With the recent ransomware hacking incident that impacted organizations around the world, many small companies are looking into ways to keep their data secure. While data breaches might be embarrassing from a PR perspective, losing data due to ransomware can be disastrous for a business. Ransomware attacks work by locking you out of your own files – imagine if that proposal for a new client that you’ve been working on for months was suddenly unavailable. You can have the file back, but you have to pay the ransom.
If you don’t pay, your files are often deleted or encrypted, so you cannot access them. It’s a nightmare that has become all too real for many businesses. So, in an increasingly connected world, how do we protect against these kinds of attacks?
1. Encrypt your devices
Most people have password protection on their mobile devices, but this is insufficient for protecting your files if your device is lost or stolen. Encrypting the disk means that if your device is taken, your files will be secure, even if someone is able to circumnavigate the password protection. It’s a small step that could protect your business from data breaches in the event you no longer have access to your devices.
2. Check your networks
We’re all guilty of jumping on the nearest open wifi network in an hour of need. Or, you might arrive in a coffee shop and assume that the nearest open wifi network belongs to the cafe. This could potentially open you up to an attack, particularly if you use the network to send any sensitive information. As a general rule, you should avoid connecting to any network if you don’t know who owns it.
3. Two Step Verification
If you are concerned about someone stealing your password and accessing your information remotely, two-step verification can help manage this risk. You may have been asked to install two-step verification on your email account or social networks. This basically allows you to add another device, such as a mobile phone, as another way to prove your identity. This means that having your password won’t be sufficient, a hacker would also need your mobile phone.
4. Avoid accessing sensitive data
When you’re in an office, using a secure internal network, there is a low risk of your data being intercepted. However, when you are using a mobile device such as a tablet, and accessing the wifi on a train, for example, the risk is much higher. Not to mention, you also have to worry about people looking over your shoulder and catching sight of information they shouldn’t have access to. One of the simplest ways to avoid a data breach is to avoid accessing sensitive information from a mobile device.
5. Switch to the cloud
If your laptop is stolen and it contains all of your important documents and files, there’s little chance of seeing it again. However, if you have everything stored in a cloud account, you won’t need to worry about losing your data, just the physical device. Insurance companies might insure the device, but they are unlikely to pay out for the loss of work product. Using a cloud account is the best possible way to protect your data from hacks, data breaches, and theft.