Protecting your business from cybersecurity threats can first appear to be a daunting task. In fact, many business owners severely limit or even eliminate the use of Internet connected devices to avoid cyber threats. Fortunately, that extreme approach is rarely necessary. With a few common sense methods and a moderate amount of technical ability, you can protect your personal and business files while maintaining electronic communications with the outside world.
1- Lock It Up Securely
It would seem to go without saying but the first step in maintaining your cybersecurity against online threats is creating strong passwords and establishing good cyber-hygiene habits. After all, the very best lock won’t stop a thief if it isn’t locked or the key is left with it.
- Create strong passwords that use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special symbols and then change them on a regular basis.
- Put passwords on your network connections and all connected devices.
- When an Internet connected device is not in use, be certain that the terminal is locked and can only be opened by entering a password.
- Never store written passwords in an unsecured location.
2- Keep Up To Date
Most, if not all, software companies and developers can agree on the point that no program is perfectly coded. Bugs, defects in the code that can be exploited, show up in software all of the time. In fact, almost every major software and operating system developer has seen the value in building a patching system into their programs where they can issue updates and security patches to fix vulnerabilities.
This is wonderful news because it means the companies who created the software are patching the holes in your network instead of forcing you to buy new software or pay your own developers to fix the issues. The problem is this; A newly released update or patch could potentially fix all of the security leaks in your network but, just like any remedy, it is only effective if it is used. For example, the infamous Equifax security breach of 2017 was accomplished using vulnerabilities that had been discovered and patched at least two months before. Equifax had failed to install these security patches and thus allowed their data to be stolen by cyber criminals. The moral of the story? Keep your software and systems updated regularly.
When it comes to maintaining one’s personal and professional reputation, it is vital that sensitive or confidential information remains confidential. U.S. President Donald Trump has stated that “Cyber theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States by far”. If your business requires the exchange of such information, including personal information of clients, it would be wise to consider the use of encryption software. This software basically takes the original file and transforms it into a code that is unrecognizable except to a receiving individual using decryption software that deciphers the code and puts it back into the original, human-friendly format.
4- Evangelize Cyberhygiene To Your Staff
Even if you are following all cybersecurity precautions to the letter, there is one component of your network that the IT department can’t control. That component is the human element.
Without a proper understanding of the importance of cybersecurity and your companies firm stance in protecting its assets, your staff could very well be leaving the electronic doors open for cyber criminals. The split second decision to follow a phishing link in an email or to ignore a security warning when visiting a website could result in thousands of dollars in losses for your company.
Protecting your business from the ever growing cyber threat doesn’t have to leave you feeling disconnected. Practicing good cyber safety habits and enforcement in your company will allow you to maintain a thriving on-line business and your cybersecurity at the same time.