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If your company isn’t currently prioritizing cybersecurity, then now is the time to step up and take action. The fact is that as technology evolves, so do the tactics that hackers and cybercriminals use to breach your systems and steal the data of your customers, and if that happens, the repercussions could be disastrous.
The problem is that some business owners just don’t seem to understand the very real threat of a virus or cyberattack, so we are here to help. Below, we will talk about why protecting your systems is so important and how you can educate your team on avoiding and thwarting potential digital threats.
Why You Need To Protect Your Organization
The fact is that you need to protect your business against cyberthreats because data breaches are occurring more frequently every year. In fact, a data breach of one form or another happens every 39 seconds, and no organization is immune. This is a fact lost on many business owners, especially those who manage smaller companies. It is common for them to believe that they are too small of a fish to be noticed by hackers so they don’t take the proper precautions.
This is a dangerous way to think, and there is even a term for that thought process: optimism bias. Essentially, optimism bias is when an individual knows that a threat exists but doesn’t believe that the issue will happen to them or impact them directly. The problem with this logic is that hackers know that many people think this way, and that is why they go after your smaller organization. They know that they won’t have much in the way of opposition when they come to steal your data.
The fact is that if your company is the victim of a cybercrime or data breach, then you could face serious consequences. The first thing that hackers will likely go after is the personal information of your customers because just about any piece of data they steal can be used for malicious purposes. Even if your company doesn’t store social security or credit card numbers, hackers can steal birth dates, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses and then use them to steal a customer’s identity or sell the information on the black market. If that occurs, then your company will be on the hook, and the costs to repair your business and your reputation could be too much to take.
Understand Common Threats
As you can see, you must have preventive measures in place to prevent a data breach from occurring, so you don’t have to deal with a mess after the fact. The first step in this regard is to educate your team on common threats so they can be watchful and avoid falling for a scam.
The goal of most cybercriminals is to install malware into your corporate network so they can either destroy your system or steal the information within. Hackers have many ways of infiltrating your systems, and they can be quite crafty. One common scam is to present the user with a fake software update or an advertisement for a piece of software that promises to improve their computer. All it takes is one click from the victim, and the hacker can have full control. So, your employees must be taught not to open or install any programs unless approved by the IT team.
Another very common scam is the phishing email, which is a communication sent to the victim that appears to be a valid email sent from a figure of authority like a manager or a member of the tech team. It might ask the user to click a link or open an attachment. The problem is that phishing emails are sent by hackers, and if that link is clicked, then the criminal can have instant access to the device. Employees should be educated on the signs of a fake email, which include:
- An email address that appears real but is off by a couple of characters.
- The message doesn’t say the recipient’s name specifically and says something vague, such as “Dear sir or madam.”
- A communication that has a link or attachment that they were not expecting.
- Many misspellings in the message.
Essential Security Tactics
It is important to remember that recognizing potential scams is only half the battle. The rest of proper cybersecurity involves proactively preventing risks through smart practices. For instance, every program used at work needs to be password protected with a complex passcode that includes letters, numbers, and special characters. These passwords should be changed at least every few months, and they should be paired with a form of two-factor authentication, which could be a unique code sent to their smartphone that they have to enter each time.
On top of that, antivirus software should be installed on all computers, and scans should be run several times per week to find and eliminate threats. To prevent viruses from getting into the system in the first place, a secure and well-maintained firewall also needs to be activated. Once you have secured the system, it is also a good idea to backup all important files on a separate server, so if a hacker can break in and shut down your systems, you can quickly get back on your feet.
Finally, if you need more insight on how to protect your company, then it is a good idea to hire at least one IT professional or cyber security manager to lend a hand regularly. This expert will constantly keep an eye on your systems so they can catch any vulnerabilities and keep your data flowing smoothly. They will also be educated on all common threats so you can be ready for anything.
In the end, if you own a business in 2022, then you need to have a plan for protecting your data and your customers from cybercriminals. Try the tips above, and you can serve your customers with confidence.
By Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor