Every business is exposed to cyber threats in one way or another. As soon as a computer is connected to the internet, it becomes a potential target for hackers and cybercriminals. Since most computers and business communications networks are connected to the internet, there is a considerable risk of falling victim to hackers and their activities. Luckily, some steps can be taken to mitigate these risks. Let’s take a closer look at what every business can do to keep itself safe against cyber threats.
Take Cyber Threats Seriously
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. In the case of cyberattacks, this is especially true. Unfortunately, many businesses shy away from spending time and resources on implementing proper protection against cyber threats because they assume that they are too small or insignificant to be a target for hackers. Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth. Hackers are very indiscriminate for their victims, and they often employ tactics like mass email to distribute their malware. This means that whoever falls for their bait and inadvertently installs the malware on their system becomes a victim, no matter the size of the business. Therefore, the first step to becoming more secure against cyber threats is creating and implementing a cybersecurity defense plan.
Invest In Cyber Security Software
Another crucial step is making sure that your business invests in cybersecurity software. This includes antivirus, antimalware and firewall applications. These apps form the first line of defense against cybercriminals and are intended to keep them out of your network. Furthermore, if an intruder manages to sneak malware past the firewall, the antimalware and/or antivirus software should prevent the malware from spreading throughout your network. Finally, it goes without saying that these applications should always be updated to include the latest virus definitions to remain effective.
Keep Unsafe Hardware Away From Your Network
You can significantly reduce the risk of a cybersecurity breach by limiting the use of personal devices such as tablets, laptops, and mobile phones on your business network. Personal devices are often not protected by antivirus and antimalware applications, and they can easily introduce malware to your system. Another important consideration is limiting portable memory devices such as flash drives and external hard drives. These devices can be connected directly to secure computers on your business network, which increases the risk of a cybersecurity breach. If your company uses a “bring your own device” policy, consider providing employees with licenses for appropriate security apps.
Ensure That All Vital Data Is Backed Up Regularly
Even with the best safety measures in place, it is still possible that your system may be hacked. Cybercriminals are often one step ahead of everyone else, and it is important to prepare for any eventuality. By ensuring that you have a full backup of vital data, you can recover quicker from a successful cyberattack. A good way to ensure that your backups are always up to date is to use automated backup software that performs daily backups without the need for human intervention. You can further safeguard your data by using double or even triple backup devices and/or locations. In this way, you are still protected even if one backup device fails. Backups can also be sent to off-site locations by using a cloud-based data center to store a copy of your vital data.
Train Your Staff in Safe Computing Practice
This step is often underestimated, but it is one of the cornerstones of every good cybersecurity plan. Simple things like ensuring that workstations are locked when they are not in use and not opening email attachments from unknown sources can make a world of difference in cybersecurity. Investing the time and energy in compiling a standard operating practice manual for safe computing is well worth the effort. Such a manual should include general security measures like not visiting sketchy websites or using external memory devices from unknown sources on company computers. The frequent changing of usernames and passwords is also an important factor that should be included in your safe computing practice guidelines.
Cybersecurity is an important aspect of business today that is often not given the attention that it deserves. As the business- and cyberworlds come ever closer together, the risk of becoming a victim of a cyberattack increase. For this reason, it is in every business’s best interest to invest in cybersecurity, irrespective of its size or field of operations.