Are you running a small business? Do you have measures in place to protect it from a cyber attack? It does not mean that you are running a small business; you are safe from a cyber attack. Most of the cyber-attacks are directed at small and medium-sized enterprises. It is because the attackers know SMEs are not prepared to face a cyber-attack. Thus, they are exposed to such a cyber attack.
So how can you protect your business from being exposed to a cyber-attack? The world will never be free of cyber-attacks; the good thing is that there are various techniques you can use to prevent them from happening.
Protect your business with practical steps to prevent a cyber attack
1. Limiting the access to data and information by the employees
When you limit the access to valuable data belonging to a company, you reduce human error to a great extent. Human error is the number one security threat to information. Ensure that the employees in your company only access specific data and systems that they need to perform their jobs.
When an employee transfers from your company, or moves to another branch of the same company, ensure that you take protective action immediately. These are actions like collecting company badges and deleting usernames and passwords from all the accounts belonging to such a user.
2. Regular patching of the operating system and software
Cybercriminals can exploit any vulnerability within a system or software to launch a cyber attack. Therefore, regular patching and updating all the software on all the devices can be the ultimate way of keeping the attackers at bay. Before purchasing or installing new software to a system, ensure that it is the latest release and check for updates after installing. In addition, upgrade the software and move from legacy systems. The software vendors, through their policies, do not support or provide security updates on legacy products. Regularly download the software updates as they include new security patches and features.
3. Employee password policy
Instituting a password policy is one of the most overlooked ways to ensure cyber safety within a business. An approach that encourages ease of remembrance while making it hard to guess is an excellent place to start. Such a policy should have a combination of alphanumeric characters and special characters. A business should discourage the variety of names and dates of birth as passwords as we can easily guess them. An enterprise can buy or subscribe to password protection programs.
Encrypting sensitive business information ensures that even if it falls in the hands of a malicious actor, it takes time for them to decrypt them. Therefore, a business should ensure full disk encryption in all tablets, computers, and smartphones. You should keep the copy of the keys used in encryption in a secure location separate from the business backups. The business should have emails that use similar encryption protocols for easy decryption on the other end. Take care to never send the key or password in the same email as the encrypted document.
5. Safe disposal of old computers and media
Ensure that you have wiped all the data and information available in the CDs, DVDs, hard drives, and other storage media. Only after that has happened can you donate the old computers and tablets. Bins are treasure troves for hackers. They employ people to go through the trash and collect electronic devices that later restore information. You should ensure that you destroy the flash drives, hard drives, and CDs.
6. Securing the wireless access points and networks
The following are the router best practices to ensure a secure wireless network.
- Changing the default login credentials in all new devices
- Set the wireless access point (WAP) so that it does not broadcast its service set identifier (SSID)
- You should set the router to Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA-2) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) for packet encryption.
- It would be best if you took care to avoid using wired-Equivalent Privacy (WEP)
You must always separate the wireless internet access for the customers and visitors from the business network.
7. Training the staff on the best practices in cyber security
In cyber security, you are only as secure as your least informed employee or worker. One of your most minor informed employees can use a weak password and then fall to a phishing attack. It is most likely to compromise their system. What follows then? As seen above, an attacker can use any vulnerability to exploit a system.
Therefore, it is critical to educate your employees on various ways the attackers use in tricking them into exposing private and sensitive information. They should be able to tell a phishing email, a suspicious phone call, or text message. Educating them enables them to guard the business against such attacks.
8. Installing robust anti-bot, anti-malware, and firewalls
Because of their intelligence, a business must invest in anti-bot protection software to deal with the latest bots. The mitigation solution must work in real-time. Further, the business should purchase robust anti-malware software and firewalls to help deal with the latest malware threats. The firewall prevents the malware from attacking the system before the anti-malware can detect them. Therefore, investing in a quality firewall can effectively keep the threats from malware at bay.
9. Regular data backups
The business should backup crucial data daily and in multiple places offsite. The offsite data should be safe from physical attacks and risks besides being safe from cybersecurity risks. Access to the backed-up data should be restricted. The public and employees should never have access to the backed-up data or the offsite location.
10. Set up email and web filters
Email and web filters deter the hackers and protect the employee’s inboxes from clogging with spam. The business can additionally install blacklist services to block the employees from browsing websites that expose them to various malware risks. The security team in a business should caution the employees from visiting websites associated with cybersecurity threats. Attackers use such sites as pornographic ones to post malicious links that a user may click unintentionally.
Irrespective of the size of the business, ensure that you take up measures to protect it from cyber-attacks. The steps may be as easy as having a good password policy. Therefore, financial constraints should not deter a business from protecting itself from cyber-attacks. A clear cyber security policy should be implemented and taught to the employees.
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