What You Need to Know to Protect Against Hackers

Everyone has something to lose, and there are always going to be unscrupulous individuals looking for ways to get what someone else has. As a business owner, you likely have a lot. Thieves are interested not only in merchandise and money, but also getting their hands on sensitive information that can be used for identity theft and fraud.

This is nothing new. Before the age of online operations, thieves were content to pick locks, disable security cameras, and dig through dumpsters in search of loot and information. Today they simply go about their nefarious business in another way – by hacking your digital systems.

Data breaches are a major fear for businesses large and small, and lest you think you can fly under the radar because you’re not as big of a target as a multi-national corporation, think again. Not all hackers are trying to make a statement by breaking into the biggest vault. Plenty just want an easy score, and that means attacking small and medium-sized businesses that don’t have the same protections as their larger brethren.

In terms of data breach, it’s a matter of when, not if you get hacked. What can you do to protect yourself when hackers always seem to be a step ahead? How can you protect the confidential data your customers provide and continue to comply with applicable privacy laws? Here are a few things you need to know if you want to protect your business from hackers.

Meet Minimums, and Then Some
Pretty much everyone knows you need basics like a firewall, antivirus/anti-spyware/anti-malware software, and password protection in order to keep computers and networks safe. For online operations, you’ll also need a web application firewall (WAF). In addition, hardware, firmware, and software must be properly maintained and updated regularly in order ensure maximum protection.

That said, you can (and should) do more. Encryption, for example, is a great way to ensure data is unusable even if it is compromised during a hacking incident. You could also hire a service for maintenance and monitoring, giving you the best chance to avoid hacks, or at least catch them early and shut them down before any real damage is done. By going the extra mile, you may convince hackers to move along to easier targets.

Get Employees On Board
All your security efforts will be for naught if employees let hackers in through the front door, so to speak. In other words, you need to make sure your employees understand their obligations and that they’re on board to protect your company. Training employees how to behave in a safe and responsible manner is a must.

Focus on Password Protection
It’s not enough to have passwords. You need to make sure they’re strong enough to avoid decryption, that they are changed frequently, and that employees understand the consequences of letting their private password information fall into the wrong hands.

Create Backups
Not all hackers are out to steal your data. Some just want money, and they’ll get it by holding your data hostage and disrupting your business operations. Ransomware has become a lot more common over the past few years, and the best way to ensure you’re safe is by implementing frequent system backups for recovery, in addition to your regular protections.

Don’t Go It Alone
Unless you happen to be an IT expert, you probably shouldn’t try to manage online security on your own. Just as you hire professional accountants and attorneys to meet your financial and legal obligations so you can focus on daily business dealings, you should hire a pro when it comes to your IT security. A technology specialist can provide you with the infrastructure, advice, and support you need to remain up-to-date and -avoid data breaches.

To help keep your company data safe and secure, call CTI Technology at 847-888-1900. Our Rockstars will ensure your business technology is protected from unwanted predators.

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