Over the last few years, we’ve seen many cyber attacks on big companies hitting the headlines. However, it’s not just large well-known companies that are being affected by a cyber attack, small businesses are being targeted too. In fact, 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses.
A typical attack consists of sophisticated hackers accessing business systems, using customer and employee data, to commit identity theft and access funds. The incentive behind the hackers’ actions is usually to gain financially and potentially affect financial markets.
Cyber attacks on any scale can be catastrophic to businesses of any size, leaving many with decreased revenue, a bad reputation, and even forcing some to close. But, there are precautionary measures you can take to protect your systems and data from a hack.
Taking time to establish your company’s vulnerabilities is the first step toward cybersecurity. Planning ahead is the best way to thwart hackers.
Carry out the following steps on a regular basis to prevent a cyber attack occurring in your business:
1. Improve Current Security System
Any system used in your business will come with safety recommendations. Something as simple as turning off unnecessary services can boost security. If you’re not sure what changes to make, contact the manufacturer or service provider for more advice. Using patches on your current security system can also prevent hackers from gaining access via the smallest holes.
2. Protect Outbound Data
While it’s vital to safeguard against external attacks, it’s just as essential to protect inbound information leaving your system and getting into the wrong hands. Egress filtering is a way for businesses to prevent employees, either deliberately or accidentally, from releasing sensitive data or malicious software from your network.
3. Training and Awareness
Making your employees aware of the potential cyber attack, the repercussions they could have on the business, as well as informing them on how to prevent attacks, could reduce the level of threat in your business. Allocate time to train staff adequately, so they know what to look out for and what to do to prevent an attack.
4. Change Passwords
Although it sounds simple, changing passwords on a regular basis is an effective way to prevent hackers from accessing your data. Many organisations have password policies that address user passwords; however, it is common for the local administrator’s PC password to be the same as the password used on servers. This means it wouldn’t take too long for a hacker to work out the password, infiltrate the whole system and access all of the business’ information.
5. Always Encrypt Data
All information stored in databases and on servers should be encrypted. Investing in complete encryption of the devices and networks in your business is one of the critical ways businesses can protect against a data breach or financial loss.
And when all else fails – Insurance
No matter how careful you are, there may still come a time when savvy hackers find a way into your system. Having a cybersecurity insurance policy in place can help to soften the blow should an attack occur.
When a cyber attack takes place, businesses usually have to close temporarily to establish what went wrong and make effective changes to prevent an attack happening again. A cyber insurance policy will take care of the costs associated with the attack and help you get your business back on its feet as quickly as possible.