Looking for ways to keep your business safe from cyber attacks? These 5 super simple tips will keep your employees safe online and your business protected from cyber threats.
Today, it’s become even more complicated for companies to prevent cybersecurity breaches. It’s important for businesses to understand that each employee, intern and manager all play equal roles in protecting your private business data.
To Start, Your Employees Need Refreshing.
Data hygiene can significantly impact your company’s susceptibility to cybersecurity threats. A few examples worth mentioning include the Dropbox data breach when 60M+ user credentials fell victim to cyber theft, the Equifax breach which recently compromised the identity of millions of users and the never-ending, and the Yahoo breach that affected essentially every single of the user of the service.
As the use of personal electronic devices becomes more popular, with 90 percent of Americans using their personal smartphones for work, employees are increasing their risk of accidentally opening access to company data. If an employee is utilizing an unsecured Public WiFi hotspot (read more about public WiFi risks), their device is then susceptible to snoopers and hackers. By using proper security practices, this risk is eliminated for any and all company devices.
1. Educate Your Employees
The single most important way to keep your employees safe online is to educate them about cybersecurity. This requires more than just a single briefing, but instead, regular reminders of the real dangers of cybercrime and frequency of attacks on businesses.
- Regularly Talk About Cybersecurity
The first step to making your employees aware of cyber security is to simply make sure it’s a regular conversation in the workplace. Remind your staff about the possible impact of breaches and what effect they would have on your organization. A simple “I have read and understood the terms and conditions” document isn’t enough.
- Employee Training
Employee training during the onboarding process is essential for protecting your business’s private data. You can test out Cyveillance which offers safety awareness computer-based training for your employees regardless of how large or small your business is. The company claims to successfully reduce the number of employees who click on malicious links by 50% after completing their training.
- Staff and Managers are Employees Too
Employees also include top management and staff positions. In fact, top managers are often popular targets due to their advanced access to sensitive information stored on servers. Additionally, higher positions often travel more frequently, conducting business on unsecured WiFi networks and exposing their confidential data in plain text without encryption.
2. Teach Your Employees to Know What to Look For
Often, employees receive emails or other communication asking for sensitive information. These types of phishing attacks allow cybercriminals to request users to “log in”, allowing them to capture usernames, passwords and other personal information.
These same techniques can also be used to infect company computers with botnets, viruses and Trojans. Sage Singleton, safety expert for SafeWise, details, “Many malware scams happen from within and are accidentally caused by employees. Hold quarterly security seminars and continually remind employees to never open suspicious links that could cause malware. If an employee is emailed by someone asking for private information (like W2s, employee files, etc…) have that employee reach out to the HR department immediately. Employees should never give out personal information to anyone. Let HR handle that.”
- Watch Out for Fake URLs
Many malicious sites will utilize unsecured URLs which will, at first glance, seem completely legitimate. These sites will appear to be one you are already familiar with but will contain slightly deviated details. In the URL, there can be small typos, unusually placed symbols, and other differences. These variations give you a clue that this in fact not the real site, but instead, a spoofed one aimed to obtain your personal information.
- Be aware of social engineering
Social media, blogs and links from unknown sources are often used to target unsuspecting individuals. While in the office, this can lead to serious data breaches as malware spreads throughout the network. Even trickier methods include cybercriminals actually calling individual work lines and pretending to be a co-worker asking detailed questions about the company. Depending on the information provided, this can give the criminal details such as user credentials allowing them to gain unrestricted access to the network.
- Secure Your Printer and Scanner
While employees may understand the importance of not opening suspicious emails, many have no idea that other Wi-Fi enabled devices such as printers are also susceptible to cyber attacks.
“Printers and scanners are an essential part of an office. People print, scan, and fax important documents all day long. These machines are collecting and storing private data, and are hardly ever swiped clean. It’s essential to wipe the hard drives every quarter to ensure your small business is protected,” says Singleton.
3. Use Different and Smarter Passwords on Accounts
The expectations for secure passwords have undoubtedly increased in recent years. Using common and frequent passwords have enabled hackers to access millions of accounts annually. Follow these guidelines to ensure safer, more secure passwords for your accounts:
- Longer passwords are better
- Do not save your password to your browser
- Have different passwords for different accounts
- Stay clear of numbers associated with personal details
If you think your password is secure, use this Kaspersky’s Password checker to see if it passes the test!
4. Guard Customer Information
As your employee privacy is vitally important, the information obtained from your customers is equally sensitive. It is the responsibility of your employees to ensure customer privacy. To do this, employees should store, protect and destroy information regarding customer names, addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, personal opinions or credit card information.
“Unfortunately, 64 percent of small businesses are victims of internal employee theft. As such, it’s essential to perform routine safety checks to make sure your business is protected. Update inventory regularly, change passwords frequently, distribute the workload evenly, and check in with employees frequently to ensure your business is secured from the inside out,” says Singleton.
5. Install Security Software
Security software such as anti-viruses, anti-spyware, anti-spam filters, and firewalls all help keep your corporate data safe. However, these traditional security frameworks are outdated in our current digital world. To mitigate the risks businesses face online today, it is important to invest in an extra layer of security. Two of the most important include:
- A Business VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows your company to create a secure, encrypted connection through a virtual “tunnel”. This network is similar to a LAN (Local Area Network), which corporate offices use, but without requiring a physical wired connection.
With a cloud VPN, you and your employees can enjoy a bank-level encrypted Internet connection at all times, on any site– regardless of whether the site or network provides encryption or not. This aspect of a VPN can be invaluable to the safety and security of your company and your clients’ valuable data.
- Software Defined Perimeter
Unlike traditional VPN technology which is costly, hardware-based and both difficult to install and manage, a Software-Defined Perimeter solution simply and securely connects employees to both cloud-based and internal network resources. With our Software Defined Perimeter Solution Perimeter 81, you can move past legacy technology and transform secure network access for the modern and distributed workforce. With unique API integration and centralized cloud architecture, companies of all industries and sizes can utilize the cloud safely and securely.
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