Cyber security is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity now.
“There are only two types of companies: Those that have been hacked, and those that will be,” said former FBI director Robert Mueller back in 2012. His words might sound overly pessimistic, but if you own a business or work for a large organization, there is every reason to take them seriously.
A report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) implies that cybercrime costs the world economy a whopping $445 billion each year. A common misconception coupled with the cyber attacks is that hackers only target organizations such as banks, governments, and big corporations. This is an absolute myth. This is a problem that faces all businesses—big and small. You may be surprised to know that 60% of small businesses shut down within just 6 months of a cyberattack. Another study shows that 43% of all cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses. So, the size or scale of your business doesn’t matter as far as cyber security is concerned. Cyber security is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
Many organizations have already started taking some substantial actions on that front. Microsoft spends $1 billion every year on cyber security R&D after seeing a rapid rise in the number of annual cyberattacks. You might not be able to spend such a massive amount but you can always stay a step ahead by employing some fundamental actions.
Here are 5 ways you can protect your business against ever increasing potential dangers.
1. Domain and Network Security
Imagine the consequences of losing control over your own website. Hard to imagine? Well, it is certainly a possibility. Your website represents your business and your customers use it to interact and do business with you. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to have your domain secured. SSL certificates provide an easy yet an effective solution. The SSL certificates encrypt any data transferred between the client and the server. Therefore, no third party can sneak in between and steal the data. SSL certificates can also help you protect against phishing.
There are different types of SSL certificates available in the market based on the customer’s needs. However, we strongly recommend using Extended Validation (EV) certificates if you’re a company or organization that relies on building online trust, EV SSL provides the most assurance about your identity to your visitors. They contain features/indicators such as the Green Address Bar and dynamic site seals. Upon seeing these indicators, an element of trust is established in the customer’s mind, which is the first step in getting them to do business on your website.
Another precaution one should take is not giving access to the domain to many people. You should give the details only to the people who you really trust. Otherwise, it may cause unanticipated threats.
2. Strong Password Policies
If you needed this point explained in just 3 words, they would be: “Don’t be stupid.” Weak passwords are often the reason for data breaches and thefts. Some people tend to keep simple passwords such as ‘12345’ or ‘abcd1234’ for the ease, which is nothing but ignorance at its best. Don’t let your laziness and weak memory come in the way of your business security
All of your passwords must be lengthy and different. Don’t keep the same password for everything as it makes it easier for attackers to gain control of your entire system. Every business should implement strong password policies. The passwords must be changed periodically and the passwords must consist of alphabetic, numerical and special characters. If possible, the organizations should implement two-factor authentication to be on the safe side.
3. Network Segmentation
Another essential technique to guard your business is segmenting the networks of your business. This confines the exposure to potential dangers. With the BOYD (bring your own device) trend getting popular these days, network segmentation is a simple, yet effective solution. If an invader gets control of a computer in one segment, he/she will still have to bypass the web security of the other segments as well. This makes the job of the perpetrator more difficult.
4. Employee Awareness
One of the most prevalent ways that hackers get into the system is through employees. In any company, there must be a sense of caution when it comes to human involvement with business security. The companies must proceed with a sense of scrutiny and establish a set of well-thought rules. Here, we are not suggesting anyone establish a prison-esque environment but there must be proper rules in place so that business security is not compromised.
With more and more millennials working nowadays, the use of social media in workplaces is bound to rise. For hackers & fraudsters, the social media sites are no less than a boon. Phishing attacks by means of fake social media invites are becoming common these days. There should be involvement by the HR department to formalize and enforce policies to counter these threats. One more thing that businesses should adopt is educating employees about cyber security by holding workshops.
5. Enable Firewall Security
In today’s times, the use of antivirus software has become a must for everyone. But one thing that is bluntly ignored is the significance of a good firewall. The fundamental function involved with a firewall is to control the network traffic. Everything that comes in or goes out must go through the Firewall if enabled. The firewall prevents incoming destructive data such as viruses and blocks the users from accessing harmful websites. Firewalls are of immense help when it comes to fighting phishing attempts.
There are mainly two types of firewalls. First one is the departmental firewall which is used for small organizations and the other one is enterprise firewall used in large organizations. Depending on the scale of your organization, you should choose either of them.
If you have an anti-virus software installed don’t think you are done. Anti-virus software used along with a firewall becomes far more effective.