieved. The only way to prevent this is to destroy the hard drive. When you upgrade equipment, remember to destroy their drives. And when replacing copiers with hard drives, destroy them as well. Consider what other equipment might contain drives with stored data, and destroy them when replacing these pieces of equipment.
- Back up your files.
Keep copies of your data separate from your original files. Whether online in the cloud or offline at a separate site, always back up your data. It’s best to both back up data on the cloud and offline in another location. This way, if you’re hacked or data gets lost, you’ll have a better idea of what’s missing, and be able to retrieve it.
Cybersecurity is a big deal and a big job. But it’s never foolproof. You must remain vigilant and uncompromising in your security measures. Don’t let hackers take what you’ve worked so hard to build. With ransomware and other cyberattacks on the rise, you want to start 2018 on the right foot.