“One of the most feared expressions in modern times is ‘The computer is down.’ “ ~ Norman Ralph Augustine
4 Ways to Protect Your Business From Hackers
Barely a day goes by without there being another story about a large corporation or company having suffered a security breach and â€śthousandsâ€ť of clientâ€™s details are now readily available online across the globe.
Is this just a case of scaremongering?
Is it only the big boys who are being targeted by hackers and cyber criminals?
Should smaller business really be bothered about keeping their data secure?
Surely no cybercriminal is going to waste their time trying to hack into your business â€“ youâ€™re not a global enterprise. You donâ€™t have a database of tens of thousands of clients. You donâ€™t really need to bother worrying about your IT security, youâ€™ve got enough going on, right?
Small businesses may not make the headlines when it comes to being targeted but by far they make up the success rates of online attacks. As businesses increasingly store confidential information and data in cloud services, the need for more complex security practices and strategies is clear. The threat of cybercrime is still very real for small businesses, where online security tends to be weaker, and the lack of the necessary resources and security policies to defend against these attacks make them a far easier target for hackers.
You have a duty to secure your information â€“ but there are some simple steps that you can take to help protect your business from suffering a security breach.
4 Tips For Keeping Your Small Business Secure
Password Protection: Where do you have passwords set up? On your email? On your computer? On your phone? On your website? On your cloud services? On your social media accounts? Can anyone access all areas on a work computer? If I sat at your desk now, is your email open? Your accounts package? Your LinkedIn page? If you donâ€™t get every single member of staff to log out of every single application when they are done using it I donâ€™t need to physically sit at your desk to have access to all of the information that your company accesses. And even if you do have a password, if itâ€™s â€śAdminâ€ť or any other similar generic password, and the same on all accounts, it wonâ€™t take a genius to hack in.
There is continuous talk in the technology world about phasing passwords out but at the moment they are there for a good reason. Take time out to review your companyâ€™s password protection policy and make sure that everyone adheres to it.
Educate: Hackers are like viruses â€“ they mutate faster than cures can be found. You need to keep up to date with the latest scams and threats, and you need to ensure that everyone within your organisation is also aware. Just because you know that the Direct Message you got on Twitter saying, â€śSomeone is saying awful things about you â€“ lookâ€ť is a scam that, if you click the link, will hack open your Twitter account doesnâ€™t mean that everyone in the office is aware. The latest scams involving â€śinvoicesâ€ť and â€śremittance adviceâ€ť attachments is already catching people out â€“ but if they are aware they are less likely to fall foul.
Spend, Spend, Spend: That old clichĂ©, you get what you pay for. There are a whole host of free security software packages out there but they are not as secure as the paid for options. In addition, there are free cloud storage options, free cloud sharing solutions, low cost web site hosting, free to sign up email accounts â€“ none of the free options will provide you as a company with the security you require to ensure that your clientâ€™s information remains confidential to your organisation only. Whilst there may be areas that you can cut back on, your IT shouldnâ€™t be one. Still in doubt? Then imagine trying to explain to every single one of your clients why their personal details have been posted, and publicised, to the world online â€“ would your reputation, and your business survive? Is it worth risking for the price of the paid for option?
Keep Up To Date: One of the main problems in computer security that wonâ€™t go away is that people donâ€™t update their software. Computer code is complex and inevitably has flaws. When companies find one of these flaws, they release a patch: It doesnâ€™t take hackers long to figure out what the flaw is that the patch seeks to cover, and they immediately write tools to take advantage of it. If you receive a message saying a programme needs to be updated, do it â€“ itâ€™s not there to annoy you but to keep you safe. This applies not only to your work computer, but to the apps on your phone and tablets and especially your website.
Small businesses cannot ignore security â€“ it is never a case of â€śifâ€ť, always a case of â€śwhenâ€ť. We know this first hand as every single week we are called in to help mop up the mess after a client has had their security breached. Whilst you cannot guarantee that you wonâ€™t be hit, there are measures that you can take to make it as difficult as possible for the cybercriminals to get into your organisation â€“ and the more difficult you make it, the more likely they are to go and try elsewhere.