You’ve no doubt heard the popular adage that it’s not a matter of if, but when cyber criminals hack your system and hijack, corrupt, steal, or ransom your company’s confidential data, including consumer information that’s protected by federal, state, local, and industry-specific privacy laws. If you’re like most small to medium businesses, however, you’ve done little to proactively prevent the most common cybercrimes and the resulting fallout.
It’s just not enough to meet minimum standards any more. From a legal standpoint, businesses must comply with all applicable privacy laws, which include everything from basic network safeguards like firewalls and password protections, to appropriate data destruction (down to the acceptable size of paper shreds).
However, you could be doing a lot more, and frankly, you should be. Even if you meet the standards set forth by privacy laws, you could still get hacked, and that could spell disaster for your business, in terms of downtime, loss of clients, and negative reputation. What can you do to avoid this dicey scenario? Here are a few steps you can take to ward off hackers, protect client data, and prevent potential damage caused by cyber criminals.
Take a Multi-Faceted Approach
You’ve got a firewall and anti-virus/anti-spyware/anti-malware programs in place. You’ve instituted programs and policies for password protection. Is it enough? Not these days. If you really want to cover your bases where cybersecurity is concerned, you need multiple levels of protection against intrusion and failsafes in case hackers break through.
This could mean adding encryption to particularly sensitive files and setting up a VPN to account for remote access by off-site workers or clientele. You may want to hire a monitoring and maintenance service to keep an eye on network usage, perform needed updates, and advise you on infrastructure upgrades, for example. There’s no single, surefire solution when it comes to deterring cyber criminals, but with layered security measures, you might just ensure that hacking your business isn’t worth their while.
Audit and Test Regularly
How can you tell if your security provisions are up to snuff? The best way is to attempt a hack. Regular security risk assessment can help you to determine the reasons to add protections, but you should also hire a professional security team (in-house or third-party) to audit your cybersecurity and test your systems regularly so as to gauge potential problems and chart a course for appropriate security increases.
Cyber criminals aren’t always out to steal data for the purposes of identity theft, corporate espionage, or selling files to the highest bidder on the dark web. Sometimes they just want quick cash, or they want to wreak havoc for the fun of it.
What can you do if files are stolen, corrupted, or held captive by ransomware? How can you get your business back up and running without undue losses of data and/or cash?
Regular and robust backups are the answer. The best way to thwart cyber criminals that make their way into your systems with mayhem or ransom on their minds is to have recent recovery points to revert to. This will help you to avoid downtime, data loss, and the costs associated with ransomware.
It’s all too easy to focus on software solutions and forget the human element. While security programs can do a lot to protect your system from hackers, the gate is only as good as the gatekeeper. In other words, you also need to take steps to eliminate human error, and this requires training.
When employees are trained to behave appropriately and recognize threats, your risks for some of the most common cybercrimes (like phishing scams) could decrease significantly. This is one area where many companies skimp, but if you want the best possible security, informed employees should be your first priority.
Connect with CTI Technology to implement these easy and effective safeguards.