Preventing Cyber-crimes Against Your Business
Despite increased press coverage of the threat of cyber crime, many business owners don’t feel they are at risk of an attack. This is often due to a lack of understanding of the methods used by cyber criminals. Any business connected to the Internet is at risk, and no organization is immune to attack. Cyber crime is estimated to cost the global economy close to $500 billion a year.
The common perception that cyber criminals are individuals working from home is far from accurate. They are typically well organized networks combining intelligence and collaborating to refine their methods.
Theft of or interference with data is one of the most forms of cyber crime, and this can have very serious implications for the victim. As well as financial losses, these crimes can result in damage to reputation and fines from regulators.
The following tips will help business owners reduce the chances of becoming a victim of cyber crime.
Recognize the risks to your business
It’s isn’t just companies selling products online and handling card payments that are vulnerable to cyber attacks. Handling and storing client data, using IT systems for accounting and having any form of online presence for marketing all carry risks. Most modern businesses would struggle to trade if their IT systems were disabled.
Secure your systems
As a bare minimum, a company’s IT systems should be protected with a firewall and comprehensive antivirus software. Free versions of antivirus software are available, but they generally lack the technical support and range of functions of paid-for products. Security software doesn’t offer complete protection against hackers, but it can detect and disarm the majority of malicious programs and malware. Tablet computers and smartphones are just as vulnerable to viruses as laptops and office-based equipment, so should also have security software installed. For more information about employee owned devices in the workplace and the implications, see our article on BYOD policies.
Recognize the role of staff in online security
Staff are one the greatest weaknesses in a company’s IT security. Using weak passwords, opening email attachments from unknown sources and accessing social media at work can lead to serious problems. Business owners should set out clear guidelines to staff, and ensure that anyone using company equipment and systems knows what’s required of them. Staff are particularly vulnerable to phishing attacks.
Hire expertise if you don’t have it
Smaller businesses often lack the resources and expertise to manage cyber security. Outsourcing to a specialist provider can be a good option in these situations. A cloud-based IT solution is one way of improving data security and having round the clock support. Taking out a cyber insurance policy can bring help and support in the event of a security breach or other incident.
Back up data
One of the potentially most harmful cyber risks to a business are so called “ransomware” attacks. These involve blocking the victim’s access to their own data. The aim of a ransomware attack is to demand payment for the return of the data. Having processes in place to keep back up copies can help reduce the impact of this form of cyber crime.
In today’s digital age, new types of crime are constantly emerging. It’s difficult to predict what forms of cyber attack will come in the future, but improving security now will help businesses deal with these threats.
For help with backing up your system or assessing your security you can contact our experts at 805-964-3235 and ask for Monte or Scott.