Cyber-attacks on businesses have reached unprecedented proportions in the last two years. The FBI received over 700,000 reports of internet crimes in 2020, a 75 percent increase over the previous year. A ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline in 2021 disrupted the fuel supply chain in the United States. This attack impacted all industries, affecting both large and small businesses.
Hackers and malicious agents can target any business, large or small. As a result, the message of being cyber-aware and safeguarding critical business data is one that every company should follow.
In this article, we will share five cyber security tips to help you get started on keeping your company safe from cyber threats.
1. Teach your employees the importance of backing up data
The saying — “Prevention is better than cure,” — is arguably the best advice you can get from a cyber security expert. It is much easier to stop an attack than recover from it.
If your business has been a victim of ransomware attacks, it is always a long, expensive, and difficult process to recover. Regular backup of sensitive business data can save you from these ransomware incidents.
You should teach your employees the best practices of cyber security, especially to back up the data on all computers. If possible, backup data automatically, or at least weekly.
You can teach them to follow the 3-2-1 system used by tech experts. This means they will keep three copies of each document; two copies on different storage devices and one copy in an off-site location (preferably a cloud storage).
2. Make Sure WI-Fi Is Safe
Unprotected network connections make you vulnerable to attacks. Your business’s Wi-Fi connection should be encrypted, secure, and hidden from public access.
One way to ensure the security of your online activities is by using a virtual private network (VPN) or a proxy server. While a VPN can be a paid service, you can find a free proxy server list online to help you access the internet securely, even when you’re on public Wi-Fi.
Make it a rule in your business never to access your work accounts from public Wi-Fi. Malicious agents and hackers are rife on public Wi-Fi. Accessing your business’s critical data on such networks puts you at significant risk.
3. Incognito mode: How does it help?
You or your employees may find yourselves in a situation where you have to access your work accounts from a public network. In such situations, the incognito mode can bail you out.
Incognito mode is more than a browser feature; it is also an online privacy tool. When you activate the feature on a web browser, all local data associated with your browsing session is cleared as soon as you close the session. Your browsing history, cookies, cache, and other forms of browsing data are also deleted.
So in those situations where you have to use a public computer to access the internet, using the browser in incognito mode ensures that any of your business information is not saved on the public device. And thus, out of reach from prying eyes and hackers.
4. Provide Each Member With User Accounts
Give each employee a user account. Make them use strong passwords to prevent unauthorized persons from accessing sensitive data. When computers are not in use, they should be locked.
5. Don’t Forget About Payment Processing
Malicious agents who perpetrate cyber-attacks commonly have financial motives. The best thing is to separate payment processing systems from the other aspects and programs of the business. Use different computers to process your payments.
Work with your partner financial institutions to ensure you are using trusted tools. Set up an anti-fraud system with them and ensure additional security measures are in place to prevent any occurrence of payment brouhaha.
6. Keep Your Software up to Date
This is an often overlooked safety and security tip. Software updates are often security patches. When software developers discover faults or loopholes in their software service, they fix them. They send that solution to you in the form of an update. However, we often ignore them, creating an entry point for hackers and malicious agents.
Keeping your business safe from cyber threats is a continuous process. As you can see, the tips mentioned in this article are not one-time actions. You have to make them a core part of your business operations.