According to CyberCrimesWatch.com, 65% of the global population has experienced some form of cyber crime. An attack could hamper your businesses’ productivity and also compromise sensitive data. It also seems that no company is immune, regardless of clout. Recently, the infamous hacking group Anonymous hit Bank of America and seized 16 gigabytes of data. Keep reading to learn about five ways that your business can protect itself from cyber criminals.
Do a Risk Assessment
Preventing cybercrime is everyone’s job, and the task starts by being aware of weaknesses. Be especially careful if any sensitive data such as customer records or accounting files are linked to the Internet. Also, go an extra step by asking your staff members to ensure that antivirus software and firewall protection is up-to-date on their workplace computers. When you take care to be proactive and work to improve risk factors, hackers will be more likely to look for an easier target.
The Ponemon Institute performed a study and found that organizations are struck by an average of 66 cyber attacks per week, and that these instances are most common in the United States and Germany. You can cut your risk by taking time to educate your employees about possible activities that could make your business more appealing to hackers.
For example, although portable devices make it much easier to get things done, they can also be a prime target for hackers, because many employees use tools like USB drives and remote access gateways in insecure ways.
Use E-mail Safely
E-mail is another example of a tool that usually facilitates workflow, but can also put your company at risk for cybercrime. Almost everyone has been forced to deal with a flooded inbox at one time or another, but when you’re trying to get things back down to a manageable level, be careful not to unwittingly click on attachments or links that may be harmful, and instruct employees to do the same.
Even if you think you’ve become wise about the usual characteristics of spam e-mail, methods are evolving everyday, potentially harmful content dominates the Internet. According to Commtouch, 87 billion spam e-mails were sent out daily during the third quarter of 2012; almost 2 billion of those contained some form of malware or phishing devices meant to gather information.
Use Strong Passwords
Changing your password regularly can be a pain, but this habit can also make you less susceptible to the activities of online criminals. Set company-wide standards for passwords that use a combination of letters and numbers, while also avoiding things that might be easy to guess or research, such as birth dates or a pet’s name.
Monitor File Sharing
File sharing can be convenient, especially if your workplace is very large, and employees need to collaborate through electronic media. Uphold safe practices by only giving authorized parties access to file sharing networks, and think about relying on strongly protected network servers, where users can save and copy files in a secure setting.
To deal with the increasing threat of cyber crime, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has a dedicated division that works with other national bodies to take down cyber criminals. Security compromises are not new issues, and your business can fight back against them. Use the five suggestions to get off to a strong start in safeguarding your business against the dangers of the Internet.
Chris Brooks is an avid business blogger. Interested in management? You may want to look into masters degrees in business, like the one offered by RIT Online.