Sensitive information is stored on the cloud and accessed by organizations every day. It is convenient and hassle free but this digital storage also leaves your data very susceptible to a hacking attack.
Whether it is through phishing attacks or ransomware, cybercriminals today have a variety of methods through which to exploit uneducated and unsuspecting employees.
If you are looking for proof, the recent Petya and WannaCry ransomware attacks should be enough of a warning. The attacks crippled businesses across the world – and were surprisingly easy to pull off.
All hackers have to do is get someone at the organization to open an innocent looking file and it is game over. The malware spreads through the systems rapidly, and encrypts your system in the case of a ransomware attack. Where is this encryption password? well, with the hackers!
While the above mentioned attacks began in 2016 and 2017, ransomware attacks and viruses continue to happen and are unlikely to fade into oblivion anytime soon. Companies prefer paying the ransom than losing their data or seeing it published on the dark web.
But there’s plenty you can do to better secure your system and protect your business from malicious attempts. The longer you avoid taking your organization’s security, the greater the chances of a hacker easily sliding into your business affairs.
If you are reading this, don’t waste any more time. And if you are confused about what to do, keep reading this article.
Proper Communication Is Key
Communicating and educating employees and team members on common hacking strategies is crucial. Such conversations are known to work and employees learn to avoid making the same mistakes and watch out for new attempts. That being said, all it takes is one breach for your whole system to become open season.
Regular security meetings on issues like phishing and malicious email attachments can prepare a team proactively. During these meetings, make it a point to highlight the consequences of any breach to the business’s reputation as well as the overall damage to customer information.
How phishing works is that scammers use similar looking domains to masquerade as a legitimate website. If a user enters any login details on this fake website, it will be logged by a keylogger and then passed on to the hacker.
Encourage employees to use a password manager software. LastPass is a great option so is Google’s own password manager.
Use Necessary Security Programs
Keeping your software up to date and installing security programs that can monitor and protect your business is one of the easiest security techniques you can implement.
Constant updates can seem an annoyance but it is not something to skip. The latest firmware updates and patches often fix any security loopholes and gaps, leaving you stronger and reducing your chances of being hacked.
Developers are constantly revising their code and improving malware protection. If you do not follow simple security measures, you will be putting your business’s security at risk.
Backup Your Systems
Get used to backing up your important data. A business should aim to backup all files at least once a week. The higher the data changes you see on a daily basis, the higher the urgency to back up.
Avoid backing up your data to one location and calling it a day. Ideally, your business should have a backup located on-site and another that is off-site.
Not only does this protect you from unexpected disasters like a fire but it also keeps you safe if the hard drive fails – which is pretty common.
Change Your Passwords
Security experts highly recommend switching up your passwords every few months. It’s the best line to keep your business information safe from hackers. Moreover, even if login details are leaked in the event of a larger breach elsewhere, regularly swapping passwords can keep you very safe.
Finally, don’t forget the general rules when it comes to login details. Never share passwords through emails and stick to strong passwords with characters and symbols. Also, encourage the other employees to regularly switch their passwords.
Encrypt Your Data
Hackers focus primarily on two aspects; stealing your money and creating chaos. If they breach your system and discover unsecured data, that leaves your credit card information, bank routing digits, employee social security numbers and much more in danger.
Chances are, sensitive information like the ones above isn’t generally being sent over the internet. If that’s the case, encrypt the data. Pair the encryption with full-disk encryption. This is built in natively on most devices – Use BitLocker for Windows and FileVault on Mac.
Turning on encryption is a relatively easy task and within a few minutes, your entire drive will be encrypted. Don’t worry, your system performance will not see a drop.
There is just one catch – all encryption works only when the computer is being used. You can enforce this security measure by programming devices to automatically log out after a few minutes without use.
Worst case scenario? A hacker breaks into your system, discovers unsecured data and ransoms all of it. After you have paid them, they can sell it on the dark web for an additional profit.
Prioritize Proper Authentication
Using Two Factor Authentication (2FA) on your devices adds an effective safety net to your personal information.
With Two Factor Authentication switched on, your device will always notify you when a new login is detected. As you probably know, your phone or email address will receive a separate authentication code that needs to be entered before you can log in. Efficient and keeps hackers away very easily. The good news is that Two Factor Authentication systems are very simple to set up. Additionally, thanks to Google and Microsoft’s own 2FA apps, you can get started for free.