No matter what size your business is, it is at risk of cyberattack. A survey showed that over half of British firms (60%) reported cyberattacks, primarily due to businesses “feeling that they weren’t at risk.”
You may think that your virus protection and firewall is enough to dissuade cybercriminals. But, as cybercrime evolves, so should your protection strategy. This article will guide you through the warning signs to look out for and the most effective ways to protect your business from cyberattacks.
The First Line of Defence – Passwords
It can seem unnecessary to have a range of passwords or security measures in place for your business. But passwords are the first line of defence for your organisation’s system. A big warning sign is if you have one password for all different types of business data, and if it is short and easy to memorise.
Using password managers and changing passwords frequently will ensure a better-protected business. Changing passwords at least once a month and making them difficult to guess is a good start.
Also, you could consider investing in biometric authentication too. This uses technology that scans your employee’s fingerprints or iris of the eye to determine device owners. Typically applying both a password protection and a biometric system will create the best security.
Educating Your Staff
Setting up the necessary training for your staff will be critical in saving your business downtime. The Ponemon Institute’s report states that just 39% of businesses feel their employees can defend against cyberattackers. Below are some key areas to train your staff in:-
Not to click on unknown links – Training staff to be aware of phishing emails and spoofing will stop the spread of viruses. For example, tell them to check the sender’s email address and format, and hover over links to check the link address.
Device training – Allowing staff to work on their own devices creates a great sense of freedom and can improve workflow. However, this opens up your business to more cyber threats. This is because it could compromise information if someone at home uses the employee’s device or could allow malicious software to access your system.
Practice makes perfect – It’s not enough to tell employees about the risks involved, doing regular cybersecurity live fire attack exercises is a necessary tool. Simulating these scenarios is a fantastic way to help employees learn from their mistakes and implement what they learn into the company.
Unsecure Data Backups
Data backups need to be secure; otherwise, it could lead to a data breach that could cost your company time, money, and customer trust. Ransomware is an example of malware that attacks businesses that don’t have effective backup copies of data, using it as a ransom for large sums of money.
Therefore, secure your data with two-factor authentication and encryption to protect the data. Whether you decide to use external hard drives, cloud storage, or online service, be sure to do it regularly and check the security guidelines for each backup method.
Old Operating Systems
If your operating system is outdated, like Windows 7 or similar, it makes your business an easy target for hackers. As a result, your system becomes more vulnerable to data breaches, malware, and other forms without new and improved security updates.
Even a new OS needs regular updating alongside the latest antivirus protection to remain secure. If your company has limited IT resources or funding, you can use a managed IT service that will automatically install patches and update your system.
Your System is Slowing Down
A big warning sign that your business might be getting hacked is when the system is overly slow. A DDoS attack is accompanied by the warning sign of a constant drop in internet connection. According to the data from Cisco, the estimated total number of DDoS attacks globally will double to 14.5 million by 2022.
Resource exhaustion attacks the infrastructure by using all the memory and storage, slowing the system’s performance. Here are some methods for protecting against Denial of Service attacks:-
- Turn off broadcasts – This will prevent the spread from device to device on the network.
- Monitor network traffic – Whether by IT professionals or machine learning, keeping an eye on network traffic could catch a DoS before it strikes.
- Plan for risks – Having a response plan will help you quickly and effectively cope with any attacks.
Data protection should be a top priority for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Remember to regularly update passwords and authentication methods, update systems and software, train your staff to protect your business from the inside out, and plan crisis prevention strategies and responses.
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