The alarming increase in cybercrime and cyber-attacks has become a global concern. Massive conglomerates are not the only targets of cybercriminals — even medium and small businesses are not spared. Small companies are likely to suffer more threats as hackers realize that these enterprises do not have robust cyber protection.
Unfortunately, many small businesses started operations without any cybersecurity protection plan. The proliferation of remote work also increased the risk of cyber-attacks. However, you can implement digital security measures to protect sensitive data. The following cybersecurity best practices can also help secure businesses from cyber-attacks.
Create Strong Passwords
Strong passwords are essential in keeping your digital information secure. Create passwords with at least eight characters: one upper case letter, one lower case letter, a number, and four symbols. However, @, &, % and # should not be in the passwords as these are commonly used. The maximum length of your characters should be 64 characters.
Make sure you use characters that you can easily remember in your password. Never make any clue to your password public. Hackers can use such a hint to gain access to your stored data. If you forget a password, reset it. It is an ideal practice to change your passwords once every year. Besides, never reuse the same password.
Use a password account vault or password management tool to manage your numerous passwords. You can create unique and strong passwords with a password manager. The solution can also remind you to update your passwords. There are several tools, such as 1Password, LastPass, etc., in the market that most people use.
Use 2-factor Authentication
Hackers can correctly guess your password using any available hint. A password consisting of symbols, numbers, lower and upper case letters may not be powerful enough to protect your accounts. 2-factor authentication can boost the security of your accounts. It adds another layer of protection to your password.
The 2-factor authentication is an online identification method requiring two different verification factors to access resources or programs. It verifies that the owner is accessing an account, not an unauthorized user. In addition to your username and password, you must enter a Personal Identification Code, fingerprint, or another key.
Update Software and Hardware
Software companies release updates to upgrade security, add new features, and fix bugs in the old versions. Research showed that hackers target the vulnerabilities of outdated software. However, patching your software resolves the weakness of your applications and operating system and improves your digital security.
Install the latest software version to protect your IT environment from existing and new vulnerabilities. Turn on automatic updates for your web browser and operating system. It will notify you when new updates are available. Web browsers like Firefox and Chrome often receive automatic security updates.
Outdated computer hardware is not likely to support the software updates you installed. If a cyber-attack occurs, such hardware will slow down response to the incident. Besides, it would be best if you kept your hardware up-to-date.
Backup Sensitive Data
A data breach can lead to the loss of valuable information. Frequent backup of your sensitive data will enable you to restore it if a cyber-attack happens. Just erase your systems and reinstall a recent backup of your information. It is necessary to have copies of your data on a local storage device and the cloud. As a result, your business operations will continue while the security experts respond to the cyber-attack.
Avoid Public Networks
When you connect your device to public Wi-Fi, you share the network with other users. Any information you retrieve or send on the Wi-Fi is vulnerable. Remote employees should stay away from public Wi-Fi. A remote team member’s hacked network is an attack path to an organization’s mainframe. Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to connect to a public network.
Install Anti-malware and Anti-virus Software
You can minimize the risk of phishing and other malicious attacks by using anti-malware and antivirus on your computers. The extra layer of cyber protection prevents malicious viruses and other malware from accessing your device and corrupting your data. Make sure you install only software from a trusted source.
Beware of Phishing Scams
Cybercriminals may try to get your data through emails, text messages, and phone calls. They may even contact you on social networking sites. Be wary of any request for your financial or personal information. The attacker impersonates another person or company and tricks you into revealing your personal information.
Do not open suspicious emails. They may contain a malicious link or attachment that can infect your system when you click or open it. Such phishing attempts can lead to ransomware. Check every email you receive, take note of the sender, and find out if the content has grammatical errors. Hackers may even send malicious through your friends whose systems had been infected.
Before you click any link, double-check it. Most browsers will show you the target URL if you hover over the link. Also, avoid downloading software from unverified sources or visiting unknown websites. Malware from such sites can automatically install on your device and compromise it.
HTTPS on Websites
Secure the information transfer between your web server and visitors’ browsers. The data will become encrypted if you install an SSL certificate and enable HTTPS on your website. The information transferred on sites without HTTPS is not secured. Before giving out any personal information on a website, double-check if the site uses HTTPS.
Train Your Employees
Your staff should have basic knowledge of cybersecurity and personal data protection. They should know how to spot cyber threats and understand that they may also be targets of malicious attacks. A mistake from a team member can shut down the entire security system of an organization. Training your staff about cybersecurity best practices goes a long way to prevent cyber-attacks.
External storage devices are also vulnerable to malware attacks. Scan them for viruses before you use them. Malware can spread from an infected external device to your system when connected to your computer. Also, use a safe file-sharing solution to protect your data while in transit. It will help to prevent unauthorized access to the files.
Data breaches can cost organizations millions besides the harm done to the brand’s reputation. Invest in Cyber security Monitoring to avoid paying more if a cyber-attack occurs. Exercising cyber protection best practices can help prevent malicious attacks. For enterprise-grade complete security solutions, contact the team at Vijilan today. Send us a request for a free demo to see how Vijilan can safeguard your business from evolving cyber threats.