It’s no longer a secret that the internet has revolutionised how businesses operate, offering various opportunities for growth and expansion. However, with the benefits of the digital age come the risks of cyber attacks, which can damage your business irreparably in most cases. Cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in online systems and gain access to sensitive data.
What is a cyber attack? A cyber attack is an attempt by hackers or cybercriminals to damage, disrupt, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system, network, or device. Cyber attacks can take many forms, such as malware, viruses, phishing scams, ransomware and more.
What type of businesses is vulnerable to cyber-attacks? Any type of business that relies on technology and has an online presence is vulnerable to cyber-attacks. This includes small and large businesses, government agencies, healthcare providers, financial institutions, and many others. Cybercriminals often target businesses that hold valuable information or assets, such as financial information, personal data, and intellectual property.
Here are a few measures that be taken to improve your cyber security:
1. Keep software and security systems up to date: Regularly update all software and security systems, including operating systems, antivirus software, firewalls, and web browsers, to protect against newly discovered threats.
2. Implement two-factor authentication (2FA): This is a security process that requires users to provide two different types of identification in order to access an online account or system. Typically, this involves providing a password as well as a unique code sent to a mobile device or generated by an app. 2FA is used to add an extra layer of security to online accounts and systems, reducing the risk of unauthorized access or cyber-attacks. What is two-factor authentication?*
3. Encrypt sensitive data: This involves converting data into a coded form that can only be read by using a specific decryption key. It is a security measure that makes it difficult for unauthorised users to read or access customer information, financial data or other proprietary information. Encryption helps protect such sensitive data from theft or misuse, both while it is stored and while it is being transmitted between systems. If you're a small business with no IT department, it's best to consult with an IT specialist on this issue.
4. Regularly back up data: Here you create copies of important information and store them in a separate location away from the original data. This is done to ensure that, in case of a cyber-attack or data loss, the business can quickly recover the lost or damaged data from the backup copies. It is important to store the backup copies in a secure offsite location to ensure that they are not affected by the same issues that caused the original data loss.
5. Password protection: A strong password typically includes a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters, which is at least 8-12 characters long. Passwords should be changed regularly, at least every 90 days, to ensure maximum protection. It is also important to educate employees, or anyone with access to online accounts, about the importance of password protection and the risks of weak or compromised passwords. This includes avoiding sharing passwords with others, using password managers to securely stored passwords, and avoiding clicking on suspicious links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.
If you’d like to get started or improve your cyber smart measures, here’s a list of some tried and tested information technology businesses near you: https://bizbwana.com/directory/commercial-services/it