How to Avoid Cybercrime and Keep Your Data Safe and Protected
Since the internet’s gradual takeover, businesses have all moved online. Gone are the days of writing balance sheets manually and storing customer information in endless filing cabinets. Nowadays, almost all of these tasks are done with computers and online services. This saves time, effort, and money.
It may seem safer to store things online or on a PC than it does on paper in an office and, generally, it is. However, it is not without risk. As soon as data started being stored online, hackers and cybercriminals started working on breaching and hacking said data with real spy apps. If you run a business with any IT infrastructure or online presence, you are at risk of these sorts of attacks. Here are some top tips on how to avoid cybercrime and keep your data safe and protected.
In 2019, it was estimated by a security firm that the US had suffered over $9 billion worth of cybercrime attacks. This means that much money was spent on recovering data, paying off hackers, or simply lost revenue. This number is staggering, showing just how much risk there is involved with cybercriminals.
Unfortunately, cybercriminals do not discriminate. Even small businesses could be at risk of threats involving data theft, ransomware, or other similar attacks. Data is worth a lot of money these days, so protecting it and avoiding these kinds of situations should be a high priority for you and your business.
Employ a Risk Monitoring and Protection Service
One of the best things you can do to protect your company is to employ a service or company to run web risk monitoring and data protection on your behalf. Furthermore, to experience a data breach is a highly unpleasant and dangerous situation, but risk monitoring and protection services can minimize or eliminate the risk of these attacks occurring. Web risk monitoring is particularly handy, as multiple tasks are carried out regularly by automated systems, checking for malware, illegal transactions, inventory monitoring, card protection monitoring, and more. If any suspicious or illegal activity is spotted, your business will receive a report with great detail explaining what was found and how to proceed.
The use of VPNs is often recommended for personal computers to help people protect their own data, but, there’s no reason that a company should not employ similar tactics. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) creates a new, secure network on top of your company computer’s less secure connection to the internet. In doing so, it makes you invisible to hackers, as none of your personal information is transferred in the original connection. This means passwords, emails, customer data, and just about everything else are hidden from the view of hackers.
VPNs come with a variety of different feature options and at a variety of prices. Make sure you check what each provider offers and see if they suit your business needs. Many companies will even offer you a free trial to see if their service is suited to your business.
Keep Software Updated
Often, business owners neglect to keep their software up to date and think little of it. In fact, the software is updated regularly for a reason. As breaches, bugs, hacks, and flaws are discovered within the software, companies fix, upgrade and replace old versions. This means that with each update comes extra layers of security. Even programs that you may view as simple or unnecessary to upgrade such as word processing software are updated for this very reason. So, keep everything updated and reduce the risk of hacks.
Backup Data to Encrypted Servers
Every business must back up all their data and not just in-house. Using cloud computing is ideal, as all data is encrypted and backed up. This is much easier than employing in-house IT services, as cloud providers do all the hard work for you. The encryption itself is key for many reasons.
Firstly, your data has extra layers of security making it much harder to hack. Secondly, in some cases, it’s a legal requirement to encrypt and protect any personal data you hold about staff or customers. So, look for encrypted cloud-based computing services to help you protect and backup your data.
Limit Company Computers
While you probably trust your staff completely, people do make mistakes or silly decisions at times. That is why many business owners choose to limit company computers. Limiting computers means blocking certain websites, controlling which apps can be installed on a computer, and even blocking downloads altogether. This stops employees from downloading anything that could contain viruses or other harmful content.
Regularly Scan for Viruses
Speaking of viruses, there’s a lot of them out there. Some manipulate data, others simply copy and steal data, and some are even more severe than that. Viruses are the root of many cybercrime attacks so noticing one early is important. You need to choose a top virus scanning software for your business, one which can regularly and automatically scan for viruses and malware on your behalf, making it impossible for any hackers’ viruses to set up shop in your company PCs.
Train and Educate Staff
Finally, it is crucial to share and educate your staff on all of the above matters. If staff are unaware of the risks of cybercrime, they won’t be able to actively assist in preventing it. All staff should be made aware of what the entire company does to protect data and prevent breaches, as well as what their responsibilities are.
Even simple education on the matter can help staff make smarter decisions online and with their data on company computers. For those who use, transact, or share customer information and card data, the training should be more rigorous, with detailed explanations on how cybercriminals may attack their work and how they can help avoid these situations.
While many cybercriminals are out there, you can drastically reduce your chances of becoming a victim of cybercrime by following the steps above. From education to employment of web risk monitoring services, every piece together will help protect your data and your business as a whole. Once these systems are in place you can work a little easier, safe in the knowledge that you are doing everything you can to keep data protected.