It is every business’s worst fear: falling victim to a data breach. With the loss of data also comes the loss of financial resources and the loss of customer and employee trust. It is no surprise that a majority of businesses file for bankruptcy in the six months following a hack.
How can your business avoid falling victim to a cyber attack or a compromised network? First, recognize the ways in which hackers can sneak into your network. Their methods are varied, but if not addressed, their effects remain the same: damaged data, damaged financials, and damaged trust that could very well put you out of business.
- Phishing Emails: Employees clicking on an infected email or accidentally giving away login credentials is one of the top ways for hackers to gain access to your network. Proper training of your employees can help with this. Teach them how to recognize phishing emails and mandate two-factor authentication across your workplace.
- Using Company Devices Outside of Work: A simple “Acceptable Use” or “Bring Your Own Device” policy can help prevent employees from using company computers or software for uses other than company business. This can decrease the chances of someone using company devices for something unlawful, like illegal downloads.
- Weak Passwords: Passwords need to be 8 characters long and complex (lowercase letters, capital letters, special characters, and numbers). Why? Because simple passwords are simple to crack. A password with 8 complex characters has 6.6 quadrillion possible combinations. A hacker could never possibly try out every single password in his or her lifetime.
- Old Software: Keep your software and hardware patched and updated. Any time a vulnerability is found, developers release an update to prevent hackers from gaining access. A large number of the world’s biggest hacks were caused because one piece of software wasn’t updated.
- Neglected Firewalls: A firewall monitors traffic coming in and out of your network. It needs regular maintenance to make sure it’s keeping up with the latest threats. The web is always changing. Your firewall needs to keep up.
- Fake Access Points: Make sure your employees know to never enter financial, medical or other sensitive information over Wi-Fi unless they are on a recognized access point that you know is secure. It’s common for hackers to create cloned Wi-Fi access points that look safe and trick people into using them.
- Falling for Social Engineering: This means hackers exploiting your employees to get information to your network. This can be really low technology, like someone initiating a conversation with one of your employees to learn more about the company structure. Or this can be high tech, like an email asking you to reset your email. Employee training can help with this too.
Once you’ve identified the threats posed to your business, what comes next?
- Training your employees to prevent the occurrence of a hack
- Putting together a disaster response team who can tackle the aftermath of a hack
- Investing in cyber liability insurance to cover the costs of a hack
If you are searching for a partner to walk you through disaster recovery, digital compliance, and cybersecurity, contact KDG. The American Business Award “IT Department of the Year” at KDG will be ready to lend a hand.