Whether you’re a business owner, an employee or a third party, the importance of implementing safe practices online cannot be understated. Losing control over your data is often the beginning of a very expensive, time-consuming process, and the situation isn’t always fixable, which is why it’s so worthwhile investing in preventative measures like the following.
Embrace your own suspicions
There’s plenty to be done in the war against cybercrime, and one of the most important protective changes you can make is in your own mind. In essence, before you can protect yourself, your business and your staff from the threat of cybercriminals, you need to acknowledge the existence of the threat. That may seem obvious, but the reality is that many cyber-attacks succeed only as a result of business owners’ complacency. If you haven’t given much thought or concern about protecting your data online, it’s a great time to educate yourself on preventative strategies and products that could help.
Strengthen your passwords
To the average person, keeping track of passwords for a full spectrum of secure platforms might seem cumbersome, but filling your passwords with numbers and symbols is more than a simple memory exercise. For you and your employees, the practice of creating and updating secure passwords is the key to maintaining the security of workplace data and technological systems. Especially in the realm of online business, the inclusion of a data security element in the onboarding process of every new employee and any refresher training courses is a must.
Install a firewall
When properly installed and maintained, firewalls can offer strong protection from malware, including the ability to detect and halt data extraction, but not all firewalls are made equal. Software firewalls are great for giving everyone working in your office basic protection from online threats, but if you’re after a more robust option, a hardware appliance is your best bet. Many software providers throw in free firewall software with their products, but as this may not cover you for more advanced threats, the best course of action is to have a security expert configure the firewalls for you.
Have your website audited
Your website is a prime target for cybercrime, and if an elite hacker were to infiltrate your systems, it could compromise more than just your data. Businesses offering a payment portal to their customers stand to weather a significant storm should their customers’ personal and financial information be stolen, which is why it pays to have a tech professional conduct an audit on your site. A thorough website audit allows for the identification of weaknesses and flaws in the coding or script, in the same way a hacker would, so that the structure can be improved. This way, you can keep not only your website, but also the reputation of your business, intact.
Be wary of ransomware
If you’re part of the reported 32% of business owners who are unfamiliar with ransomware, an aggressive form of malware, then you are leaving your business and its information at risk. Ransomware works by weaseling its way into your computer or website and bailing up your data, releasing it only after you have paid the specified ransom. It’s a serious threat, but the good news is there are plenty of fairly basic ways to keep it at bay. Start by shifting your website over to a secure hosting service, if it isn’t already on one, and adopting the use of “https” in your web address. In many cases, basic measures like making regular software updates and installing trusted anti-malware programs should be enough to keep your data safe, but even then, don’t forget to perform regular data back-ups.
Scrutinize your inbox
Email is a common entry point for ransomware and other malware, and your ability to keep threats at bay often depends on pure skepticism and caution. Vigilance is crucial, and for those who are part of a larger company, instilling the same in all the staff members is an even more important and challenging task.
You and your employees should be wary of unreliable mailing lists and unsolicited links, whether in emails, social media, or untrusted websites. And should you discover any suspicious-looking mail, you should consider investing in an upgraded security system for your devices. Email filters will help in the prevention of disastrous consequences, but in these cases, prevention is always better than the cure.
Be a hands-on boss
You probably have good working relationships with each of your employees and consider them fairly trustworthy, but a solid online security strategy often requires the boss to take a little more control. 60 percent of security breaches can be traced back to someone inside the company, and whether the breaches are intentional or accidental, that’s a risk you would be unwise to ignore. In your quest to eliminate poisonous errors, make sure that each employee has access only to the information they need for their role, and nothing more. By keeping the information privileged, you can practically eliminate the risk of an employee-borne data leak, but it wouldn’t hurt to emphasize a strong policy on email and internet usage.
In the age of endless technological advancement, it’s only natural that more and more daily processes will make the transition to the online world, and with that comes the extra responsibility of additional data protection. By keeping up with the latest technology news and version updates, you’ll be giving yourself and your business the best chance of outsmarting the hackers.
Article by Theodora Evans
Theodora is a passionate blogger from Sydney and she is someone you would call an IT nerd that travels the world. Also, she takes great interest in housing and helping people. Besides that, she loves martial arts and enjoying the nature.