Cyberspace can be a dangerous place to spend time or conduct business. The Department of Homeland Security reports that a range of traditional crimes are now being perpetrated online. Crimes like health records theft, banking and financial fraud, educational records theft and intellectual property violations are part of the growing list.
New age cyber crimes like identity theft, website hacking, social media fraud and data breaches top the list of crimes that keep IT professionals awake at night. As a business owner, the Internet is simply too important and too powerful to avoid it altogether. Your best option is to separate fact from fiction and understand how to safeguard your business systems against cyber attack.
The list of things that make it challenging to protect ourselves is just as long as the list of crimes themselves. Consider these: the ability of hackers to operate from anywhere in the world; increasing internet accessibility to physical systems; the rapid growth of devices connecting to the internet. More online transactions, cloud-based software and new technologies.
Every time we connect to the Internet on mobile devices, from home, work or in public places, we increase our risk of exposure. The ultimate challenge is to stay a step ahead of the bad guys. It means keeping current with methods to safeguard your business and sensitive information.
Common myths about cyber attacks
The topic of cyber security for business is enormous, covering specific concerns like hacking, malware, spyware, viruses, email and attachments, spam, merchant data, public wifi networks, firewalls, data security, log-in and password management, mobile devices and so much more.
For business owners and entrepreneurs, the most harmful of all these concerns are the common myths surrounding cyber security.
Myth: Anti-virus software and firewalls are all you need.
Reality: Both anti-virus software and firewalls are good tools to protect your computer system. But they must be combined with good practices like regular password updates and login administration to truly keep your system safe.
Myth: Hackers only target large companies.
Reality: Hackers look for easy targets. Although the larger databases are a bigger reward, any system that can be compromised will be hacked. Any individual is as vulnerable as a major corporation.
Myth: Most attacks are from outside hackers.
Reality: While hackers get the most media attention, they are not the only source of security risk. Internet based hacking constitutes about a quarter of all breaches, but insider leak by a trusted person with access privileges comes in a close second. Many small companies fall victim to this type of breach because they are not prepared or have no preventative practices in place.
Having worked with clients across a variety of industries, we’ve taken on the challenges of building high-functioning websites that utilize every security feature available. Combining technology with best practices gives you the best chance of keeping your business and data secure.
What best practices do you use to safeguard your business? Please share your ideas and opinions in the comments.