When we run our own business, it’s easy to overlook some of the areas that matter the most, especially if we don’t know very much about them. It’s a little like the plumbing in your home: you know it’s there, and it does it's job most of the time. One day, you get a leak, water will go everywhere, and you'll wish you took precautions earlier. It's the same when it comes to taking the time to protect your business from cyberattacks.
When your IT fails, most businesses come to a standstill. This means hours of not being able to get online, a reduction in productivity and an increase in stress. You may find you miss deadlines and lose clients. These are only some of the reasons why it's crucial for you to know how to protect your business from cyberattacks.
How do Cyberattacks Happen?
Cyber hackers are now more innovative than ever. They have perfected their art, and there is a whole industry of fraudsters trying to find new and creative ways of getting into your system. This includes your mobile phone, computers, and websites.
They can find ways into your emails and extract all the information they need to commit a number of frauds. They know precisely what they are looking for, so once they are in, they are out. And it’s as simple as you clicking one link by mistake. This is why it’s vital that you stay on top of your security and understand where your business weaknesses are.
Hackers often use spam to access your information. They trick you into clicking a link or downloading a document. In the past, these have been quite obvious to spot, and most email systems have spam filters that get rid of these messages before you even know they are there. They are a huge security threat to your business.
However, cybercriminals now use sophisticated ways to get your attention, and these spam emails become harder and harder to spot. Emails will come from colleagues or others you know, sometimes even with their real email address listed. They are also attacking your social media accounts by cloning your friends and sending you private messages.
All it takes is one click and they are in.
If this all sounds a bit confusing, then you might consider consulting with a specialist to ensure you are up to date with all the best data security. An ethical hacker is someone that understands how cybercriminals work and what they are looking for. They will run through all your systems looking for ways to hack in. This could highlight all your areas of weakness and ensure all the seals are tight.
How to Protect Your Business From Cyberattackers
Start With Your Passwords
There are some elementary procedures we can master to help strengthen our cybersecurity. Passwords are the first place to start. If a hacker obtains your password, then they can access everything with no trouble at all. Make sure that you change your passwords frequently. Don’t use anything that could be obvious, such as a word or a date that has meaning. Always combine letters, numbers, and special characters. Also, beware of password hints on your computers. If you do use them, make sure that they are quite absurd so no one else can guess what they mean.
The password to your cloud is also critical. There have been many cloud accounts hacked over the last few years. This has resulted in leaked personal images and stolen client information. So if someone does access your cloud account, it could have horrendous consequences, including legal action against you.
Turn On Time Outs
If you often work in public spaces, set a timeout on all screens. It can be annoying to keep having to log in to your work if you are getting distracted during the day, but criminals are incredibly quick at getting the information they need when you aren’t looking. So a little bit of frustration for you in your daily life could save you from a lot of stress in the future.
Know Your Level of Risk
It doesn't matter how big your business is, you need to protect it from cyberattacks. You may think that because you are a small business running from your home office, and you only have a computer and a phone that you don’t need to worry about your IT very often. The truth is, you have a much higher risk of cyberattack.
Small businesses like yours are more straightforward to target than the multi-million dollar corporations. So for a hacker, gaining access to your clients, data and banking could prove more lucrative. They can spend the same amount of timing hacking 100 small businesses as they do cracking one large one. Plus, it’s easier for them to get in and get out without ever being traced. So, you must understand your level of risk and how to mitigate it.
Update Your Tech
Another simple way of defending your business from a cyber attack is to make sure all of your computers and smartphones are running the latest updates. Whether you use ioS or another system, regular updates help tighten your security.
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For example, with your phone, when you update to the latest software version, you can shake off any apps that have been secretly accessing to your smartphone. Updates are simple and can be done overnight.
Implement a Firewall
There are multiple firewall programs and other security software on the market too. The program can send you incident logs, helping you understand how cybercriminals are trying to access your data. Knowing where you are vulnerable helps you take steps to prevent issues.
Know the Trends
Understanding the latest trends in cyberattacks will help protect you and your clients. The legal issues of losing your customers' data will result in prosecution, and the trust your clients have will be lost forever. Your responsibility to ensure their safety is paramount, and you need to understand how to make sure you are fully protecting them.
You can research trends in security breaches on the internet or speak to a specialist. When you do so, regardless of the industry you are in or the size of your company, ensure you know your responsibilities.
Educate Your Employees
Don’t forget to ensure your employees understand data risks too. Even if there are only three of you in the company, you all have a responsibility. This is more true now than ever, wich so many employees working from home instead of in an office, all using the same network. If they have the level of knowledge that you do, then you have more chance of protecting yourself.
Employees need to know not to open attachments or click links that seem strange. They should also be taught the basics of data encryption and how to protect sensitive information. Your company should also implement a posting procedure for your website and social media platforms. To keep things simple with passwords, you could allocate them, and update them regularly too.
Have a Cyberattack Response Plan
If you do find yourself the victim of cybercrime, then implement all the safety measures you can as quickly as possible. You need a crisis plan set out, so you know who needs to be contacted and what steps you need to take to limit any damage. Once you have your plan in place and you know the source of the issue, you should speak to all affected clients. Provide a clear and reassuring line of communications and demonstrate how the issue has been resolved.
It's absolutely crucial to protect your business from cyberattacks if you want to be successful. Hopefully, this article has given you a starting point to understand how data breaches might happen, why you might be vulnerable to a cyberattack, and how to build up your defenses.