If you’ve been following the news lately, even irregularly, you’ve no doubt by now read an article, or at least heard someone talk about, a cyber-attack on some business in some part of the world. In fact, 2018 has already seen more than 15 major attacks. This news should be alarming to anyone in business whether you are big or small. Personal data is the new oil. It is extremely valuable, and people will stop at nothing to get their hands on it. But have no fear, for not all is lost. With each attack that happens, we are able to rebuild stronger. There is a plethora of devices and best practices out there to help you keep your business safe. Here is my list of 4 tips which I think can help you out a lot.
Educate Your Staff
This one might not seem like the most efficient way to protect yourself or your business from hackers, but many times data breaches are the result of human error. How many times has an employee left their computer or workstation unattended and unlocked? Do you ever find passwords written down on sticky pads, or left on scrap paper on a desk? How about scam emails or phone calls? Is your business ever contacted by people claiming to be the CRA, or your bank?
Your staff are your frontline workers, they are the ones interacting with the public, and they are the ones that keep your business running. Without them, you would have no business, so it is crucial to ensure that they are fully trained on proper security measures. These can include proper workstation safety, storage of passwords and when/ how to recognize a scam email.
Proper Hardware and Software
After your staff, the next most important thing to ensure is that your physical hardware is kept safe. As smart as your staff may be, accidents do happen. Not to mention the various other ways hackers can enter a networ – i.e., through weak points in the infrastructure, or within holes in the network.
To combat these problems, 2 steps are vital: firewalls, and managed services. A firewall is a physical device which hooks up into your incoming internet, and acts as a safety buffer checking all incoming traffic for known viruses/ malware, etc. These devices range in size and price, so there is one for everyone! Managed services include things such as managed antivirus and managed patch updates. These are essential to protecting your physical computer. If a virus does manage to get past the firewall, the antivirus should be able to detect it, and the patch updates should be able to fix the weak point.
In today’s work environment, more and more is it common to have employees working remotely, or with their own devices such as laptops, cellphones, and tablets (BYOD). Because of the influx of technology in the workplace, more communication tends to be done over devices than in person. This can be anything from emails and text messages, to VoIP calls, or video chats. As such, it is very important to ensure that all your lines of communication are encrypted. This means that only the sender and receiver can gain access to the message. When you encrypt your lines of communication, you’re doing the same thing as when you lock your door. Only the person with the key can get in. And you wouldn’t leave the door to your house unlocked, would you? Why do the same with your business communication?
As a final and surefire safety measure for your business, you should be backing up all your data regularly. Once a day if you can, but if not, at least once at the end of every week. By doing this, you are providing yourself a safety net. If, by some unfortunate event you are hacked, then you can always revert back to the last backup, and presto. Problem gone!
There are multiple different devices which can backup for you. Some do automated backups at times scheduled by you, others are manual backups that you’re responsible for. You can also get a device which backs-up both physically, and into the cloud, providing an even further layer of security for you.
By implementing all of these tips, you can be fairly confident that your risk to hackers is low. Although, technology changes at such a quick pace that every day hackers find new and new ways to breach systems. The best way to keep yourself protected is to stay ahead of the hackers. Talk to me or MicroAge today about how we can help you stay in the game, and ahead of enemy!