Cyber security for your business is becoming more important everyday. According to one US study, a hacker attack on a computer with the internet happens every 39 seconds. (SOURCE: Hackers Attack Every 39 Seconds | 2017-02-10 | Security Magazine). The research even highlighted the most commonly tried usernames and passwords and what many hackers do once they have accessed a computer. Some of the main threats of falling victim to a cyber attack include having malware, spyware or ransomware installed for the purposes of corrupting, stealing or withholding data; phishing attempts and denial of service attacks.
Shoring up cyber security
While these facts can seem shocking, the good news is that there is plenty that businesses can do to help protect their computers and digital files from being hacked. Here are some ways to help keep cyber criminals at bay.
For most businesses, protecting mission-critical data is vital for effective, secure operations. Its loss or corruption can be catastrophic and lead to significant business interruption. Regardless of how large or small a business is, or the sector in which it works, all organisations should back up their data regularly. They should also make sure that the data can be restored to their main IT systems if necessary. This also helps protect against malware blackmail attempts to withhold your data from you. So, work out what data you need to back up and where you should keep the files, e.g. cloud-based storage.
Talking of cloud-based storage, this option is becoming increasingly popular among businesses, due to the increased levels of security it can now offer. It is also very convenient to store data digitally. Files can be retrieved 24/7 from anywhere, so long as there is internet access. Plus, it cuts down on the need for physical storage, which can be cumbersome and take up a lot of room. It is also a safer option in that it is stored well away from your office and IT systems – in the case of a physical break in or burglary, cloud-based data cannot be picked up and taken away.
Outsource cyber security
Another way to protect valuable data from cyber attacks is to employ the services of a professional managed IT business services company. As well as providing secure, confidential cloud-based storage, an outsourced service also comes with a team of experts. These people can offer advice, support and input around other aspects of cyber security, such as password protection tips, anti-virus software, malware detection tools and intelligence on updates and upgrades to help keep your data safe in the longer term.
Protect mobile devices
When considering cyber security measures, or conducting a cyber security audit, don’t forget to include any mobile devices in your planning. Post-pandemic working patterns have changed, with more of us continuing to work remotely. As a result, laptops, mobile phones, tablets and other portable devices are more commonplace business tools. Care must be taken to ensure that staff protect these devices, with the right level of security software installed, strong passwords in place, apps kept up to date, tracking functionality turned on and regular back-ups happening to protect valuable data and business resources.
Choose passwords wisely
Passwords have long been an essential tool to help prevent hackers from gaining access to valuable or confidential information. It is vital to ensure that such information is accessible to authorised users, but unavailable to others with no reason or right to view or download it. Always switch on password protection options to ensure that important data is protected. Choose unpredictable passwords that cannot be easily guessed or worked out. Choose a mixture of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and symbols to make passwords even more secure and always change the default password that come with a new software application, tool or digital storage facility.
Prevent phishing and ID theft
Finally, help prevent phishing attempts from compromising your business IT systems by educating yourself and your staff about how they work. Do some research into what fake emails may look like and tell-tale signs to look out for, such as poor spelling or grammar, vague details, veiled threats or not referring to the recipient by name. Use two-factor sign in systems to help keep systems safer, even if a password is discovered by a phishing scammer. An outsourced business IT services company can also provide further advice and training to help staff stay alert to potential ID theft.