If you think your data can’t be stolen from hackers, guess again. The internet is home to all kinds of online predators who want to steal data for malicious purposes. Because your business can’t afford a data breach of any kind, use the following tips to safeguard your computers.
1. Download the official software
Nearly 43% of cyber-attacks are against small businesses and costs them about $200,000. Hence, finding a software deal online can sometimes be misleading. Hence, expensive software that’s deeply marked down might include spyware. Skip it and buy the legitimate versions.
2. Use a VPN when you or your staff travel
A common mistake some businesses make is they use public wifi in airports, hotels and coffee shops. That makes your computer vulnerable to “Man in the middle” attacks where a cyber thief can intercept your secure connection and steal all your data. Instead, use a secure virtual private network (VPN).
A VPN offers the highest encryption, reroutes your data and hides your identity online. Your data is scrambled and stays safe if you’re banking or making other financial transactions.
A few of the top VPNs include:
- Express VPN
- Nord VPN
- Cyber Ghost VPN
3. Don’t open any email attachments
Globally, data breaches have cost businesses about $3.86 million. Employees can unknowingly let cybercriminals into your system from opening attachments in emails that look legitimate. In phishing schemes, hackers can create fake emails or create templates that look like they are from legitimate businesses. If an employee clicks on a link, the malware can slowly infect your system and lead to redirects or WannaCry attacks.
To mitigate your risks, run virus scanners routinely, update all software and set up your internet security provider to check your emails and all attachments.
4. Use two-factor authentication
Instead of a simple password to log into accounts, a two-step password offers more security. This can include an online password and a code from an authentication app that’s sent to a mobile device or email. This makes it harder for cybercriminals to replicate their credentials online.
5. Encrypt your hard drive
Because cyber thieves might want data you have stored offline, you need to protect it. Look for encryption tools that can protect your hard drive or check with your internet security software. They might have features that can safeguard specific folders so you’re not vulnerable to ransomware attacks.
A few of the top programs that support advanced encryption standard (AES) include:
6. Use stronger passwords
If your passwords are still a series of numbers like your date of birth, ATM pin or your favorite pet’s name, these aren’t secure enough and should be changed. Passwords should include a mix of numbers, letters, and special characters. Try to make them 12 to 15 characters long. Change them every 2 to 3 months and never reuse old passwords or share them.
7. Use a password manager
If you’re concerned that you and your employees won’t remember longer unique passwords you frequently have to change, use a password manager. There are several that are free.
- Norton by Symantec
As cyber threats increase, you have to do more to safeguard your business and protect your data. Talk to your employees about these new ways to implement security changes and keep everyone on board. It’s an added layer of protection you can’t afford to be without.