How to Protect Your Business from Cyber Threats

When one thinks about crime, one usually refers to murders, robberies, aggravated assault and other violent crimes. When that is the case, two shock sites quickly come to mind, Hoodsite and USACRIME. From shootings, to street fights, to gore videos, these two websites focus solely on crime news.

But in an era where technology is predominant, violent crimes aren’t the only bully on the block anymore. Cyber threats are at an all time high. Computer systems, business information and data are all under continuous attack by cyber criminals.

These days, hackers don’t just want to steal your business’s money or crash your website; they want the keys to the business kingdom. New forms of malware are being introduced every day that can give hackers access not only to business finances but customer records as well. Protecting a business from cyber threats is no longer an option; it’s a necessity if you hope to stay in business long term. Here are some pointers on how to handle business security:

Keep Software Up to Date

Most companies have a system in place for keeping their computer systems up-to-date with the latest patches and bug fixes released by operating system developers and application makers. Unfortunately, business owners often forget that antivirus and virtual private network programs also need regular updates to keep on top of the latest cyber criminals.

Prevention Is Better Than a Cure

The best business security has layers. A company with a good business security policy will have a firewall at the entry point to their network as well as server-side software firewalls to prevent malware from getting anywhere near customer information or business finances. Most business owners think that once they’ve joined up to an internet service provider’s service they’re safe from cyber criminals, but that isn’t true. Hackers regularly breach some of the most secure servers around using structured query language injection attacks. A company needs business firewalls working round the clock, every day of the year to keep out these threats.

Train Employees to Be Cyber Security Conscious

One of the biggest business cyber threats isn’t actually software or hardware failure; it’s human error. As much as business owners try to keep their business data secure, they can’t guarantee that all business staff won’t click the wrong link in an email or download malware because it looks like fun (it’s amazing how many business computers end up infected with Solitaire viruses). A business training program is essential to ensure that all business staff know what information needs protecting and how best to protect this information at home and work.

Conduct Regular Business Audits

Any half decent business has a system of checks and balances in place so they can stay aware of what’s going on with their business, financially and operationally. The same goes for cyber security: businesses should conduct regular audits to ensure that outside threats haven’t breached internal defenses and infiltrated any part of business information technology (IT) infrastructure.

Test Business Security

Is business protection up to scratch? The only way business owners can know for sure is by testing business cyber security systems. A business penetration test will mimic a cyber attack and identify areas of vulnerability so business owners can shore up defenses in these areas. This type of business security evaluation needs to be conducted regularly whenever a new piece of business software or hardware is introduced, for example.

Protect Customer Data with Encryption

Customers are loyal to businesses they trust not to give out their personal information freely. Businesses need to prove they’re trustworthy by encrypting all sensitive customer data (credit card details, etc) on business servers and workstations, identifying possible targets of cyber through testing, and taking other appropriate business security precautions.

In business, it is crucial to be “Data-Driven” in order to make business decisions based on what your business data shows. In today’s business world where cyber threats are a reality, protecting business data from outside threats requires IT professionals who have a solid foundation in business and IT security concepts & strategies combined with current technology skills. This business information can include business financial data, business operations data and business customer data.