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Whether you own a small company, a multinational corporation or a side business, online security is one of the most pressing issues of our time. With just a few strokes of a keyboard, a cybercriminal can gain access to your most important and sensitive data. They can steal your payment records, client files, and payroll information.
Can you imagine having to contact all of your loyal clients to inform them that their credit card details and personal info has been stolen from your system? This would damage your reputation and harm your business, potentially beyond repair.
Instead, act defensively and get in front of the problem. Follow these six online security tips to protect yourself and your business from attack.
Invest in reliable antivirus software
Millions of malware attacks are launched at businesses and individuals each and every day, and your business is vulnerable to attack. The best way to protect your entire system is to invest in a serious and reliable antivirus product.
Look for a user-friendly product with good customer support. It should protect you against potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), worms, ransomware, Trojans, and all other kinds of malicious software.
Back up your most important information
There is no back-up better than a good back-up! If ransomware or a virus does manage to overtake your virus protection, you should have a comprehensive back-up available from which to restore all your data.
Many businesses choose to use the 3-2-1 backup strategy. This involves keeping 3 copies of everything, storing 2 of the copies on external hard drives, and storing 1 of the copies offsite, on a cloud-based service.
Invest in employee education
One of the smartest things you can do for your business is to invest in cyber-security education for your employees. While you might seem confident about your ability to spot a security threat, your employees might not be.
All it takes is one confused or unsure employee to click on a phishing email for your entire business to face a catastrophic threat. Invest in their education now, and you could save your business a lot of money and stress in the future.
Put two factor authentication into place
By now, you should be using two-factor authentication (known as 2FA) for your own personal data protection, and if not, you need to start! This gives you an extra layer of security for your own email and online shopping, and you should also be utilizing 2FA in the office.
By enabling 2FA you will need to enter a username and password, followed by another piece of information that verifies your identity. This is often a text or email that contains a token, and once you click the token, you are then logged into the system. While this isn’t a foolproof solution, it offers a useful extra layer of security that can thwart would-be hackers.
Implement a password manager policy in the office
If you are anything like the average internet user, you likely have more than 200 online accounts on different platforms and websites. Keeping track of these is difficult, and so many people end up using the same insecure passwords for multiple accounts. Hackers know this, and they use varying tactics to get into your accounts.
In a business context, this is even more concerning – are your employees using the same passwords for all the systems and platforms they access at work? Thankfully, password managers create highly secure passwords and store them for you. These are convenient, highly secure, and fully encrypted.
Encrypt all external hard drives and flash drives
Ideally, your employees will never take flash drives or hard drives out of the office in the first place, but it can happen. You should establish a firm policy of encrypting all flash drives and external hard drives. That way, even if one does get lost or stolen, your vital information is still protected and safe.
You can purchase hard drives that have a physical fingerprint scanner or physical pin pad. These are more costly than other, simpler hard drives, so if budgetary concerns are an issue, you can also use software such as BitLocker or VeraCrypt.
Online security is more crucial than ever
Of course, you can take all these precautions and still face unexpected cyber attacks. Your final line of defense should always be online security insurance, designed to reimburse you in the event of a malicious attack.