© Robinraj Premchand via Pixabay

Alarmingly, internet crimes have significantly increased in number in recent years. At some point, businesses that have been facing cyber attacks surely face financial damages. Moreover, customer’s loyalty and trust may be affected as well. 

Your number one priority as a business owner is to protect the system and make sure it is safe for both employees and customers. Whether your business is big or small, cybersecurity issues will continue to remain a threat.

There are ingenious ways to keep your company secure from various cybersecurity problems if you take the security of your online business to the next level and protect confidential information from cyber hackers.

© Pixabay

Cyber Hackers- What Type Of People Are They?

You may be wondering why even a small business can be affected. The main reason for this is the lack of cybersecurity, compared to big companies which make it easier for cyber hackers to hack. 

But, that doesn’t mean that they won’t attempt it either. Anyone can be qualified as a cyber hacker as long as they are recognized for it. So who can qualify for a cyber hacker and who are you supposed to be vigilant of?

• Hackers

The first one on the list is hackers. Stealing or leaking information is one of the most likely reasons for hackers to hack. This could be data or information particular to your company about your clients, your company staff, or even personal information.  Hackers are searching for flaws, such as workers who are vulnerable to social-engineering scams and faulty network systems and browsers. They specialize in this type of business- entering the company’s network in its weak point. This weak point is the vulnerable part of the computer network, which makes it uncomplicated and undoubtedly, easier for hackers to deal with. 

• Programmers

The second one you should be wary about is programmers. Though, that doesn’t mean that if you are a programmer, you are a hacker. Programmers that are skilled in coding viruses can affect your business’ computer network. Once it becomes infected, you need to say goodbye to your files and data.

What is the solution for this kind of cybercrime scenario? You need to back up your files. Find a trusted hard drive that will meet up to your expectations.

• Social Engineers

The third one on the list is social engineers. Criminals have been switching to an alternative nowadays – to gain the trust of individuals and let them reveal confidential information. 

Social engineers are manipulative people that choose to exploit individuals rather than discover and find out ways to hack software because it brings more convenience to them. They choose to go through this kind of way because certainly, it is harder to hack in the usual way.

Phishing is a well-recognized infiltration method in which a hacker produces a copy of a web page to steal an individual’s information and financial data. In this method, social engineers encourage individuals to fill up confidential information.

Individuals may encounter it in a way that leads them to a fishy website that lets them login- and in return, the social engineer behind will get your confidential information. People keep falling for it because it may look similar to the app or file they have, or anything else. 

There are also other methods that social engineers used, such as pretexting, baiting, quid pro quo, and scareware. One thing that you should consider doing is social engineering tests for your security needs. These are penetration tests that see and evaluate the level of your cybersecurity. It exposes the potential vulnerabilities and it will help you prevent a data breach fallout. Choose the suitable tests that you may need for your company as there are a lot of them available.

Things You Should Do

Multi-layer cybersecurity is becoming so essential. Multiple layers of security are required by businesses operating in today’s digital world. That way, if a spam email message gets through an internal network, the anti-virus software of a mail server will flag it. 

If an improper email attachment is clicked or an infected attachment is opened by an employee, the suspicious behavior or unexpected issue should be detected immediately. Below are things that you should do to keep your business safe from cybercrime issues.

1. Keep The Systems Up To Date

You need to upgrade the system periodically to keep your systems safe and stable. Your system becomes ineffective if you’re not doing that, and blind points can develop in which you’re susceptible to attack.

Software updates are necessary since essential fixes for security vulnerabilities are always included. They can also enhance the software’s reliability, and it uninstalls obsolete apps. The purpose of most of these changes is to allow the user experience to run smoother.

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Most people have anti-virus applications on their computers. But sometimes, this is not enough. When your software is out of date, it can be abused by malicious people. This can even affect your small business because computers in most companies are connected to one another. If one of them gets infected, sadly, all of the computers will be done for as well. 

At some point, if your employee or colleague got careless and accessed a fishy link or downloaded a virus, it may cause you big trouble. It’s only a matter of time until you run into something harmful if you’re active on the internet.

2. Consider Having A Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Wi-Fi networks for offices should be secure, encrypted, and hidden. It is appropriate to have your own private network, particularly when handling classified information. Encrypt all confidential material and do not submit unencrypted keys or other sensitive data through email. 

In increasing the online protection of your company, VPNs (virtual private networks) are very successful. When using the internet, this software lets you stay fully private. 

By keeping your data safe and protected, not only does a VPN boost security, it also enables users to access that remotely. It allows you to mask your identity online and also bypass navigation data.

3. Get A Good Firewall

Have a firewall and applications that resist attacks from malware, spyware, and phishing. The firewall, whenever a hacker attempts to breach your network, is the very first line of defense. It is a piece of software or hardware that sits between the internet and your computer. This serves as the gatekeeper. Setting up a firewall will secure the internal networks of your organization, but in order to do their job, they need to be periodically patched.

If any information is stolen from your system, a firewall will easily detect it. If you find something odd occurring on the system, a firewall automatically disconnects down its operations. In addition, a firewall is able to protect your machine from viruses and other cyber issues.

4. Remember To Back-up Your Data

Back your data up in the cloud and in a hard drive. As discussed earlier, it is important to get a good hard drive. Note that the data hacked will be often encrypted or deleted by the hacker. To be prepared for this kind of scenario, back it up.

So, it is a good idea to make it a habit to back up your data regularly, especially if you are a business owner. If robbery takes place in the office, hard drives and USB sticks will help you continue your operations. Also, remember to not leave it attached to the computer, as they may be infected with the virus from a cyber attack.

5. Provide Training For Your Employees

The reason for this is that one way or another, your employee may be one of the causes for a virus to invade your system by clicking on suspicious links and downloading unsafe attachments. Although the results of training would not be immediate, it will help them be aware of these things. 

© Pexels

Most malware and bugs spread as these users receive an email that they think is from someone they recognize. Also, they may be absent-minded, and they did not consider what might be on the other end which as a result they fall into the trap. It is important for your employees and staff alike to recognize phishing links and sites. 

Moreover, never let them open unknown, suspicious attachments because it may lead to dire consequences. If they are not aware of these, failures may result in the whole network shutting down.

6. The Physical Location Of Your Business Should Be Secured

This is an obvious tip, but it will help you to be aware. All important paperwork can be found at the office, and if someone broke in,  you know what will happen. Make sure to have locks on these closets and cabinets are locked properly especially if it holds crucial information. Items like flash drives, hard drives should be kept properly in a safe, secured location as well.

7. Secure Your Own Account, And Take Note Of What To Do To The Employees’ Accounts

For You

Keep your private and confidential data locked down. Social engineering cybercriminals can also get your private information in only a few pieces of data, so the fewer you publicly post, the safer.

It is advisable to choose a combination of letters and numbers, and symbols- if the system allows it. Basic, easy passwords can be easily guessed by a hacker and may also be taken in brute force method. Remember to update your password periodically and add two-factor authentication for a more secured account.

For The Employees

The first thing you can do is invest in good web filtering software, as it will help secure your organization without tracking all employees do on the internet. The second thing is to never establish shared user accounts because it is difficult to trace a violation back to its origins when anything occurs because any employee using the account might have caused it. 

Ensure that all important systems are only accessible to employees that have their own accounts. The last thing you can do is to set an automatic logout on the computers of employees after a certain period of time. 

Sometimes when they are called away or given a break, some employees forget to log out which leads to their computer left unattended. This leaves your network with open access and vulnerability to anyone who passes by.

Remind your employees to alert your IT professionals if you see anything unusual that might suggest a security problem. In the system, there could be a bug the organization needs to patch or repair. The sooner you report a concern, the greater.

8. Consider Getting A Security System

The defense of strong security software should be provided for all of the devices you use at work and at home. Providing data protection in the workplace is critical for your company. This includes precautions such as good antivirus and malware detection, data-backed external hard drives, and daily network scans.

9. Research For Hacking Incidents That Happened And How To Prevent Them

It is not only systems that get an update, but so are the hackers as well. They are continually upgrading, either. Whether you are a small or a big business owner, the last thing that you may want to encounter is your thriving business goes down into the slums because of a cybercrime issue.

10. Remember To Think, Before You Click

It all starts with just one click. No one will think that anything terrible will go wrong. Remember to be vigilant to any links that are suspicious and downloading unsafe attachments. Anyone operating the computers should take this in mind always.

Companies often assume they are not going to be hacked. Some of them have a passive aspect as well, where they only do something until a situation occurs. The truth is, many times, hacks happen. They’ve been going on for many years, however, with time, they’ve only intensified. It happens to businesses and customers, in all sizes- whether big or small.

Although there has been a lot of publicity about the hacking of businesses, many other businesses still think that this will not happen to them. You are just placing you, your users, and your employees at risk by not being vigilant about cybersecurity.

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