Every year, the world becomes more and more Internet-dependent. Businesses and consumers adapt to the changing market through the advancements in technology connected to the Internet.
As digital footprint and traffic increase, so do digital outbreaks and data breaches.
Cybercrime is now a booming business for hackers. They should alarm business owners and call them to act to protect their company data. By 2025, an estimated $10.5 trillion will be incurred for companies worldwide because of security breaches. It was only $3 trillion ten years ago.
Regardless of whether your business is still starting or has already been established, there is still more to learn about protecting it. Here are seven tips for protecting your business from cyberattacks starting today.
1. Have backups of your data.
You can never go wrong with having different databases for your company data. Data breach investigations may take days to be resolved, so it would be wise to have a backup server running simultaneously. This strategy will help reduce downtime once a data breach occurs.
Cloud services with products for businesses have strong security measures that you can avail of via subscription. Synchronization in real-time is the best option for backup storage. Carefully read the terms and conditions once you choose this option.
Weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly backups are also viable options for keeping copies of your data. As your business continues to acquire data, remember that there is no such thing as having too much backup.
2. Use passphrases instead of passwords.
Passphrases are longer versions of passwords. Passwords are typically easy to decipher because hackers can run algorithms to figure them out within minutes or hours.
With passphrases, you will still require users (your employees or customers) to create a password, but this time with criteria to meet for better security.
Passwords are generally eight to ten characters long, but passphrases are typically fourteen to sixteen characters long. A passphrase usually comes with the requirement of using capital letters, special characters, and numbers. It would be better to have separate passphrases for different accounts associated with one user.
3. Use better authentication methods.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication are common ways of increasing layers of security.
Passwords are still commonly used today, but they can be a problem, especially if a single password is used to access several company data files. The common practice of associating passwords with personal information makes it easy for hackers to commit fraud.
A better alternative is using one-time passwords and biometrics (e.g., fingerprints, retina scan, voice access, facial recognition). They are as convenient as passwords, yet more secure.
4. Restrict or allow access to your employees or customers.
A way to do this is to create various levels of access. For example, an all-access level can only be obtained through your account, while the lowest access level can also be granted to interns or beginning employees.
For small businesses, it might be enough to separate the ones with administrative privileges.
Reducing the possibility of breaches can lead to a faster resolution if a breach does happen. Organizations with access restrictions report lower hacking incidents, according to the 2021 Financial Data Risk Report by Varonis.
5. Conduct awareness training and create security policies for your staff.
Initially, it would be sufficient if you were the only one monitoring your business’s security in your small team. However, it would be best to have a second person focusing on security, preferably with an IT or computer science background.
Awareness training is a good way to let your employees know how to prevent data breaches. Simply learning what emails and websites to open or not open will prevent spammers and phishers from accessing their data.
You can also have security policies embedded into the software or digital platform you are using. Automating the security measures you want will reduce time monitoring your security in the long run.
6. Update your software regularly.
In the third quarter of 2020, 70% of the most exploited applications worldwide involved Microsoft Office. Browsers came in second at about 15%.
Microsoft Office products are the most common applications used by companies worldwide. It is no wonder hackers often target Microsoft systems.
With the transition to remote offices and increased use of the Internet, keeping all of your software up-to-date is the best countermeasure against fraud or data breaches.
Updates usually address vulnerable points of the previous versions of the application. New features and security measures discourage hackers or at least slow them down.
7. Build a response plan for security breaches.
What would you do if you were hacked? How would you retrieve your files? How long will it take before you can be operational again?
These are just some of the questions you need to tackle when thinking about your security measures. Placing strict security protocols for prevention is only the first step in your security protocols. You must also respond quickly to address unwanted incidents.
Your response to an incident can spell the difference between loss in thousands and loss in millions. Incidents are time-sensitive, which means that the faster you respond, the faster you’ll be able to get back to normal.
Cybercrimes can bring your business down to bankruptcy. If you are not familiar with the security measures you need for your business, your data remains vulnerable to cyberattacks.
To increase the security for your business, you can increase authentication methods, use passphrases, and restrict employee access. Training in cybercrime awareness and automating security policies help you and your employees guard your data.
Prepare a response plan in case a data breach does happen. Using cloud services or offline storage to back up your company data will keep you operational even after an incident. The faster you can cover your losses, the fewer damages you incur.
Keeping your company data safe must happen regularly through software updates and constant monitoring. It is tedious and difficult to outrun hackers who have made a career out of data theft, but with robust security measures in place, you will be able to protect your business from data breaches.