Cybercrime damage costs are projected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021. And it’s not just the big guys that are getting hit – 43 percent of cyber attacks specifically target small businesses. Cyber attacks are clearly here to stay, which is why it’s become vital to the survival of your business to prepare for them.
Here are five solid tips that should help you protect yourself against these malicious digital threats.
Choose better passwords
If you’re reading this blog right now, there’s a decent chance that someone else already knows your password. That’s because the most popular password, making up nearly 17 percent of the 10 million passwords that Keeper Security analyzed, was “123456.” And that’s statistically frightening, from a cybersecurity standpoint.
Choosing strong, smart passwords is critical to keeping data safe. The best passwords aren’t hyper complex strings of random letters and numbers – they’re memorable phrases with capitalization, numbers, and special characters sprinkled into them.
It may be annoying, but it’s also important to diversify the passwords you have. Having one master password that unlocks all your various accounts could prove to be catastrophic.
2. Conduct end user training
The first and most important line of cybersecurity defense in any company are its end users. These users are often the only thing between devastating viruses and sensitive data. For example, take the popular variant of malware known as “ransomware”.
Ransomware infects systems through a download on the user’s end. That means anything from a random hyperlink on a web page to a seemingly innocent attachment to an email. Once the user downloads this virus, it quickly locks all files on the computer system. It also travels as far as it can, which means it often makes its way through the entire network that the original infected computer was connected to. Once it’s locked as many files as possible, it demands payment in the form of untraceable currency, like Bitcoin, to unlock the files. But trusting a criminal can be a mistake — Trend Micro reported that one in five companies that paid the ransom did not get their data back.
While ransomware is a complete hassle to deal with, it’s also relatively easy to avoid. Regular end-user training will show employees how to spot and avoid suspicious links and attachments. Keeping employees up to speed on recent cyber attacks and threats will also make sure that they always know what to look out for. The training should occur around once per quarter and cover the major changes in the current cybersecurity landscape.
3. Compartmentalize important information
In cybersecurity, knowing too much can be a bad thing. After all, if the one person with access to all the passwords and critical files gets hacked, your entire organization suffers. Think of it like a nuclear launch. If one person held all the codes and keys, it would be relatively easy to target that person and wreak havoc.
Instead, compartmentalizing information makes it much harder for hackers to get all the information they need. By giving multiple people different “codes”, you’re reducing the chance of compromise. If one person does get hacked and some of the data ends up in the hacker’s hands, you’ll still have plenty of time to deal with the breach safely.
4. Keep everything up-to-date
Many times, cybersecurity breaches occur due to wide-open doors. These doors come in the form of out-of-date software. Through unsecured software, hackers can exploit unpatched systems to gather information such as passwords and sensitive data.
Avoiding this is straightforward; keep all programs and systems fully updated at all times. It can be tricky and tedious to do so, as there are usually an enormous amount of programs and devices within an organization’s operating environment.
5. Plan ahead
Of course, the best way to avoid any cybersecurity problems is to plan ahead. With the proper preparations, your business could drastically reduce the chances of ever being affected by a cyber attack in the first place.
How’s that, you ask?
One of the best ways is to partner with a managed service provider that knows all about cybersecurity. By partnering with an MSP, your company gains access to cybersecurity experts that can optimize your company’s IT defenses. That might include adding advanced antivirus programs to your defensive arsenal, or installing next-gen firewalls to protect you from looming threats.
At Continuity Centers, we want to be your cybersecurity partner. We’ve helped many businesses just like yours with establishing powerful and lasting defenses against all kinds of cyber threats.
Interested in learning more about our cybersecurity offerings? Contact us today.