Criminals are no longer just after your physical business assets, they’re ready to steal your confidential data as well. Keep your business safe with these top cybersecurity tips.
Keeping your business safe is critical. While you can install all kinds of physical security devices at your location, you know that you can’t completely prevent break-ins. However, that doesn’t mean you should leave your doors unlocked – And the same goes for your digital assets.
Even though there’s always the possibility that a hacker will get past your defenses, it’s important to maintain the highest level of security for your data.
The Rise of Cybercrime
Organizations are reporting data losses in excess of 20 million dollars, and the trend shows no sign of slowing. Depending on which report you read, cybercrime is up as much as 48 percent and rising every year. This includes everything from malware to hacking, phishing expeditions and other types of data breaches.
The cost of preventing and combating these attacks is also soaring, and IT security professionals can be difficult to find and expensive to hire. While large organizations are more likely to get a massive hit, it’s important to note that small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) aren’t immune. Even relatively small organizations make a great target, especially if they have digital interaction with larger organizations. Numerous reports confirm that it’s SMBs, not larger firms, that are disproportionately targeted by cybercriminals.
While it may feel like all you hear is about is nation-state actors engaging in hacking activity, one of the largest causes of cybercrime can be found within your business itself: your employees. Whether disgruntled employees decide to “borrow” some data on the way out the door, or ignore security procedures, it’s a known fact that many data breaches start on the inside.
In order to track down the parties, IT security professionals must remain vigilant. In a smaller organization, this can be particularly challenging as there are limited extra hands for backup and security procedures. Senior leadership must be involved and fully understand the negative impact a case of a cybercrime can cause.
There are specific steps you can take to limit the chance you’ll be hit by ransomware, hackers or phishing. While nothing is foolproof, having upfront defenses in place, and keeping a tight watch out for unlawful activity, gives you the best chance to halt cybercriminals in their tracks before they make off with crucial data.
Here are the top tips from IT security professionals to keep cybercriminals out of your business.
- Use Strong Passwords. Perhaps the most important thing that an individual can do to ensure their safety online is to choose a strong password. However, even the strongest password isn’t good enough if you email it to yourself in a file named “Passwords,” and write it down where others can find it. Change passwords regularly, and consider using password managers.
- Keep it Private. Privacy settings on your phone, devices and on social media sites are there for a reason: Use them! There’s so much information shared on social media, and without even realizing it you may be providing hackers with the details they need to make a move against your personal or work accounts. Keep in mind that once something has been put on the Internet, it’s there forever (even if you think you’ve deleted it!).
- Protect Your Data. Strong passwords are great, but they’re not enough. Important personal information such as tax returns and financial records should be stored separately from your main system, and backed up often. Critical identity information should be protected, too. Criminals can open up lines of credit online with less personal information than you realize.
- Secure Your Computer. Spyware, malware, ransomware –There are any number of ways that a cybercriminal can gain access to your data. From social media phishing attempts, to email attachments and even pop-ups on sites that are infected with malware. Stay alert, and if an offer in a pop-up looks too good to be true, avoid it!
- Install Updates and Patches. Hackers are always looking for an “easy in” into your system—And one of the simplest is through un-patched hardware or software. When you don’t complete your software updates in a timely fashion, you’re opening up your business to potential basic and automated attacks. The “auto-update” feature in Windows is great, but it won’t catch everything.
- Add Security Software. There are several options to consider for online security, including firewalls and anti-virus programs. These are the first lines of defense against cybercriminals. It’s important that you keep them up to date to prevent infection by Trojan-horse programs, spyware that can log your activity, and much worse.
Cybersecurity is no joke, and if you want to ensure that your organization is fully protected, contact SmartMetrics at (647) 494-0176 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org . We work with all sizes companies in of Toronto and offer the latest security solutions, recommendations and active monitoring options.