Must-Do Steps for Protecting Your Company from Hackers

Has your business been hacked before? Did you lose sensitive data or have your systems held for ransom? If so, you understand firsthand how damaging a cyberattack can be. Even if you’ve been lucky so far, the threat is very real.

Hackers are growing more sophisticated all the time, and no organization is immune.

The good news is there are steps you can take to significantly reduce your risk. This post will explore practical ways to guard your company against hackers and cyber criminals. Let’s get started!

#1 Keep Software Updated

One of the easiest ways for hackers to break in is by exploiting vulnerabilities in outdated software. When vendors discover flaws, they issue patches to fix them. But if you don’t install those updates promptly, you leave open doors for intruders.

Make a point to regularly update operating systems, applications, plugins, and other software across all of your devices. While tedious, this basic “cyber hygiene” is a highly effective barrier. Don’t let your guard down!

#2 Use Strong Passwords

Weak passwords are simply too easy to crack. To thwart password guessing and brute-force attacks, create long passphrases mixing upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid common words and personal info.

Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible for an added layer of account security. And use a password manager to generate and store unique passwords without straining your memory.

#3 Limit Access

The more users who can access sensitive systems and data, the more attack vectors bad actors have to exploit. Limit privileges to only those who truly need them.

For remote access, avoid RDP and use a VPN instead. Instantly revoke ex-employees’ credentials. And consider restricting IT admin privileges to dedicated workstations. The principle of least privilege will minimize damage if an account is compromised.

#4 Patch Networking Gaps

Sometimes the biggest risks stem from seemingly small oversights. Make sure open ports are few and closely monitored. Don’t allow old network gear to operate past its end of life. Air gap systems that absolutely cannot be exposed.

Wi-Fi networks are convenient but inherently leaky. Isolate guest networks and implement WPA2/WPA3 encryption. Disable WPS and enforce strong wireless passwords. Network segmentation is another great way to limit lateral movement after a breach.

#5 Install Endpoint Detection

Advanced malware slips right past traditional signature-based antivirus software. Behavior-based endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools do a much better job identifying intrusions and stopping attacks in progress.

EDR sensors monitor system activity across endpoints and servers, alerting you to suspicious events in real time. Powerful AI analyzes behaviors to determine the nature and severity of threats. Some EDR platforms even automatically quarantine compromised hosts.

#6 Backup Consistently

No defense is impenetrable. Should the worst still happen, recovery becomes exponentially easier if you have reliable backups. Perform regular system and data backups per a documented schedule and policy. Store backup media offsite for resilience.

Test restoration periodically to verify backups are functioning as intended. Recent immutable snapshots allow restoring data in a known good state just prior to an attack. With strong backups, you deny hackers the leverage they often rely on.

#7 Train Your Team

Your systems and policies are only as strong as the humans behind them. Provide cybersecurity training to equip staff with know-how on risks and responsibilities. Teach password hygiene, safe web usage, social engineering red flags, and proper incident reporting.

Promote a culture of vigilance where employees are encouraged to speak up about suspicious activities. Keep security top of mind by requiring training renewals and holding mock phishing simulations. Ongoing learning pays dividends.

#8 Involve Professionals

Some threats demand expertise beyond your staff’s capabilities. Know when to call in reinforcements. Work closely with IT security consultants and vendors. Hire ethical white hat hackers to probe your defenses with penetration testing.

Lean on cybersecurity lawyers to guide your incident response planning. Bringing the right partners on board can profoundly impact your risk exposure. No company is truly safe when it comes to digital threats.