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10 tips to prevent your business from getting hacked

10 tips to prevent your business from getting hacked

We’ve all seen concerning news stories about online hackers gaining access to major businesses. In the most infamous cases, millions of unsuspecting people have their personal, and often financial information exposed online where criminals can gain access. In a world where an increasing amount of your personal data must be shared online, how can you protect yourself or your business against cyber criminals?

The most effective way to protect yourself is to explore online security options. Implementing security solutions can be a tricky road to navigate, which is why we wrote a list of 10 helpful cyber security tips for you. If you utilize these solutions in your business, you will mitigate the risk of being a victim of a cyber-attack.

1. Be cautious about where you share your financial information online:

When buying products online, always double check that you are buying from a reputable seller and ensure that you are paying through a secure and encrypted software. If a website does not have a payment method system that you recognize, don’t put in your personal and credit card information. Having your finances hacked isn’t worth the money you may save in an online sale. In addition, be weary of who you give your credit card information to online and never include it in an email.

2. Expect that you will be attacked:

You often hear about security breaches at big businesses as they tend to become major news stories and lead to lengthy and public law suits. While you may think your small or mid-sized business is not at risk, this is precisely why hackers may target you. Hackers know that smaller sized companies are less likely to invest in strong cyber security. You could receive ransomware, a type of malicious software where you may be forced to pay a hacker to ensure your data is not exposed. Ransomware is particularly insidious as it can infect your computer through spam attached to PDF or Word documents. You may not even realize your computer has been infected until it’s too late. The first mistake of cyber security is that most people are completely unprepared. The most important thing to remember is that there are thousands of hackers out there that are looking to do harm. When you understand that your personal information is at risk, you can take the first steps and begin securing your devices.

3. Use a firewall:

A fire wall is an essential tool in mitigating the risk of a cyber-attack. It is a network security device designed to prevent security breaches and unauthorized attempts to gain access to your system. WatchGuard, a cyber security company, offers a firewall product called Firebox. This appliance is especially designed to provide high levels of security to small businesses. This is a cost-effective and simple solution that includes capabilities such as security for Wi-fi and data loss prevention.

4. Use strong passwords for yourself and your business:

While having the same password for various online accounts makes it easier for you to remember, it also makes it easier for hackers to gain access to your valuable data. Creating secure and separate passwords for your accounts will give you an extra layer of security. Although it may be an annoyance to remember long and random password, you will be a less attractive target of cyber-crime. You may consider implementing an application such as Sticky Password in your company. This is an app that generates and collects secure passwords in a safe system. It has several features that alleviate the hassle of having to remember multiple passwords. Sticky Password automatically generates strong passwords, fills out online forms automatically, keeps your credit cards safe, allows you to securely share passwords and login info, and works on all your devices.

5. Have a good backup system:

Most of us have experienced losing an important document or photo. We know what devastating effects it can have, particularly if it is something sentimental. When data loss occurs in a company, it can be disastrous. In the event of an unexpected disaster it is important to have a secure data backup. Backing your data frequently,  doing regular testing on your systems and having a multi-faceted approach is important to ensure you always have your irreplaceable data in a safe place. Just like you would purchase insurance for your health or car, setting up your network with regular backups is insurance for your computers and business.

6. Educate yourself and your staff:

The first step in prevention is education. If your employees are unaware of cyber-crime risks, they will not be able to spot suspicious behavior. Encourage your employees to learn more about cyber security through various means such as Webinars, through a company meeting or training session. You could even circulate this blog post through email. Let them know how hackers operate and what signs to look for if there is ever a security breach.

7. Monitor your accounts and limit privileges:

While external security breaches are more common, internal breaches are not unheard of. Your employees should not have access to all passwords or network information. You or your tech team should limit the number of admin or privileged user accounts on your network. In addition, have a secure list of your employees and their permissions so you can remove them from your network if they leave the company.

8. Have mobile security in place:

Many workplaces offer their employees the ability to work from home. If you are one of these businesses, having mobile security in place is vital to ensure your data is protected when your employees aren’t in the office. Corporate data should be protected in the event of a lost or stolen device that contains sensitive data such as documents or client information. If this information is connected to the company’s internal network, a hacker or thief will have direct access to your network.

9. Monitor and test networks:

Proper cyber security requires a lot of attention and care. That is why consistent monitoring is necessary to detect changes or any suspicious activity that could lead to a breach. You may want to consider having a security operations centre in place or outsourcing your IT to a managed IT services company that will keep tabs on your internal system 24/7. It is also important to know your security weak points and run penetration tests to understand where your system is vulnerable.

10. Have a response plan in place

The most vital part of cyber security is to have a plan in place in the event of unexpected disaster. When you accept that a breach will occur, you can implement an action plan and acquire the necessary resources to recover and quickly return to normal operations. You will never regret investing in cyber security. If you don’t have it when you need it the most, it could cause irreparable damage to your business.

Although creating a plan for strong cyber-security in your business may seem daunting, there are many simple and cost-effective solutions that will keep your data safe.
For more information on how you can protect yourself and your business from cyber-crime, call 416-250-1040 or visit: www.mitconsulting.ca.

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