Every year, more and more small businesses rely on technology to run just about everything. Just as our reliance on computers increases, so does the amount of reported attacks by cybercriminals on our networks.
So how safe do you feel your own small business is? Imagine what would happen if your documents were stolen today, or your emails and internet were down for a week? What about if your backups have failed?
The above may sound like nightmare scenarios, yet every day across the globe, it sadly happens. All we can do is plan and prepare, and do everything we can as leaders and business owners, to have disaster recovery plans in place.
You may be warning your employees not to open suspicious email attachments, and you may have antivirus on your computer network, but that’s basic stuff now. However, for your sake, and your customers, it’s critical to make sure you are taking absolutely every measure to protect your business data.
The following are 10 effective methods to protect your business from hackers.
Use different (complex) passwords for different purposes. This might strain the memory, however there are some great password management software tools out there, that make this a breeze. I literally have 250+ passwords that are all complex and different, stored in one, and I just need to remember the one password.
Get advanced spam and virus protection, which includes a real time web and internet filter as well as endpoint security. This is absolutely necessary nowadays.
Explain to your team what phishing is and it’s more advanced cousin, what spear phishing is. It is imperative that employees know the signs to look for, to protect your data and assets.
Regularly test your own business security. You could even hire a professional firm to conduct a security audit, however at a basic level, you can always walk around to see who has their latest password on a sticky note, or what passwords are saved in text files.
Teach good practices to your entire team. Your business is as weak as the least trained in this regard. Everyone from the front door to upper management should have the right knowledge and tools in place to manage this effectively.
Always use good passwords. If possible, make it a requirements to regularly change them too. According to a study done by managed IT services company, Bekkers, the amount of people who use pet names or partners names, where they swap i for a 1, or an O for a zero is frightening. This is very easy for a hacker to crack in literally seconds.
Another way to protect your business from hackers is to always confirm that people are who they say they are. If someone shows up to fix your copier, make sure you know who called them, check their credentials and limit their access to the areas they must access to do their jobs.
Have a detailed security and recovery plan, and regularly review it. Ideally start small, and grow on the plan over time. That way you can start today and do not delay it any further. Then set a reminder every six months, to just double check that it all still makes sense and works.
Be mindful of what your team shares on social media. You don’t need to enable hackers by handing out too much information about systems or software on Facebook or Twitter. That old saying less is more may be just the ticket here when discussing this.
Finally, ensure that the whole team understands that it is everyone’s job to be aware of computer security. Let them know that management is watching, and that IT security also means job security.
If in any doubt, engage a computer security person to do a full audit and make a series of recommendations for you. This is often a lot less expensive and time consuming than you would have thought.
The above will help you protect your business from hackers and criminals. All the best with keeping your business hacker free and secure computer networks into the future.