Figuring out how to successfully keep your business safe from hackers is one of the most important things you can do as an entrepreneur. Cybercrime isn’t just a concept facing huge enterprise brands anymore – countless companies around the world are exposed every day.
The unfortunate truth is cybercrime instances are on the rise, with 68% of business leaders saying they think their risk level is increasing.
Since the pandemic hit and organisations moved more of their operations online, cybercriminals have taken full advantage of new opportunities to target staff members and executives wherever they are.
Today, companies don’t just have malware and viruses to worry about. Something as simple as your employee logging into a system on the wrong, unprotected device could be enough to topple your business. Indeed, around 95% of cybersecurity breaches are a result of human error.
Today, we’re going to look at the steps you can take to start fighting back against the criminals.
How to keep your brand safe from hackers
Protecting your company from hackers is important for a range of reasons. First, protecting crucial business data and technology is essential to keeping your company up and running. A breached file could mean millions in lost revenue for your organization.
However, it’s not just your business bank account which feels the impact of poor security practices. As news stories about Petya and WannaCry ransomware attacks have demonstrated in recent year, security issues can also significantly damage your brand.
Data breaches exposed 36 billion records in the first half of 2020 alone. Today’s customers are increasingly unwilling to purchase from companies unable to offer the right layer of protection, so if you’re not defending your data, you’re not going to get sales.
So, where does the battle against hackers begin?
1. Better communication and policies
Communicating regularly with your team about the risks your company might face, and implementing strategies for better protection, will keep your entire business safe. As mentioned above, several cybercriminal attacks are often linked to mistakes made by employees.
The threat is only going to grow now your team members are working from destinations worldwide.
Providing training and guidance on how to operate safely with business data can be the key to protecting your company from a host of common attacks.
Work with your IT team and security professionals to create an official risk management plan. This will mean auditing the potential hacking entry points in your business, vulnerable systems, and strategies you can take to protect data at every touchpoint.
Once you have your risk management plan, share it with your team and ensure they understand their role in keeping the business safe.
Make sure staff know:
What kind of emails and files to avoid when browsing online.
What they should do if they detect a breach or problem.
What kind of websites and applications are approved or blacklisted.
How to connect to business networks safely.
2. Update your technology
The digital transformation of the world as we know it today has prompted a number of changes in the way we live and work. This acceleration of new technology is also giving criminals and hackers more opportunities to take advantage of your data.
The only way to fight back is with the same focused approach to investing in technology.
Using the appropriate security programs to support your staff members wherever they are will provide the various levels of protection required in today’s business environment.
You’ll also need to get used to updating these software solutions whenever new patches emerge and backing up your files as often as possible – just in case a disaster strikes.
The exact technology required by your company will vary, but common options include:
Firewalls: Web application firewalls are either hardware or software-based solutions intended to place a wall of protection between your data connection and website service.
Anti-phishing applications: 22% of data breaches currently involve phishing. Using email tools and other services to alert teams to potential phishing risks can help to keep them protected in almost any situation.
Website and software scanners: Scanning solutions, often equipped with AI and machine learning functionality, can quickly scan software, and detect potential attacks.
Remember, only use software and systems you trust. Some hackers may attempt to gain access to your technology by presenting themselves as a firewall or malware prevention company.
3. Secure your network
Knowing how to keep your business safe from hackers in the modern world starts with learning how to keep your network safe. As mentioned, the age of remote and hybrid work will mean more people from your team are now logging into your essential tools and networks through various connection points.
Start securing your network by making sure your employees know how to detect a secure connection, and where they should not be logging into your technology.
For instance, avoiding public Wi-Fi connections is always a good idea, as it’s impossible to know for certain who might be looking into your activities from a distance.
You can use tools like VPNs to secure your activity and data regardless of where staff members might be logging into your technology systems. It’s also worth making sure your staff always use secured networks with passwords when they’re working from home.
You can offer training on how to set up network passwords for remote workers who are uncertain of this process.
4. Prioritize passwords
This might seem like an obvious part of protecting your company from hackers, but it’s one of the issues most commonly overlooked. Unfortunately, hacking becomes a lot easier for criminals when your passwords are easy to guess and used repeatedly across multiple systems.
Currently, experts say around 83% of Americans are using weak passwords. With this in mind, consider setting higher standards for your employees to dictate how they use passwords on their content.
It’s also worth asking your teams to use different passwords for all of their accounts. This ensures even if one account is breached, others won’t be accessible using the same information.
For many businesses, it’s helpful to require team members to change their passwords on a regular basis, so they’re constantly adding a new layer of security to the system.
You can also experiment with options like multi-factor authentication, so passwords and usernames aren’t the only layers protecting your data. Multi-factor authentication involves using something like a code or smartphone fingerprint to further protect an account from access.
5. Encrypt and backup your data
Finally, while secure practices from your team members and cautious password practices will help to keep your business secure, there’s always a risk someone could eventually hack their way into your system.
Defending your business isn’t just about learning how to protect your computer from hackers. You’ll need to think broader – focusing on protecting your data.
A good way to ensure any data revealed to hackers remains as secure as possible, is to implement encryption methods. This means data both at rest and in transit in your organization remains encrypted until additional security measures are completed.
Because encrypted information is scrambled, criminals won’t be able to read your data, even if they can access it.
Another important step is to create multiple backups of your data. This means even if someone does get their hands on your information, they can’t hold you to ransom to get it back.
Having additional backups of your information can take some of the power away from hackers, and ensure your business continues to run, even after an attack.
Protect your company from hackers
Hackers and cyber criminals have been a major concern for companies almost since the dawn of the internet.
As the technology landscape continues to evolve, it provides us with a host of new ways to engage and collaborate unlike. Unfortunately, at the same time, it also means hackers have more ways to access and unlock our information.
Ensuring you keep your data secure and protected against hackers will help to protect you from significant expenses, and serious problems in your business operations. A strong security and protection strategy could be the key to your business surviving in the years ahead.
Don’t underestimate the power of the right security plan.