Safer Businesses: A Guide to Better Cybersecurity

When you put so much of your time and energy into your business, it’s a good idea to also focus on making it as safe as possible. Not just for your customers and your employees, though, even if they should be your first priority – but you need to think about your own business security as well.

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These days, all of our information is stored online and cybercriminals are increasingly finding new ways to target your business in an attempt to steal your information. You will always have to stay one step ahead of them, in other words, and make it as difficult as possible for them to gain access to anything.

The best way to do this is, of course, by trusting your employees and making sure that they have what it takes to protect your business. It requires a lot of information and training, in other words, as well as the access to technology that can help to keep your business safe.

If you’re ready to take your security to the next level, you’ve come to the right place. Here is a handful of ways to make it happen so that you can feel comfortable the next time you plot your business information in somewhere.

Why so much focus on cybersecurity?

You have probably heard all about cybersecurity and the dangers of being naive online but is it really that big of a deal? In general, small and medium-sized businesses are cyber criminal’s main target; the businesses deal with so much online information at all times and most of the communication they do is through chat systems and emails as well.

It kind of makes sense that they see these businesses as an easy target, compared to regular individuals who only send and receive a couple of emails per day. Plus, you have an entire team of employees who are constantly logging in and off via their computers.

If you don’t teach them about the dangers, preach password security on a regular basis, and allow them to learn how to spot a strange email, your business will be an easy target.

A small business needs to know how to protect itself, in other words, and every part of your operating system has to be fully up to date and protected by a firewall. Criminals are smarter than they appeared to be back in the days, and the worst of them all are highly educated programmers, hackers, and social engineers.

If you don’t go out of your way to keep them at bay, they’ll be able to work their way through your system or even target a naive employee who falls for their phishing scams. They’ll gather all your information, credit cards, and social security numbers, and open new accounts in your business’ name.

Encrypt your wireless network, password protect everything, block access to restricted sites, and encrypt entire devices as well as your files. It’s also a good idea to install data-loss prevention as well as an alarm system for the thieves who appear in the physical world – they exist too, you know

First: Give your employees the tools to succeed

When you feel like the time has come to take your browsing safety more serious, you need to have the right training incorporated. Decent anti-virus software and firewalls, for example, are great stuff, but it doesn’t quite cut through the intricate ways cybercriminals try to get ahold of your company details.

Start by reading up on the best tools for your company to start you off on the right foot, first of all, and have a look at this ID check as well to make sure that your company is covered from each and every corner. That way, you can feel completely comfortable as anyone’s identity is easy to verify in just a few simple steps.

Remember to hire a professional to teach them how to spot attempts at phishing, what a dodgy email might look like, as well as the early signs of when a computer might have been hacked. While you may think that you know a lot about the topic already, you should always trust a professional to teach your team everything they need to know.

The better their training is, the higher your chances are for keeping the criminals at bay. Keep it up and repeat at least once a year to make sure they stay up to date on the latest ways we can have our details stolen – and to ensure that it all sinks in, of course.

Consider pointing out a superuser

If you ever introduce new software to your business, it’s a good idea to let the early learners lead the rest. The same applies to cybersecurity; give a few of your best ones the responsibility of observing the others, reminding their co-workers to stay safe when browsing, and tell the employees to alert the super users if they see anything suspicious.

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You’re not going to be around at all times to keep an eye on them, and peer-to-peer learning is usually more beneficial than the big brother-approach of management on constant inspection.

Read more about the advantages of letting them lead each other here and remember that it makes even more sense if your employees are of different generations as some of them may know a lot more than the others. That way, you won’t have anyone falling behind and it’s quite a lot easier for them to ask questions and have someone look at a strange email if they can just grab ahold of one of their coworkers.

You know, rather than having to walk into their boss’ office the whole time.

Launch a mock attack after some time

After you’ve gone through some training, it’s a good idea to reviews how much they have actually learned. While nobody likes the idea of being reviewed, in all honesty, this one is purely meant to reinforce their learning – not to point fingers at anyone who has fallen behind.

Challenge your team with a mock-attack from time to time and produce a monthly review. In the beginning, you might notice a few slip-ups; this is perfectly normal, and you don’t need to stress out on them quite yet. That is why you launched a mock-attack, after all, and it is far better that they learn how to avoid these mistakes now rather than during an actual attack.

Keep preaching cybersecurity and give a hint to one of the superusers if you see that someone are less than up to date – with time, the whole team will be your strongest defence against any hackers. And they won’t even make it past the first click on a link – not with the vigorous training you’ve given them.

What should I do if I have been hacked?

You might have had an emergency already or a leak of sensitive data, in general. While this is a stressful situation for most businesses, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to bounce back – you’ll just have to be much more cautious, in the future for the sake of your customers as well as your business, as a whole.

When you suspect that there may have been a security breach, it’s time to give the experts a call. You can, of course, investigate this yourself if you’re an IT expert – but if you’re not, it’s always better to leave it to the professionals.

They will be able to say how many of your machines have been attacked, as well as how it happened in the first place, such as if it was mass-produced or if an employee picked it up while browsing. This process can be pricey, though, and will keep you from conducting business as usual so give yourself a bit of time to get back up on your feet.

Wait until this investigation is over with before you pull the plug on your systems. It may be tempting to do it right away but investigations are important as the attack may have been from one of your competitors.

When the unbelievable has happened, the best action to take is to safeguard your systems for the future. Repair the damage, close the gaps, and move on as soon as possible – it won’t happen again with the right amount of precaution.

With so much sensitive information online and so many knowledge hackers out there, it’s actually no wonder that businesses are going to extreme lengths to protect their data. Make sure that you’re not putting yourself at risk by skipping corners and thinking that it’s not going to happen to you; when it does, you certainly won’t take lightly on your company’s cybersecurity ever again.

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