Cybercrime is more common than you believe. Read on to discover the best cybercrime prevention tips to keep your business safe here.
How much do you know about cybercrime?
If you’re a business owner, cybercrime prevention should be a high-priority item on your to-do list, whether you know it or not. Cybercrime is remarkably common, more so than most people are willing to admit.
If you think that you’re too small-scale to be hit, you might be exactly the kind of target that a good cybercriminal is looking for. Someone who won’t notice what’s happening until it’s too late.
If you want to keep your business safe from cybercrime, you need to be in the know. You can’t leave it up to other people to protect you or do the right thing. Awareness is the first step to protection.
Keep reading for 10 top tips to help protect your business against cybercrime.
#1. Use and Encourage Secure Passwords
Do you have an easy to guess password?
Is it your birthday? Your last name and birth year? A pet’s name? Anything else that anyone could find with a cursory glance around your social media profiles?
Is it something that you may have answered a question about in one of those fun social media surveys online, like your mother’s maiden name, or the city you grew up in? If you said no to all of these, there are plenty of others who said yes and are currently looking nervously at their password portal.
We are not nearly as secure as we think that we are.
There are a few tips that you can keep in mind for building secure passwords.
If you can, you want to keep passwords different for every account. This might be too much for you, but if you’re able, it’s a great way to be proactive over your security.
It’s also a good idea to use random combinations of letters and numbers. If the program allows for it, symbols make it even more difficult for criminals to figure out passwords.
If you work with others, you can’t do this alone. Everyone needs to be working together or the entire network can be exposed, so encourage this password protection amongst your entire team.
You want your password to be hard to guess but easy to remember. Storing passwords can be harmful as well, depending on where you store them.
#2. Have a Disaster Recovery Plan
Part of prevention is also in planning. You can do all of the work possible to prevent bad things from happening, but sometimes they still happen.
This is where a disaster recovery plan comes into play.
A disaster recovery plan is essentially your plan for getting your business back into working order after a network disaster. This disaster can be organic (like a natural disaster) or something along the lines of cybercrime. It can also just be a massive network outage that sets you back.
Disaster recovery is something that everyone needs, not just people who are worried about cybercrime specifically.
In an ideal world, you will never need to use your disaster recovery plan. Having it, though, is far better than not having it if you are in a situation where you need it.
#3. Install Security Software
This might seem obvious, but plenty of people have unprotected (or poorly protected) computers. Computers that contain private information that could be considered sensitive should always be secured.
While there are many free security systems, if you’re protecting your business, you want to invest in security. This is going to be money well-spent.
Security software can protect you from malware, phishers, and all kinds of hacking attempts. It’s not foolproof, but it’s a good first line of defense. Think of it as a shield.
#4. Keep Personal and Professional Separate
If you’re the kind of person that works from home (which is increasingly common now) or you have a staff that’s working from home, you need to ensure that personal and professional accounts and devices are being kept separate.
It’s far too easy to use personal devices for professional use. While this certainly can be fine in a pinch, it’s far more secure to keep your work content all in one secure location. Personal accounts and devices are likely far less secure. You also don’t have as much control over them when they’re being used by your staff.
#5. Delete Old or Redundant Accounts
It’s easy to let things pile up over time. As people move around the company, either being promoted or moving on to different careers, there may be some accounts that are no longer in use.
These empty accounts can actually end up being security hazards. They just provide extra access points for potential criminals to get into your data.
This also includes accounts that your company has with other programs. Do you no longer use the company Facebook, but continue to have it up? Is it possible that someone could get in and find information?
What about old company email accounts?
Think about all of the places that you store information and ensure that you do proper cleanup work after you leave.
#6. Always Back Up Your Data
Proper data backups are another way to protect yourself from disaster. Many people don’t realize that they have to do this until it’s too late.
Backing up your data means that if there’s ever a cybercrime attack on you that results in a complete blackout or total data loss, you’ll be able to regain everything from the last backup and get back into working order more quickly.
It’s not a perfect solution, and ideally you won’t need it at all. As with the disaster recovery plan, though, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
#7. It’s Not Only the Desktops
Even in a traditional office there are plenty of things that can be left unsecured that you may not normally think about.
Securing your wifi is crucial when it comes to preventing cybercrime. This doesn’t just mean having a simple password on your wifi network.
You need to ensure that all aspects of your network are safe.
If you have other devices on the network, those should also be secured, especially if they’re using sensitive data.
Any company phones, tablets, or laptops need security. Computers are often the only things that businesses make efforts to secure.
#8. Always Keep Learning and Training
Technology is always advancing. This means that cybercrime is going to continue advancing as well.
While you may be up to date with current trends in cybercrime and how to prevent it (or respond to it), it’s important to keep up with best practices every year.
As new tech is developed, old tech will become outdated and easier to infiltrate. New tech will also require new learning.
Frequent reeducation is essential for keeping your business safe and secure.
#9. Strictly Limit Company Hardware
Whether you’re working in the office or working from home, materials that belong to the company should be limited and regulated.
This means that work computers should be discouraged for use on social media (if not blocked altogether). Social media is an easy way for criminals to access your information.
They should be protected against potentially “harmful” sites that can be blocked by security software. They should only be used for work-related tasks.
This is one of the best ways to avoid potential threats and catch them when they happen. You’ll be able to find the source more easily if the content is limited.
#10. Encourage Cybercrime Awareness Among Staff
You can’t really do this alone. Preventing cybercrime is going to be a group effort and your whole team needs to be educated on best practices.
While you may need the most education (alongside your IT staff, if you have a team devoted to that) everyone needs to do their part to contribute to the overall safety of the team.
Doing yearly workshops on cybercrime and online safety is a great way to encourage this awareness in a way that can feel communal. You’ll be learning things alongside your staff.
You could also do regular lessons and quizzes to keep employees up to date on what they need to know. Whatever it takes to ensure that everyone is working together to stay protected is great.
Cybercrime Prevention Is a Team Effort
There’s a lot that goes into cybercrime prevention, and it changes frequently. Best practices might change over time, but these basic tips are a great way to get started with protecting your business from potential threats or attacks.
Just one bad cybercrime event is enough to totally disrupt a business. If you want to keep your business secure, you need to be taking preventative measures.
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