Today every business needs online tools and technology for day-to-day functions. The internet is what makes any business function smoothly, from communication with suppliers and customers, across research and advertising, to banking transactions.
Clearly, cybersecurity plays a vital role since it protects your business from any unauthorized access which could result in a robbery, modifications, or complete obliteration.
Now, some business owners simply assume that cyber-attacks won’t happen to them. Don’t make the mistake thinking that your business is too small to be relevant to hackers. No business is off the hook, no matter the size or industry. If you don’t take online security seriously, all your virtually-stored data such as private information of your customers and financial records are at risk. That said, we’ve prepared a mandatory list of online security measures that will keep your business protected.
Table of Contents
The Final Frontier
Just in case the unwanted attacks get through your security network, the first step is to establish the final frontier of defense – reliable anti-malware and anti-virus software. This software is an essential basic must-have since it will not only detect and remove malware, viruses, spyware, and adware but also scan through all potentially harmful emails and downloads and filter them out.
The second part of this final frontier is a necessary firewall that will protect both your inbound and outbound traffic. It will shield your network from attacks by blocking potentially harmful websites and you can also program it to make sending out confidential emails and proprietary data from your business network restricted.
To make sure this virtual frontier will stand firmly in place, you need to make sure all your software, browsers, and operating system are up to date with the latest security patches. Technology is constantly evolving and security software is not the exception, so it’s best to set it to auto-update.
The best way to keep your critical data safe is to keep the number of people who can access it to a minimum. Usually, it’s enough to allow access to the company’s CIO, CEO, and just a handful of trusted employees. You can additionally increase accountability by formulating a plan that clearly states which individuals can access to what sensitive data.
Apart from employees, you can also limit access for users and customers as a security measure. Sometimes the fact that your content is available everywhere can turn your business into an attractive target for cyber attacks. Geo-restriction is not reserved only for giant streaming platforms such as Netflix or HBO – SkyCity Online Casino is a great example of how it can be used as an additional layer of security when the stakes are high.
Leave Them with Unreadable Codes
You should always consider a possible scenario in which hackers get their hands on your sensitive data, so it’s mandatory to use encryption software, especially if you deal with data containing social security numbers, bank accounts, credit cards and the like. By encrypting your data you’re basically turning the information into unreadable code for those who don’t have the key to decrypt and decipher it. For hackers, that is.
Think Before You Click
A lot of business owners don’t know that the very Wi-Fi network they’re using can be vulnerable. There’s a difference between WEP, WPA, and WPA2 network – the first is simply not safe enough, while the third is what you should aim at. To make sure your Wi-Fi network is safe from breaches, you should change the name of your router or wireless access point and employ a Pre-shared Key (PSK) that will provide you with an additional layer of security. If you need to access your systems through a public network or one you suspect to be insecure, always use a virtual private network (VPN).
Employing all these steps doesn’t mean there’s no need to be cautious with your clicking, especially when it comes to links from unfamiliar websites, social media, or ones found in emails. You should pay special attention to emails since they can contain phishing scams, which are attempts of online identity or financial theft.
Phishing emails will appear as if they’re coming from trusted senders such as business partners, clients, or banks in an attempt to get access to your financial and private data. So never open suspicious emails even if they seem to be from a trusted sender. If you automatically open them, stay away from the attachments and links inside.
Take Passwords Seriously
This may seem obvious, but the fact is there are still people who don’t quite get the meaning behind the phrase “strong password”. The complexity of passwords doesn’t lie as much in phrasing as it lies in tricks. One useful trick that will make the password unpredictable and therefore difficult to decipher is translating it into a foreign language via a simple free online tool.
Then there is a mix of alphanumeric symbols and characters, both with lower and upper cases. If you’re among those who write down their passwords, it’s good to throw in space before, in between, or after the password which won’t appear on paper. Since multiple users have access to the business website, two-factor authentication (2FA) is mandatory. Cracking passwords is not a guessing game but social engineering, so your scribbling skills are not enough.
Regular backups are a staple of preserving your business’ security, but some people are still getting the idea wrong. You can backup data every week or make backups automated, but if you’re keeping them only on the cloud you haven’t done much.
The only way to make sure your information will remain safe in case of compromised systems is to keep copies off-site also and remember to check if they work before giving yourself a pat on the back.
Combined, all security measures on this list will keep your business protected, but only if you communicate them to all of your employees and make sure that they are implemented accordingly. Remember that technology is effective only if it’s fully understood and applied by the people who handle it.