You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your data from cyber attacks. Staying on top of your cyber security is one of the best ways to support yourself and your business. As cyber attacks become more advanced and adapt to technological enhancements, you need to make sure your cyber security is keeping up.
To stay protected and keep your data safe, there are strategies to implement into your daily life or business. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Cyber Security?
Cyber security is the act of protecting networks, data, and technology devices from unauthorized access. It essentially entails keeping people who shouldn’t be seeing your data out of your information.
“You cannot operate a business without protection against cyber attacks. With the world being so reliant on the internet, you have to put the right protections in place to ensure your data and personal information is safe,” explains Lioran Pinchevski, Founder and CEO of Finaloop, a company that specializes in ecommerce accounting software.
Cyber security is constantly evolving and adapting to new threats. Protecting your business means implementing new security tactics into your daily life.
Why Is Cyber Security Important?
We hold a majority of our data online or on our devices. A lack of security heightens the risk of a hacker infiltrating your data and personal information and using it for harm. If you run a business, customers are going to assume you’re keeping their data safe. Putting proper protections into place will show your customers and employees you take their private information seriously.
“Integrating cybersecurity risk into an enterprise risk management framework is the key to ensuring better security, regulatory compliance, business protection, and customer trust,” says Paolo Dal Cin, Global Lead of Accenture Security.
It’s important that data doesn’t get into the wrong hands. A cyber attack could happen for a variety of reasons, so you need to be prepared and proactive in keeping data safe. Poor cyber security often results in money loss, a pause in your business’s operations, and breaches of confidential information.
What Are the Best Strategies To Enhance Cyber Security?
As a business owner, your employees and customers trust you to keep the business safe from threats. To do so, you must implement key strategies to enhance your cyber security and create barriers to keep cybercriminals out.
1. Use Strong, Unique Passwords
One of the easiest ways for someone to hack into your private accounts or networks is through weak passwords. While it might be easy to use the same password over and over again, this is an easily exploited cybersecurity weakness.
“The key here is that you don’t want to reuse passwords or use weak passwords — more than 80% of data breaches are the result of weak or stolen login credentials, secrets, or passwords,” shares Darren Guccione, CEO and Co-Founder of Keeper Security.
Consider getting a password book to write all of your unique passwords down and keep them in a secure place. If a hacker learns one of your passwords, they may try to use the same one or its variations in other accounts. To avoid this, never use the same password — especially for accounts where private information is stored.
2. Keep Your Software Updated
A hacker will notice right away if your computer’s software has not been updated, and they’ll surely be happy about it. It’s much easier to get into a software system that is not up-to-date, so you have to make sure you don’t put off regular maintenance.
“It’s easy to dismiss the notifications telling you to update your computer software, but that’s what the hackers want! You have to be proactive and make sure all of the computers at your business are updated frequently,” explains Amanda Howland, Co-Founder of ElleVet Sciences.
Outdated software gives hackers easy access, so consider turning on automated updates. While it may seem time-consuming to restart your computer so often, losing access to all of your data and having private information compromised is much worse.
3. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication
Unique passwords are essential, but that won’t always stop a hacker from figuring out a way in. In order to boost your cyber security, you should have your business implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) onto all accounts.
“Anyone could guess a password, but if you don’t have access to the account you’re trying to get into by phone or email, you’re not getting in. Multi-factor authentication creates extra barriers for hackers to have to try to get through, and more often than not, this stops them right in their tracks,” says Roman Peysakhovich, CEO of Cleango, a company known for their commercial cleaning services.
Additionally, when someone is trying to hack into an account with MFA, it alerts the owner that someone is trying to log in. This stops them from entering and allows you to take the necessary steps to reset your password and protect your account.
4. Use a VPN
Businesses should be using virtual private networks (VPNs) for all of their employees, but it’s particularly important in situations where confidential data is involved. VPNs encrypt your internet traffic and make it difficult for hackers to view your activity.
“When you implement VPNs into your business, remote workers don’t have to worry as much about finding secured networks to do their work. Their data stays protected and they can do their work safely from anywhere, even their favorite coffee shop” shares Jenny Herbison, VP of Marketing at Craft Docs.
If someone is trying to access your computer while you’re using a VPN, they won’t be able to decipher what you’re working on because it will appear as an encrypted message.
5. Back Up Your Data
Even if you’re extremely cautious, a cyber attack could happen to you or your business. To ensure you have access to your data or are able to recover it in the event of an attack, you need to back it up frequently.
“Regular back-ups keep businesses from losing all of their precious data in a worst-case scenario. You should have several copies of your work stored on different hard drives. That way, the copy will remain if the original gets hacked,” cautions Scott Chaverri, CEO of Mito Red Light, a company known for their red light therapy devices.
Having your employees back up their work at least monthly (but preferably at the end of each work week) will give you peace of mind and demonstrate your commitment to keeping data safe.
6. Don’t Open Strange Links
While it may seem obvious, you might not recognize a fake link before it’s too late. Before opening any link you receive, make sure there isn’t anything off about the link itself.
“Something as simple as a misspelling in the name of the website you’re going to should set off a red flag. Mistakes like this could lead you to compromised websites,” warns Brianna Bitton, Co-Founder of O Positiv.
All employees should receive training to keep an eye out for suspicious links. When you access one of these links, you’re often opening up your account for hackers to easy access.
7. Use Secure Web Connections
If you are not able to use a VPN, you still need to make sure you’re joining secure web connections only. When you go to a website, you might be notified it’s not secure. This means there may have been breaches in the connection, and your web history might be tracked.
“Using an unsecured website for your personal matters is a choice you make. When it comes to work, it can never be done at home or even in the workplace if under an unsecured network,” explains Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder and CEO of OSDB. “If you can’t find a secure connection, notify your boss and don’t work on anything confidential.”
In order to keep private information private, you need to be thinking about security wherever you go. There is a time and place to work on sensitive material, and an unsecured network is not it.
8. Be Aware of Phishing Scams
Strange emails enter our inbox and spam all the time. If someone else’s business has poor cyber security, your email could be leaked to hackers. If you receive an email that seems legitimate, you need to double-check before following up.
“Phishing scams are one of the worst cyber security hacks. These kinds of scammers have gotten so good at disguising themselves as a legitimate person or business, even the most aware people fall victim to their antics,” says Oliver Zak, CEO and Co-Founder of Mad Rabbit, a company known for their tattoo numbing cream.
To avoid this, always verify the identity of your responder before considering any requestions. If you’re unsure of whether you’re communicating with a scammer, talk to a superior about your concerns.
9. Store Personal Information Elsewhere
Personal data, like your social security number, home address, bank account information, and so on, should be kept in a separate location, encrypted, and kept safe. You shouldn’t have sensitive information anywhere too easy to access.
“Using a separate hard drive for all of the company’s personal information ensures it’s not just sitting on someone’s computer, ready to be accessed by anyone. It may not be the most efficient way to harbor information, but it keeps people who shouldn’t have access away from it,” shares Kevin Miller, Founder of kevinmiller.com.
If you don’t need certain information to be on your computer, store it offline. Move it somewhere safe, then implement safety measures to keep it that way.
10. Educate Your Team
The best way to enhance your cyber security is to keep your team educated about the threats of cyber attacks. People need to be made aware of scams going around, phishing attempts, and how to spot breaches in security.
“Every few months, hold a meeting to remind employees of safe practices to ensure you keep your data safe. It’s wise to remind people of possible threats and keep safety fresh in their minds,” explains Saad Alam, CEO and Co-Founder of Hone Health. “Cyber threats evolve every day, so each employee in your company needs to stay updated on those changes.”
If you know what to look out for, you can help to stop attacks from happening. By alerting your superiors to possible threats, you help keep the business safe. These kinds of tools will carry over into protecting your own personal information.
Keep Your Business Safe
Cyber attacks are real, and they can be devastating. The best way to avoid them is to be proactive and put all of the security measures you can put into place. By creating these barriers, you’re making a hacker’s job impossible.
If you can’t use all of these key strategies, that’s okay! Just make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect your data and put your digital defenses up.