If a large organization has a security breach it may end up dealing with a public relations nightmare. It will have to work hard to convince their customers that they’ve done what it takes to correct any problems caused by a security breach. It may even have to pay some customers out for any damage caused to them. But more often than not large organizations do tend to bounce back as they have the resources to fix the problem
Medium to Small businesses are not so lucky. The U.S’ National Cyber Security Alliance found that 60 percent of small companies are unable to sustain their businesses over six months after a cyber attack. According to the Ponemon Institute, the average price for small businesses to clean up after their businesses have been hacked stands at $690,000; and, for middle market companies, it’s over $1 million. This is because these organizations do not always have such deep pockets, the in-house IT department or the access to what they need to fix security breaches.
Here’s how you can ensure your organization does not become a part of these statistics.
Here’s an unfortunate truth: In the current technological environment no one is a 100 percent safe. Thus, most features in this article are precautions but not guarantees. Network security wards off the most prominent dangers. But it takes one moment of human error, a software problem or even a natural disaster. These problems can allow online attacks to infiltrate your business network or all your data to be lost.
That’s why you need a backup plan. A DRP (Disaster Recovery Plan).
What happens when malware infiltrates your system or your data is lost?
You and your employees must know exactly what to do the moment something goes wrong. This includes:
- Guidelines to limit access to the network and prevent further infiltration
- Action plans to gain access to data so you can continue doing business
- Creating a new network if your original one is destroyed or compromised
- Long-term planning to get your activities back to full capacity
If you don’t have a plan yet you’ve still got time to prepare.
Read: How to Prepare a Disaster Recovery Plan that works
Remember, your goal should be to minimize damage and ensure your downtime is as short as possible.
Here’s one easy way you can win in these scenarios.
Backups are essential to have access to business or client information even if your network is down. But don’t keep all your backups on your premises. In a fire, all your assets can be destroyed.
Some service providers handle this on your behalf. They can store your information off-site or in the virtual cloud. Remember that updating backups is essential to make your DRP work effectively.
You probably have one password you use for everything, right? There’s your first mistake. This is the easiest way a hacker can gain access to all your private information. We take passwords for granted and only realize their value when it’s too late.
Computers can process huge amounts of data in a small amount of time, and a hacker can run more than 420 billion password combinations per minute. Brute force attacks, hybrid attacks, and dictionary attacks are just a few of the various methods used by hackers to crack a password. Educate your employees about the need to follow password protection policies. A strong password is a string of at least 20 characters. It should contain upper, lower and special characters with a decent amount of gibberish instead of real words as most password hacking scripts often use databases that contain the most popular words.
Claim free Cybersecurity training for your staff
Even passwords fall prey to hackers. But you can sidestep a few attacks by using two-factor authentication.
More secure systems require two passwords to be entered. Alternatively, your second authentication can be done via your Smartphone. If criminals don’t have your mobile device they also wouldn’t be able to access your personal items.
How easy is it to access your business network? Do you even know how to test this?
Networks enable most office activities. But few business owners go to the effort of learning enough about these networks. When you don’t realize how necessary security features are you may not prioritize them on your budget.
This lack of knowledge can be detrimental to a business’ future. Do you have all of these in place yet?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is how you stay invisible to cyber attackers.
A VPN creates a private network where you and your colleagues function. When your activities aren’t noticed they can’t be attacked.
Most businesses have a Firewall deployed but did you know you have to update yours regularly?
Firewalls track where online information comes from. If a source can’t be trusted you’re warned. But if your software is outdated new types of threats won’t easily be identified.
Another security feature you must update is antivirus software.
These programs work best when you allow them to continually scan your computers. Though this can slow down your computer the security is worth it.
Viruses can be stopped from entering a computer or when identified they can be destroyed. But new viruses are created all the time. If you only have last week’s software version, your computer is already at risk.
Why is it so important that business owners stay updated with network security? Can’t you allocate the responsibility to your IT department?
Your IT department doesn’t manage all your employees. And users can pose extreme dangers to your network.
Ideally, you need to demand respect for the network and tell people how to use it. Cultivate an attitude of respect for your network. This includes guidelines on how not to use it. There are websites with hazardous content that can infiltrate your system if you browse the site.
But it only takes one employee to cause such a disaster.
Luckily you can use a web filter to combat this problem. When employees make mistakes or show disdain for your rules these filters block access to certain content or bar dangerous emails.
One automated feature creates a barrier between you and malicious attacks. You can’t monitor all your employees’ actions. Can you risk not having this feature in place?
Here’s one excellent feature we love about the latest tech developments. The cloud.
We already mentioned you can use this for backups. But your clients will love you even more if they know you’re using cloud-based security.
Sync cloud features with your payment system if you have an eCommerce website. Cloud security is in line with PCI (Payments Cards Industry) regulations which mean all your clients’ personal and payment data will stay safe.
And that’s what you’re after. It’s all about your clients. Yes, you want to protect your data and your network. But all of it has an impact on your public image. You don’t want a cyber-attack to cause your customers to doubt your integrity. Start deploying these guidelines to build your organization’s cyber resilience.
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