The Complete Guide on How to Protect Your Business From a Cyber Attack
Learn everything you need to know about how to keep your business safe and protected from a potential cyber attack with this must-read guide!
Did you know that one of the biggest threats to your business isn’t a big-box competitor, a loss of clients and revenue, or even a weak digital marketing and content strategy?
Instead, the threat that so many companies only start to understand once it’s too late is the threat of a cyber attack or hacker. In fact, nearly 60% of small businesses that suffer from cyber attacks will be out of business within six months after the attack.
We know that you don’t want your company to meet this kind of a fate.
Are you ready to learn how to prevent cyber attacks, and protect not only your data, but your company’s reputation, in the process?
If so, then you need to read on. In this post, you’ll learn how to create a solid cybersecurity strategy for your business.
1. Identify Your Weak Points
The first thing that you need to do if you want to be able to master adequate cyber attack prevention?
You and your team — and likely an IT and cyber security professional — need to know your weak points.
This means taking stock of not only how much data you have, but the types of data you store and where you actually store it. For example, do you have a hosting platform, a managed server or a shared server, and where is that server located?
What about company phones, laptops, and Google documents? Is it possible for team members to take your data out of the office — where it will often be more vulnerable?
How much of your data is password-protected, and what is your current password policy? How are you training your employees on your security policies, and what sort of tests do you have in place to check that security rules are being followed?
Are you aware that sometimes, the biggest threat to your cybersecurity and data is actually your own employees?
It’s likely that by now, you’ve understood just how vulnerable you truly are to a cyber attack, and how easy it is for hackers to poke holes in your current strategy.
Now, it’s time to take action.
2. Encrypt Your Data
One of the most basic steps that you need to take when learning how to prevent cyber attacks from devastating your company or violating the privacy of your clients?
You need to encrypt your data.
Don’t worry — the process is actually much more straightforward than you might initially think. Essentially, encrypting your data means that, even if a hacker does somehow manage to get into your system and view your data, it will look like a string of random letters, numbers, and characters.
There’s no way that they’ll be able to read it or to decipher it.
A final word of caution on encryption. Make sure that you also program your computers to automatically log a user out after about ten to fifteen minutes of inactivity.
This is because often, encryption only starts working when someone isn’t logged in. So, even if a member of your team steps away for only a few moments?
Your data will be vulnerable.
When in doubt, log out.
3. Run Frequent Data Backups
We know that many people associate the importance of backing up data with the “black screen of death.”
If you suddenly lose power, if your computer system fails or shuts down suddenly, or simply stops working, you want to know that you won’t have lost all of your hard work.
But it’s also essential to back up your data as often as you can to prepare for a potential cyber attack.
Unfortunately, many hackers will actually hold your data and websites “hostage” until you pay them the fee they want to get it back.
But if you have all of your data backed up?
They have nothing to negotiate with. You can also completely wipe your website and data storage, only to install a backup copy a few moments later.
But backing up your data once a week isn’t nearly enough.
Instead, look for IT security solutions that allow you to back up your data about once every hour, or even once every few minutes.
4. Never Use Public Wi-Fi Networks
Earlier in this post, we brought up the fact that your own employees can sometimes be the biggest threat to your company’s cybersecurity strategy.
While in some cases, your employees are intentionally stealing your data?
In most cases, the fact that they’re exposing your data to hackers is entirely accidental. One of the biggest culprits that even you might be guilty of doing? Accessing your work files remotely, from a public, unsecured Wi-Fi network.
Sure, we all appreciate the convenience of free Wi-Fi.
But it’s also incredibly easy for a hacker to get onto that same network and, with a few simple strokes of the key, steal your passwords, data, and documents.
Make sure that you instruct all of your employees to avoid using a public Wi-Fi network when they’re working out of the office. Additionally, frequently switch up your office’s network password to keep hackers guessing.
5. Install Anti-Malware and Anti-Virus Protection
Preventing a cyber attack is next to impossible without one of the most basic cybersecurity tools: antimalware and antivirus software.
This will help you to avoid a wide range of attacks, and even to identify potential threats earlier than ever.
The right software will work to guard you against spyware, Trojans, standard viruses, ransomware, and much more. It will also help you to avoid spoofing and phishing emails (more on that later on in this post.)
Because installing and updating this kind of software can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, we strongly recommend that you get in touch with an IT and security professional to help you.
Cyber security is simply too important to risk it by going the DIY route.
6. Run Frequent Updates
We get it — no one likes having to lose a few minutes of their workday or face having to reboot their computers.
However, software updates don’t just exist to make your life easier and your computer more efficient.
Many people have little to no idea that these updates also install new security features, update your current security and anti-virus software and tools, and help to guard you against new forms of cyber attacks.
Now, hopefully, you have a better understanding of why running those updates is so essential for your business.
7. Avoid Opening Personal Email at Work
One of the biggest cyber threats that most companies don’t pay any attention to until it’s too late?
Your personal email.
Remember that “spoofing,” or a hacker imitating a reputable email address in your contact list or that of a larger corporation, is incredibly common.
Often, you or your team members will think nothing of opening up a personal email at your desk — especially if it’s from someone you know.
Still, a hacker could easily embed links to dangerous websites in the content of their emails. And once you click on those links? Your data is entirely vulnerable, and often, a virus gets installed on your computer.
That virus can quickly replicate itself, and then spread throughout your entire network.
To see if a link is a potential threat or not, instead of clicking on it, simply hover over it with your mouse. If it takes you to a different site than you thought or an unfamiliar address, make sure that you don’t click on it.
Of course, the best way to avoid all of this is by avoiding opening your personal email accounts while at the office.
Looking for Professional Help in Guarding against a Cyber Attack?
We hope that this post has taught you a few of the most important steps that you need to take in order to prevent your company from falling victim to a cyber attack.
Remember to install and update security software, continually train your employees on your security policy, and to avoid public Wi-Fi networks.
If you’ve recently been the victim of cyber attacks, or if you just need professional help in getting the level of protection that you need? We can help you.
Spend some time on our website to learn more about the many different cyber security and IT services that we have to offer.
When you’re ready to make your network a much safer space, get in touch with us to get started.