The threat of data breaches and hacking is an ever-present problem, especially for businesses who have a wealth of sensitive data to protect. Businesses have a lot to fear, as both the frequency and costs of cyberattacks are increasing every year. Juniper Research predicts that the average cost of a data breach in 2020 will exceed $150 million!
Needless to say, cybercrime is no joke. In fact, if we’re talking about small companies, as much as 60% go out of business within six months following a cyberattack.
These statistics clearly demonstrate the importance of applying proper cybersecurity measures to safeguard sensitive business data and minimize costs of an attack.
For the sake of a more secure Internet free from cyberattacks threatening a business’s prosperity, here are some essential steps to put into action.
Encrypt data and back it up
Preventing cybercrime is all about denying access to criminals to your sensitive information and data. However, it pays to imagine worst-case scenarios, which in this case is the event that your data actually falls into the hands of a hacker.
The next best thing to access denial is to encrypt your data so well as to make it entirely unintelligible to any third party who gets to read it.
Most modern operating systems today feature encryption utilities and companies shouldn’t shy away from using these. Full-disk encryption is recommended to ensure all data on your hard drives is encrypted well.
As an insurance policy, back up all the data to a drive which is disconnected from your systems and isolated from the Internet. You might also go with the cloud option and upload all-important data to a cloud service.
Create Strong Passwords
Our natural inclination when creating passwords is to make it simple so we can remember it later. But that decision is next only to creating no password at all on the stupidity scale.
Hackers can break simple passwords that contain real names or intelligible phrases, and they don’teven have to work hard for it.
A strong password is one that contains a combination of numbers, special characters, and letters in both uppercase and lowercase. Another effective strategy is to keep your passwords sufficiently long, with a minimum of 8 characters at the very least.
Frequent change of passwords is another incredibly effective strategy that is too often ignored because it requires users to come up with new passwords every few months.
Password managers can make this incredibly easy, so you really shouldn’t be making any excuses for not being thorough enough with your password management.
Use a VPN
VPN services became popular for their ability to unblock censored and geo-restricted content. In fact, the security features of a good VPN are strong enough to effectively add new levels of security to your network.
However, you should be careful in your choice when you decide to install one. I would suggest companies to give a wide berth to free VPN services and stick with premium solutions such aPureVPN and NordVPN.
These VPNs have built a strong reputation over the years for their excellent security features that can play a part in keeping you encrypted and safe from hackers.
Keep Antivirus Updated
This one is a no-brainer. It is unimaginable today to connect a computer to the Internet without an anti-virus program running in the background. Malware infections can creep into systems from source you least expect. It is only by updating your anti-virus suites so that you can be confident enough to connect to the Internet safely.
I suggest using paid versions of anti-virus programs, as they often have some important features, which you can’t find in the free version. Real-time shield, for instance, is an extremely effective feature of good anti-virus software, as these prevent malware before they have a chance to infest your network and PCs.
An up-to-date anti-malware on every system of your company is one of the most important measures you can take to guard against cyber threats.
A firewall on your computer can control outbound and inbound traffic. If it suspects incoming traffic contains malicious content, it denies access these data packets trying to make their way into your system.
Although a firewall is a pretty simple tool, it impact can be tremendous in keeping you isolated from traffic that has the potential to harm your network. Don’t overlook firewalls when you’re devising your cyber security strategy.
Educate Staff on Online Security
In the corporate world, protection of an organization’s data and information is the shared responsibility of the upper management as well as the employees. Educating staff about online threats and clearly communicating the company’s network usage policies can go a long way in sidestepping any mishaps online.
A culture of online safe practices needs to be establishedby companies, both small and large. Awareness is key for the protection of your digital assets in the increasingly dangerous online environment.
Consider Investing in Cyber Insurance
As the frequency of cyberattacks and their virulence increases, the popularity of cyber insurance is increases in direct proportion. According to research from PwC, the cyber insurance market is projected to exceed $7.5 billion in annual gains by 2020.
However, cyber insurance is NOT a substitute for a good and well thought-out cyber security strategy. The ideal scenario would be avoiding a hacking attempt or malware infection in the first place.
But if you do have the misfortune to fall victim to one, you can always count on your cyber insurance to protect you from financial and data losses.
Internet is the backbone of companies both big and small in the modern world. Unfortunately, hackers have made Internet a risky place, but one we cannot imagine doing business without today. It is therefore of extreme importance for business enterprises to invest in cyber security measures and devise comprehensive strategies for dealing with the ever-present threats lurking on the web.
Osama is a staunch believer in the inalienable right of every citizen to freedom of expression. Writing about online privacy and security without regard to political correctness is his answer to the powers that be threatening our freedom.