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Staying safe from cybercrime is an increasingly important concern for businesses. Recent data indicates that cyberattacks against corporate networks increased by 50% in 2021 compared to 2020. As we become more connected, consumers and businesses alike are vulnerable to malware, phishing attacks, and viruses. According to Accenture’s Cost of Cybercrime Study, 43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses, but only 14% are prepared to defend themselves. What’s more, the implications of falling victim to such online crimes can be dire – particularly if the business stores the personal or financial data of customers. A layered security approach is a critical element of your overall cybersecurity strategy. This means that you use multiple forms of protection to help protect your business, including firewalls and intrusion prevention systems (IPS), and anti-virus software. The goal is to use an array of different technologies to monitor, detect and stop cyberattacks before they can cause damage. For detailed guidance on how to implement these strategies in your local business, consider reaching out to Managed Security Services. Here are some practical cybersecurity strategies that you can implement with your business right now:
Security awareness training programs are essential, but they’re not just about telling people what to do. They should also include regular reminders of security policies, as well as how to do it safely. A good training program will not only help prevent mistakes and problems, but it can also help build the company’s brand by making employees feel more connected with the company’s values. Companies should train employees in security principles and establish basic security practices to protect sensitive business information. They should also clearly spell out rules of behaviour describing how to handle and protect customer information. It is also advisable for companies to establish Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan.
To protect your business from spyware and viruses, install, use, and update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer in your organization. Antivirus scanners are designed to detect known malware signatures, but they’re not very good at detecting unknown or zero-day threats. Advanced malware scanners look for suspicious behaviour instead of checking for specific characteristics of known Cybersecurity Threats. Anti-virus software is readily available online from a variety of vendors. Most packages now offer subscriptions to “security service” applications, which provide additional layers of protection. Set the software to automatically check for updates at a scheduled time of low computer usage, such as at night (midnight, for example), and then set the software to do a scan after the software update.
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A firewall is a device or set of devices that monitors and controls the flow of information to and from a computer. It is designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. A firewall can also be thought of as an additional layer of protection for your business’s internal networks, providing security against external threats in addition to those already provided by antivirus software at the host level. It can be implemented at different points in the network topology: on each individual computer; between individual computers and an internet service provider (ISP); between ISPs; across an entire subnet; or throughout an entire enterprise network via dedicated hardware devices known as routers. If employees work from home, ensure that their home systems are protected by firewalls.
Backups are a must. In the event of a breach, they will be your only option to recover from the disaster. The backup should include both data and system state—that is, the information needed to restore your systems to their pre-breach state. You should also store backups in a secure location offsite (a physical location that’s not within the same building as your IT operations). Your backups should be tested regularly to ensure recoverability if needed. A backup plan may seem like common sense, but many companies don’t have one—and that can make recovery much more difficult when disaster strikes.
Encryption of sensitive data is a must-have for any business operating in today’s world. In this section, we’ll explain what encryption is, how it works and its pros and cons—as well as look at some of the software options available. We will also discuss when encryption might not be necessary, so you can make an informed decision on whether or not you should encrypt sensitive data.
When creating a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure that it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so that it does not broadcast its network name, also known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). In addition, enable encryption so that passwords are required for access. Lastly, change the administrative password that was on the device when it was first purchased.
To protect data, do not provide anyone employee with access to all data systems. Only employees who need access to specific data systems should be given that access, and employees should not be allowed to install any software without permission. Managed IT Services can help implement identity and access management solutions at your local business.
Passwords that remain unchanged will over time become common knowledge among co-workers and vulnerable to hacking. Passwords should be changed at least every three months. Using password managers can help enforce good password hygiene in the workplace. Password managers are apps that store your passwords for you. They generally work by generating a random and secure password for each site you visit, so that you don’t have to remember a unique password for each website. You can then log in with a single master password, which is usually not stored on the device but instead generated by the software on your computer or mobile phone. Password managers can also help you generate strong passwords that are hard to crack and will keep hackers out of your accounts. The best password managers will offer two-step authentication options as well, making it even tougher for someone else to get access to your information if they do manage to crack one of your passwords. IT support 24/7 can offer more expert guidance on strategic security approaches and solutions for local businesses.
Nora Erspamer is the Director of Digital Marketing at New Charter Technologies, a group of companies specializing in Cloud Computing Solutions. She is an experienced marketer and sales strategist with a demonstrated history of working in various technology industries. Skilled in strategic campaign development, lead generation, and marketing automation software. Her blog can be found at https://www.newchartertech.com/learning/.