We have come a long way in terms of the ability to secure our businesses since the bygone days of frequent robberies and free-sprawling crime syndicates in most American cities. Of course, the issues of crime and thievery have not been completely eradicated, but an ordinary person now has a lot more tools at their disposal to protect themselves and their livelihood from criminals effectively.
With the advent of CCTV cameras, 24-hour surveillance, and elaborate home security systems with the power of calling in security guards who can arrive at the spot in less than a minute, robbers had to adapt to this changing landscape. As more and more human activity is being carried out in the digital sphere, the same can be said of criminal operations.
It’s worth pointing out that a lot of the equipment used to physically protect your household or business can be used against you by hackers with malicious intent — camera systems can easily be hacked, allowing criminals to plan out the robbery and avoid getting caught. Most of the time, they wouldn’t even need to infiltrate the premises physically — since most data is stored digitally, all the information they’d need to drain your bank accounts is most likely on a hard drive somewhere.
Businesses should look to private cybersecurity companies, such as Bulletproof or Fortinet, in hopes of implementing that additional layer of safety, but there are some things that you, as a business owner, could do yourself to keep your business safe from cyberattacks.
What Is A Cyberattack?
Before figuring out the best measures you can take to protect your digital assets, you should have a basic understanding of what cyberattacks are and how they can cause harm to you and your business.
Cyberattacks occur when organizations or individuals try to breach your business’s information system in hopes of extracting valuable data, capturing your assets, or, in some of the more malicious cases, preventing your company from running properly altogether.
The most common type of cyber threat in the past was malware, more commonly known as computer viruses. They are pieces of software that, when slipped into your network, can wreak some serious havoc, from blocking out essential components, or sending all of the data transmitted over your network to third parties.
Other kinds of cyberattacks include phishing, a slightly less elaborate ordeal based upon crafting fake, official-looking notifications and messages to try and extract information from employees. Moreover, this technique involves denial-of-service attacks, coordinated efforts, carried out with the use of one or more devices that flood a target’s network and servers, draining bandwidth and preventing you from running your firm’s day-to-day activities.
These are just some of the most popular types of cyberattacks. There are many more of them out there, and without taking proper precautions, your business most probably will get hacked. It won’t even be a matter of “if,” but rather a matter of “when.”
What Can You Do?
As a business owner without a background in computer science and cybersecurity, you can be excused for not being familiar with most of the concepts mentioned above. However, you are obliged to provide maximum security and protect your own and your employees’ data to the best of your ability. As an entrepreneur with a grip on the daily activities in and out of your office, you can easily follow these three tips to implement basic cybersecurity practices in your business.
- Backup your data often! It would be a challenge to come up with a more overlooked aspect of any person’s digital life. Backing up the information stored on your devices to external hard drives or the cloud (keep in mind that hard drives are less vulnerable to attacks) is your first, most important lifeline in the event of your business getting hacked. It might not protect you from cybercriminals, but at least you won’t lose the majority of your data.
- Install antivirus software on all of your company’s devices. Although some of them are malware, cleverly disguised as antivirus files, there is no denying the fact that any serious business should have a trusty antivirus program locked and loaded on their computers. They are your first line of defense in terms of detecting threats and blocking them out autonomously. Just remember to choose one of the well-known and recommended ones!
- Update all software frequently. A lot of business owners fail to comply with this tip, even if they have successfully implemented other protective measures. If you’re not running up to date software on your company’s computers, you’re exposing the entire network to an attack, as outdated programs are easier to hack.
The pieces of advice listed above are just the starting point of a responsible cybersecurity strategy, that you, as a business owner, should have to keep your data safe from all sorts of threats. Aside from installing the right software and practicing network etiquette, you should heed advice from outside sources, such as cybersecurity consultants and companies that can provide you with the right framework and suggest infrastructure that will hold up your defenses in the most effective way possible.