All businesses, no matter how big or small, need detailed strategies on how to protect against cyberattacks these days.
For small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the stakes are even higher. When even large companies like Facebook are the victims of cyberattacks, companies with fewer resources need to be smarter about cybersecurity.
Maintaining a strong cybersecurity posture is also critically important now that personal data is protected by law in many jurisdictions. For example, companies that do business in the EU (and that includes selling online) must abide by the data privacy regulations of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Expect more similar legislation in the future.
Top Cybersecurity Issues and Threats That Leave Your Data Vulnerable
Gone are the days when a company could get away with taking credit cards, unencrypted, via email. Your company, especially if it deals with financial records or healthcare, needs to take data privacy and protection seriously – or risk lawsuits. Learn to be vigilant. Here are a few ways to improve your security and help your business:
1. Outdated Software and Buggy Code
Outdated software is a prime target for hackers. This not only includes software on your business network but your website software. Running an older version of WordPress to run a website is a surefire invitation to hacking. This includes plug-ins or add-ons. Buggy code is another open door for cyber attackers. Keep your software updated to keep out hackers.
2. Viruses, Malware, and Ransomware
Viruses and malware can run from the relatively “benign” – such as a program that hijacks your browser to show a shopping advertisement – to the devastating. A virus can completely disable your system or steal your data. (Note: All viruses and ransomware are “malware” - that is, bad software designed to destroy or steal. Viruses are lousy software programs that self-replicate - ransomware is a type of malware that takes your computer hostage.)
Ransomware can not only take down an individual computer but could potentially hold an entire network hostage. While cloud computing is generally safe, its adoption means that more hackers are targeting your cloud storage and apps for viruses and malware. Use anti-virus software and avoid downloading email attachments from people you don’t know - to stop these threats.
3. Wireless Systems and Devices
Both Wi-Fi networks and wireless devices such as mice and keyboards offer cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Public Wi-Fi hotspots (such as those in airports) are prime avenues for remote monitoring of your online activities. Wireless devices can be hijacked – and it can be from as far away as a football field’s length.
4. Phishing Scams
It’s far easier for a hacker to get into an account if they can get the password directly from the user. This is what a phishing scam is all about. The hacker sends an email that looks like an official email from a company (such as a bank). This email typically includes a fake security warning, such as “Your Account May Have Been Hacked!” with an urgent message to login to check it. The login link is a fake link to the hacker’s website, where the password is captured quite easily when it is voluntarily typed in.
While most email services now flag these phishing messages, you can also look at the link. If the link is not the same URL as the official website (i.e., paypal.enteryourinfo.net vs. paypal.com), then don’t use it.
How to Protect Against Cyberattacks and Prevent Cybersecurity Breaches
While you may not have planned on running a “technology” company, even the most modest organizations require a small business cybersecurity plan to avoid disaster. Your medium or small business cybersecurity plan should cover several bases.
1. Employee Access and Education
First, employee education is paramount. Of course, limiting nonessential access to data is a good policy. But all employees are vulnerable to phishing scams or viruses through simple web browsing. Often, these problems could be solved with some simple virus software and/or end-user education.
2. Keep Software and Code Updated
Keep all operating systems and software up to date. Make sure the buggy code is fixed. When hiring a vendor to create custom code for your project, consider their security credentials. Review your legacy software for vulnerabilities. Don’t skimp when it comes to cybersecurity.
3. Secure Wi-Fi and Wireless Devices
Make sure internal networks have a strong password. SSIDs (network IDs) do not need to be broadcast, which can add to security. Consider using wired keyboards and mice for employees doing sensitive data entry.
These are just a few suggestions for your small business cybersecurity plan. Other cybersecurity best practices include encryption, firewalls, anti-virus software, web filters, and more.
Defend Against Cyber Threats by Thinking Outside the Box
Beyond the basics of securing networks and installing proper firewall software, cyberattacks are best prevented by out-of-the-box thinking. This includes a wide-ranging IT strategy that looks at the big picture of your technology systems, as well as instituting the proper IT policies that prevent cybersecurity vulnerabilities. This takes time and planning, as well as some technical expertise and know-how.
Ideally, your in-house IT person will have expertise in this area. If not, additional training may be well worth the investment. Are you a solopreneur or small company without an IT staff? Get as educated as you can on cybersecurity issues. This may mean taking some online classes in your free time. Working with cybersecurity experts can also make a huge difference.
Knowing how to protect against cyberattacks can mean the difference between success and failure, between profitability and heavy losses, between a positive customer experience or a ruined reputation.
DOCUmation offers secure technology solutions, including professionally managed software solutions that reduce cyber vulnerabilities while increasing efficiency. As cyber threats become more frequent and severe, your business needs a trustworthy IT partner that can reduce cybersecurity risks.
To improve your cybersecurity while enhancing IT efficiency, speak to one of DOCUmation’s digital experts today.