Whether you are an entrepreneur who has just started a new business or a successful businessman with many businesses under your belt, you might have accumulated lots of user data, some of which might be sensitive in nature such as credit card information.
With news of cyber security attacks and data breaches become more and more common and spreading panic amongst enterprises around the globe, businesses needs to take cybersecurity seriously. It is important that they take proactive approach instead of reactive one.
According to Symantec study, cyberattacks on small businesses are on the rise and this trend is not going to die down anytime soon. Another report from Better Business Bureau bring to light a startling fact. The report found out that small businesses lost an average of $79,841 from cyber attacks in US only in 2017. If you believe that you are a small business and you are safe, then you need to change your mind set before you come under one.
In this article, you will learn about proven ways to keep your sensitive data safe from prying eyes of hackers.
- Run a Cybersecurity Audit
The easiest way to protect against cyber security attacks is to think like a hacker. Put yourself in the shoes of a cyber attacker and identify the loopholes in your own system. If you cannot do it yourself, hire an ethical hacker and ask them to attack your system for testing its security. Even though, this might cost you a pretty penny but it will bring to light vulnerability in your current security system. When you know the weaknesses of your network, you can easily fix them.
If you don’t know where to start, here is a cybersecurity checklist that you should download to keep your business safe. This checklist will help you identify data which is vulnerable to cyber attacks and data breaches. Moreover, this checklist also covers different areas of cybersecurity such as incident response, data management training and more. Make sure you document the steps you will take in case your business come under a cybersecurity attack. You can also learn about the steps you can take to protect your data. This checklist will show you the mirror and tell you exactly where your business stands as far as cybersecurity is concerned.
- Control Information Access
Did you know that a major chunk of cyber attacks affecting business are coordinated internally? Yes, this might shock you and force you to tighten your grip on information access. By exercising tight control over access control, you can minimize the risk of attacks that are launched from inside your organization.
Not all your employees should be given access to the database and sensitive files. Try to limit access to a minimum and offer employees access to information that they really need for completing their tasks. Define and constantly review the roles of different employees in your company. Keep an eye out for additional access your employees might have.
According to CompuQuip, you should set up controls, classify data and use tools to manage access. It will benefit your business in two ways. First of all, it will restrict how much information each employee can access. Even if one of your employees come under a phishing or any other type of cyberattack, you can easily minimize the damage by efficiently managing information control. When an employee doesn’t have access to all the data systems, attacker which compromise their identity will also not access to all your data systems.
- Educate and Monitor Your Employees
According to IBM’s Cyber Security Intelligence Index, 60% of all cyberattacks impacting businesses were coordinated by people inside the company and three quarter of these attacks were carried out with malicious intent. Social engineering attacks are one of the most common types of cyberattacks.
As a business, you can easily negate the possibility of social engineering attacks to a certain degree by educating your employees about the cybersecurity best practices and make the follow these best practices. Another thing business should focus on is to train employees on how to efficiently and secure manage their data. In addition to this, make sure you educate and train them, so they can identify and report potential internal threats and breaches.
Start off with onboarding process when a new employee join organization and keep training and educating employees on cyber security measures. When an employee leaves, conduct out boarding interviews and change all the passwords and login credentials. Set and enforce penalties for internal and criminal offenses.
- Use A Decentralized Virtual Network
Irrespective of what type of business you are in, you might be using different collaboration and communication tools for internal communication and collaboration. There is a risk of that communication history landing into wrong hands. Social media mogul like Facebook came under fire and was slapped by a fine by UK Information Commissioner Office for its role in Cambridge Analytica episode. This means that you can rely on external systems for internal communication.
Instead of using external tools, you are better off establishing a decentralized network which is hosted on your internal dedicated servers or on the cloud. This will not only give you the peace of mind, but it also offers you the complete control over who can access your information and how your sensitive information can be used.
- Automate Software Updates
Cyber attackers critically analyze software and try to find vulnerabilities they can exploit. As the software grows old, hackers know more about its vulnerabilities. Lack of support from software developers, timely release of patches and bug fixes makes the matters worse. The best thing you can do to reduce the risk of cyberattacks is to keep everything updated to the latest version.
According to Comodo Antivirus, you can easily minimize the risk of malware infection or becoming the risk of ransomware attacks by keeping operating systems, antivirus and other software updated regularly. Despite this, you will find very few businesses running the latest version of software. With most software offering the option of automatic updates, you can easily put updates in auto pilot mode and relax.
Which tactics do you use to keep your business data secure? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.