In 2018 and moving forward, cyber risk is undoubtedly amongst your company’s most prominent threats. On top of the fact that cybercrimes are rising, the changing landscape of their nature makes combating these threats exceedingly challenging. In fact, strategies to protect against cyber threats are considerably different than they were just a few short years ago. It seems that the frequency of data breaches will continue to grow and expand, thus forcing business owners’ hands to develop a plan of counterattack. Notable data breaches that plagued big corporations like Equifax, Sony Pictures, and Yahoo (to name a few) have shed light on a serious problem that must be addressed strategically.
The scary reality is that hackers do not discriminate when it comes to business size. We often read about the major corporations being targeted, but small businesses are facing the same risks when it comes to the possibility of a cyberattack. A data breach has extensive reach, impacting every aspect of a business – financial issues, operational challenges, lost business opportunities, and sometimes irreparable reputation problems. As such, it is absolutely critical that organization leaders take proactive measures to safeguard their businesses. The following are some of the most important steps in protecting your business against cyber threats:
- Backup all of your data online, specifically utilizing a “versioning” program (allows users to see all versions of files). If possible, avoid local backup devices.
- Encrypt all data, particularly important information.
- Secure all hardware.
- Purchase a cloud-based, commercial-grade firewall and avoid purchasing any type of retail antivirus software.
- Pay close attention to employee activity, ensure all staff understand the risks clicking on dangerous links or downloading malware.
- Regularly update your software.
- Disable administrative access and change any default passwords.
- Choose extremely strong passwords and change them frequently. Also, utilize two-factor authentication.
- Institute policies and procedures that create a company culture that takes cyber threats seriously.
- Consider an insurance product to protect the organization against a breach.
A recent survey of CEOs found that only 5 percent of their companies were fully secure against cyber threats. One of the most common responses is that business owners falsely believe that their company is too small to be targeted by hackers or that their data is not worthy of an attack. These assumptions are often the mistakes that most readily attracts hackers. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports that digital information theft is the most commonly reported type of fraud, outranking physical fraud. They also note that having a broadband connection is imperative, potentially making a $200,000 a year difference in median annual revenues for businesses.
Establishing a culture that pay close attention to the risks of cyberattacks is the first step in protecting your business from hackers. Business owners have a lot on their plates and cyber threats often takes a backseat to more pressing matters. Unfortunately, placing cybercrime counterattacks on the backburner can result in catastrophic outcomes. As technology continues to evolve, the proper practices to remain protected will change as well. Be proactive and resilient in order to keep both your company and your clients safe from the many cyber threats present today.