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How To Prevent Cybercrime Hurting Your Business

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Cybercrime|How To Prevent Cybercrime Hurting Your BusinessA relatively short time ago, cybercrime wasn’t an issue. It wasn’t even a word. Yet as technology has increased and we have become ever more reliant on the internet to run our daily lives and, of course, our businesses, cybercrime, cyberattacks, and hackers, are now something we have to protect ourselves and others from on a daily basis.

If a cybercriminal were able to infiltrate your business, they could do untold damage financially and to the company’s structure itself. Whether they hack your network for monetary gain or just to cause havoc, the result would be the same; your business would be hurt; possibly mortally so. This is why it is absolutely crucial to do everything you can to prevent this from happening. Here are some ways it can be done.

Use The Cloud

The cloud is a virtual storage space for important documents and sensitive information. It is exceptionally secure, much more so than a laptop or mobile device could ever be, and this means it is the ideal place to keep your most valuable data such as your customers’ payment details, their names and addresses, and your business banking information.

If you can store everything on the cloud, your business will be as secure as possible. Only those with passwords should be able to access your cloud account. Since the data is encrypted, even if someone did manage to get in, they wouldn’t be able to retrieve the information, rendering it entirely useless.

Strong Passwords

Regarding passwords, you will need to have a different password for every log in you have. This might be an irritation because you’ll have to remember several different passwords, but it’s much better than having just one password which, if it were to be compromised, would mean that absolutely everything you log into online would be at risk too. This would include your business information and even your personal financial information.

When you are creating passwords, they must be strong so that no one can guess them or hack them. To create a strong password, you will need a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, and you should use upper and lower case. Make it a rule to change your passwords every six months or after ten logins to ensure they stay safe and secure.

Encryption

Data encryption is another way to prevent any cyberattacks from being successful. When data is encrypted, it becomes impossible to read and is useless to anyone unless they have the encryption key. Since a cybercriminal wouldn’t have this, even if your laptop or mobile device were stolen, or if you lost a USB stick with all this data on it, no one else would be able to see it.

Encryption is one of the most critical elements of online security, but it can often be overlooked. Implementing it within your business gives you and your clients an additional layer of protection that really can make all the difference.

Cyber Security Tips From The Experts: How To Protect Your Data

StrategyDriven Article |Cyber Security Tips|Cyber Security Tips From The Experts: How To Protect Your DataAs cyberattacks are occurring more frequently, cyber security has become more of a necessity than just mere information that helps you keep your computer safe.

A wide variety of things can be done to keep your system safe from hackers and other threats, regardless of how you’re using your computer every single day. You can check this website for tips or work on your own to protect your data from hackers. This is an essential task as keeping your computer virus-free is one way to avoid cyberattacks and any other malicious programs.

What Are The Dangers Of Cyberattacks?

When it comes to how to cope with the effects of cyberattacks on your business, many companies make the mistake of assuming that it will only affect them and, then, they’ll be okay. However, the reality is that the potential scope of undesired (imprecise) consequences of cyberattacks can be considerably greater than those of an ordinary cruise missile or nuclear bomb simply because of the less certainty in their desired effects. If you’re not careful, then you could easily lose your reputation and credibility in the business community.

Reputational damage can range from a simple hit-or-miss loss of goodwill to a devastating blow, such as being blacklisted by your chosen social media platforms, being banned from online employment opportunities, and being unable to secure a job in the future. All of these are possible if you fail to take action against the attack on your business, or you try and put your own efforts in place without properly planning for the negative consequences of these attacks.

For example, if you’ve taken the time and money to build a positive online reputation for your business, then the damage may well be limited to a few negative stories in the press.

The effects of the attacks on physical and/or psychological reputations, however, can be much more damaging and can impact greatly upon the ability to attract the best candidates to your company. There are many people in the business world who are seeking work, and your reputation can literally be a determining factor as to whether or not you can secure the position you need. If your online reputation is damaged by an attack of another person or organization, this can have a far more detrimental effect on your chances at landing that new job than a hit-or-miss story in the local paper.

Additionally, having a negative reputation online may result in the inability to get a job at all in the future. You need to be very careful when it comes to the effects of these attacks because you never know what they could possibly bring.

How Can You Protect Your Data Online?

In the present day and age, there are so many people around the world who are being victimized by cyberattacks. They’ve lost their jobs, credit cards, identities, and even their lives. Having said that, it’s of the essence to protect your online data to the best of your ability.

It’s important to make sure that you’re doing everything that you can do to protect your computer from cyberattacks. The Internet has been a safe haven for hackers, but the good news is that there are many effective ways you can protect your data online. These include the following:

StrategyDriven Article |Cyber Security Tips|Cyber Security Tips From The Experts: How To Protect Your Data1.Use An Anti-Virus Program

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be tech-savvy to protect your digital files and information from cyberattacks. Merely downloading and using an anti-virus program is enough to do the trick.

The software is available for both Windows and Macintosh, and it protects your computer against worms, viruses, Trojans, and malware. You can set up an anti-virus program to protect your computers, regardless if you’re using them for work or at home.

With the number of ant-virus programs available today, choosing one can be tough. So, if this is your first time using one, make sure to read this blog and other online articles so you’ll know better what to choose.

2. Avoid Downloading From The Internet

One of the most important cyber security tips from the experts is to be aware of the dangers and risks of using the Internet and downloading software from there. For instance, if you’re not sure about the security of a certain website or program, you should never click on a link or download a file from it.

However, if you’ve already downloaded the file and are curious about the security of it, then you should run a virus scan on the file. Viruses can cause much harm to a computer. Therefore, you should always be careful of what you do and what you download while online.

3. Don’t Give Away Confidential Information

The simplest cyber security tip you can follow is that you should never give away any confidential data, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, or passwords. Any information like the ones mentioned should be protected by a password or two, and these need to be a secret. This can be especially important if you’re more tech-savvy since you want to protect those who may be trying to get into your email or, worse, access your financial account.

The same is true for passwords that are shared with other people. There will be a lot of people out there who’ll try to break into those. You can also make sure that your system doesn’t contain any viruses, spyware, adware, or any other type of harmful software. This will help keep your computer free from any malicious elements.

4. Encrypt Information

Another important cyber security tip from the experts is that you should keep your information encrypted and safe from prying eyes. If you want to keep your information private and safe, then it should be in your best interest to encrypt your files, send them through the encrypted email, and keep them safely inside a hard drive.

Although this sounds almost too simple, it’s true that encryption is used to make certain that no one can read any of your data. You should make sure that your data is encrypted even if you’re not using a secure system. You should also make sure that it’s in a location that will be inaccessible to anyone, and that you have a backup plan in case anything happens to your computer.

5. Improve Your Password

It’s becoming a common problem among computer users to experience a sudden rise in data being sent or received over the Internet, and hackers are becoming more creative in their attacks on data. Many times, these hackers can also gain access to your network, so they can send their own data into your system as well. A hacker has many different ways of gaining access to a network, but the most common way to gain access is through the use of passwords or keylogging software.

You can prevent this from happening by using a password protection program. With password protection, it becomes impossible for a hacker to get any such information out of your system.

6. Install A Firewall

To avoid having your computer and the security system hacked, you can install a firewall. Firewalls are very effective when used together with anti-virus software to scan your network for malicious codes.

Protection is as easy as getting a firewall installed in your personal computer. This will allow you to set up a physical barrier between your computer and the Internet. When you don’t have an Internet connection, your firewall will block any hackers or outsiders from accessing your computer. This type of system is very effective because you’ll never have to worry about your personal data getting stolen. A firewall is typically installed on all new computers, or given to you when you buy one.

Firewalls don’t just stop data that’s coming into your computer from going out, but they also monitor your incoming and outgoing data. So, even if a hacker was able to bypass the firewall on your network, they won’t be able to get any information at all out of your system.

There are many different types of firewalls that you can choose from, but they all work in a similar fashion. When a hacker tries to access a computer, the system will detect that they’ve done so and will immediately close the window to prevent them from accessing your system any further. By doing this, your computer is now protected. The firewall is designed to prevent the use of unauthorized software, which can cause a number of problems if a hacker manages to get their way past your firewall.

7. Back Up Your Data

You should have a few different types of backup to protect your data in case something happens. For example, you can get a hard drive recovery system in case your computer fails because of a virus or any other security-related issue.

Another important thing you should have is a backup application that can be used in the event of a computer crash, as well as a reliable firewall that protects your system from outside sources. The most important thing is to have a complete set of software in place that you can use in the event of a failure.

StrategyDriven Article |Cyber Security Tips|Cyber Security Tips From The Experts: How To Protect Your Data8. Scan Your Computer Regularly

If you want to stay safe from cyberattacks, make sure to scan your computer regularly for errors and viruses, which may have occurred during the past. The software that you use to scan your system for these errors will work with the Windows registry, which will help identify the errors that have occurred in order to remove them. Once these errors have been removed from, your PC should run smoothly and without any glitches

However, it’s important to ensure that you’re running the correct version of the software so that your machine can be identified as being fully functional before attempting any further steps.

9. Avoid Visiting Unknown Sites

There are many different ways your data can be stolen from your computer, such as through phishing. A phishing scam is when someone uses your personal details in order to try and sell to another company. They may ask you for your bank account number, social security number, and other important information. If they’re successful in obtaining these pieces of information from you, then they’ll use these to either gain access to your bank account or make purchases.

In order to protect your data from cyberattacks, you should try and keep your computer running as fast as possible. You should also try to stay away from unknown websites. When visiting unknown sites, it would be very easy for malicious programs to steal your information. By avoiding the use of these types of sites, you’re giving yourself much better protection against phishing scams.

10. Work With A Professional

The best way to secure data storage system or vital information online is by hiring a computer security professional to look into the matter on your behalf. It would be much better if you would hire an experienced one to do the job for you.

While there are plenty of them who are not very efficient and are only concerned with their own profits, there are also many out there who are actually more efficient and provide better protection than the rest of the companies. Investing in trained and experienced computer system professionals is a cost-effective move for businesses, especially if you’re a novice to cyber security.

The professionals know what they’re doing, and you can be sure that they can provide the maximum protection that you could ever hope for. It’s just that most business owners aren’t aware that this kind of service is actually available today.

Knowledge Is Power

The Internet has become an integral part of people’s daily lives, and everyone uses it to communicate, research, and work. However, the fact is that the Internet is not safe enough to keep your data secure at all times. If someone hacks into a network you have, they can gain access to all your financial and personal information.

Make sure that none of these mishaps happen by using the tips in this article. As long as implemented regularly, these tips are enough for you to enjoy the World Wide Web without compromising your safety and identity!

Improve Business Security With These Core Hacks

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Business Security|Improve Business Security With These Core HacksWhen you are trying to run a modern company, it is important to do as much as you can to enhance the safety and security of the business. There are loads of things you can do that are going to help you make the most of this right now. The better you can protect your business the more important it is for you to be able to grow and develop as a brand, and there are plenty of ways of doing this.

You need to make sure you do as much as possible to think about how you can get this right, and there are loads of amazing ideas that will help enhance business security. One of the best things you can do is to focus on how your company is run in the safest and most appealing way. Here are some of the ways of improving business security and helping the company thrive and grow.

CCTV

Most modern businesses would do well to have some form of CCTV, and this is even more important if your company has premises where equipment and machinery is stored. This is something you’re going to want to protect, and you need to try to make the most of this right now. Come up with the best ideas that can play a role in helping you look after your business, and it’s pretty clear that CCTV is one of the best ways of being able to do this. Think about what it takes to work on this right now, and there are a lot of factors that play a role in helping your company improve its security.

Keycards

You have to try to make the most of doing as much as you can to take things to the next level. It is so important to integrate some sort of digital security procedures in order to make your business a bit safer and more secure. One of the best ways of being able to achieve this would be through an easy-to-use, on-site identity badge printer that can be used to create ID so that you know who is coming and going from the business, as well as being able to integrate keycards for entry and exit.

Cybersecurity

It is important to make sure you do as much as you can to look after the future and integrity of the business, and one of the best ways of doing this is to make sure you focus on cybersecurity, There are so many ideas that you need to work on that are going to allow you to focus on getting this right moving forward. Try to come up with some of the best ways of implementing cybersecurity in the business, and this is something you need to focus on right now.

Coming up with some of the best ideas to help you take your business security to the next level is really important because it is a great way of making everything easier for your business. There are a lot of factors that play a part in this, and you have to make sure you think carefully about the best ways of being able to improve your business security in the right sort of way.

How Technical Debt Opens the Door to Cyber Attacks—and Steps to Protect Your Small Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article |Cyber Attacks|How Technical Debt Opens the Door to Cyber Attacks—and Steps to Protect Your Small BusinessThe virus pandemic of 2020 is severely disrupting the economy and the large and small businesses that drive it. Poor practices such as ignoring safe distancing, insufficient sanitation, and not mandating mask-wearing open the door to infection of customers and staff and threaten the viability of a business.

Similarly, poor practices that allow a business to incur technical debt open the door to cybersecurity exploits that can bankrupt a business financially or through loss of trust and reputation in the eyes of its customers. Leaders of small and medium size businesses (SMBs) often think their size lets them operate under the radar, as less attractive targets to bad guys. But, actually, their lack of robust security strategy and resources make them easier to penetrate. And, sadly, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) reports that 60 percent of small companies are unable to sustain their business more than six months following a cyberattack.

Years of experience working and advising businesses domestically and internationally has shown that business leaders find it difficult to recognize tech debt and how it exposes cyber vulnerability. As technology has evolved over time from main frame to client server to the Internet and now the cloud, the impact of a new Tech Debt 2.0 has grown stealthier and more sinister. This is especially true for SMBs that lack the resources to apply to cybersecurity. CEOs and CFOs managing technology may not recognize tech debt building up in their SMBs—because it is not revealed in monthly variance reports or other accounting controls. Someone in their organization, without explicit or implicit authority or oversight, may be making decisions adding to the Tech Debt 2.0 load and increasing exposure to cyberattacks. Let’s look at how that might happen and how to prevent it.

Old and Obsolete Infrastructure:

Azeotrope, an aerospace firm in the Southeast, realized they were compromised when a number of clients complained of receiving invoices from Azeotrope that contained confidential information about their client’s orders and projects. Months of investigation by a cyber consulting firm finally determined the source of the vulnerability to Azotrope’s network: a combination printer/fax machine in their testing and QA area that engineers regularly used to fax lunch orders to a local Chinese restaurant. Because the device was connected to the company’s network for printing purposes, it provided network access using out-of-date insecure facsimile protocols. This gave the bad actors access to the company’s customer accounts and valuable data.

“Fax is an ancient technology; the protocols we use today haven’t been changed for the past 30 years,” notes Yaniv Balmas of Check Point Software, a leading provider of cyber threat intelligence. “Fax data is sent with no cryptographic protections; anyone who can tap a phone line can instantly intercept all data transmitted across it. Fax is always sent unauthenticated. There are absolutely no protections over fax.” Balmas advises: “If you can’t stop using fax, segregate the printers, put them on a separate network.”

The Tech-away: Identify and remove obsolete components from your network. Not just equipment with obvious vulnerabilities like fax, but all equipment no longer supported and updated by the manufacturer for cybersecurity risk.

A Stitch in Time . . .

Patches are often created after a software or hardware company has experienced a data breach or recognized a vulnerability that might allow one. The patch is issued to ensure other businesses’ data remains safe. Applying a patch as quickly as possible lessens the risk of your business becoming affected. But it is each business’s responsibility to know a patch has been issued and to apply it promptly. That is patch management—a relatively straightforward process, 10 or 20 years ago. Today, however, the vast proliferation of software and hardware components in our business environment have made patch management a complex, time- and resource- consuming necessity, critical to the cybersecurity of a business’s network. Failure to effectively manage patching is a main cause of accumulating excessive Tech Debt 2.0 and security penetration.

NETGEAR, a highly respected manufacturer of network equipment in data centers, offices, and the homes of hundreds of thousands of people working from home now, and, possibly, far into the future, recently sent an email alert to its customers. An excerpt is below. How would your CFO or CIO handle this?

Hello.

We have become aware of vulnerabilities involving certain NETGEAR products and have issued a security advisory.

We have released hotfixes addressing some of the vulnerabilities for certain impacted models and continue to work on hotfixes for the remaining vulnerabilities and models, which we will release on a rolling basis as they become available. We strongly recommend that you download the latest firmware containing the hotfixes as instructed in the security advisory. We plan to release firmware updates that fix all vulnerabilities for all affected products that are within the security support period.

Until a hotfix or firmware fix is available for your product, we strongly recommend turning off Remote Management in your product. Please follow the steps below to turn off Remote Management immediately. . .

The Tech-away: Take steps to reduce the burden and complexity of patch management. Adopt software and hardware that automatically detect and apply patches. Look for opportunities to shed responsibility for patch management through outsourcing cybersecurity responsibility or utilizing cloud services that provide monitoring and patch management services. Tech Debt accrued through failure to manage patching effectively can fatally compromise your network and business.

People, Policies and Processes

Of greater consequence than obsolescence and patch management to Tech Debt 2.0 and cybersecurity are the people, policies, and processes that make up the culture and collective mindset of a business organization. Properly patched, up-to-date infrastructure is not going to stand in the way of the accounts payable clerk or chief marketing officer who clicks on the attachment to an email from some bad actor posing as a trusted vendor or prospective customer. Equally dangerous is the computer operator who props open the data center door to make it easier to allow the guy who says he’s the A/C maintenance engineer get in and out. Or the CEO who shares her password with her husband and children so they can access her mail and messaging accounts.

Establishing a data security mindset from the bottom to the very top of an organization is a basic essential to safeguarding a business from cyberattacks. Policies and processes must instill in all the company’s people an always-on awareness of their responsibility to protect the physical and digital assets of the enterprise. That mindset needs to be reinforced frequently and backed up by actions that demonstrate commitment and consequence behind company policies and processes.

The Tech-away: Formulate and clearly communicate policies and processes governing any actions that involve cybersecurity. Visibly demonstrate across the organization the commitment to security.

Make cybersecurity awareness a visible priority for every person in the organization.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor |Michael C. FilliosMichael C. Fillios is the founder and CEO of the IT Ally Institute, a nonprofit organization providing small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) access to knowledge, research, and practical tools to improve their tech bottom line. A senior global business and technology executive with more than 25 years of experience in IT, finance, operations management, and change leadership, he lives in Mason, Ohio. His new book is Tech Debt 2.0™: How to Future Proof Your Small Business and Improve Your Tech Bottom Line. Learn more at www.itallyinstitute.org.

8 Ways to Protect Your Business From Cyberthreats

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |cyberthreats |8 Ways to Protect Your Business From CyberthreatsEvery 39 seconds, there is a new cybersecurity attack. On any given day, there are around 80,000 cybersecurity attacks worldwide, equating to about 30 million attacks per year.

If you think your business is immune to cybersecurity threats, you’re wrong. Luckily, there’s a lot that you can do to protect your business from a cybersecurity attack.

Check out this guide to discover how to protect your business from cyberthreats.

1. Use Secure Passwords

A lot of times, cybersecurity attacks happen because of poorly chosen passwords. Creating a strong password is one of the easiest things you can do to prevent a breach in your system.

For a password to be strong it should:

  • Contain letters, numbers, and special characters
  • Be 8 to 15 characters long
  • Never be written down or stored in a nearby device
  • Updated frequently
  • Never contain personal information (Ie, birthdays, family member names, etc)

Make sure all of your employees know how to create a good password, and encourage them to change their passwords every 90 days or so.

2. Install Anti-Malware and Anti-Spyware Software

Installing anti-malware and anti-spyware software is another simple thing you can do to protect your business from cyberthreats.

When researching different software options, make sure you look for one that can run a full system scan on your computers. Also, you want to choose software that automatically updates itself and quarantines and removes malware and spyware.

While you may be tempted to purchase anti-virus software that comes with anti-malware and anti-spyware capabilities, it’s important to understand that a single piece of software is incapable of scanning and removing everything.

A multi-layered approach is the best way to secure your computer system.

3. Install Anti-Virus Software

In addition to installing anti-malware and anti-spyware software, you should also install anti-virus software.
This type of software continuously scans for viruses that are trying to break into your system files, emails, and operating systems. Just like quality anti-malware/spyware software, quality anti-virus software will run periodic updates.

When choosing an ant-virus software program, make sure you look for one that has daily-anti virus updates and a good reputation. You also want to double-check that the software program is compatible with your computer.

4. Use Email and the Internet With Caution

If your business does a lot of communication with email, then you especially want to be careful about what emails you open. While hackers can exploit an email in a variety of different ways, one of the most common things they do hide viruses in attachments.

If you receive an email from an address that you don’t recognize, don’t open it. Instead, delete it from your inbox immediately and add the address to your spam list.

You also need to take extra caution when using the internet, as even the safest websites can contain malware and spyware. One common way hackers lure internet users is by creating a fake website that looks just like a real website.

When entering a website URL, make sure to double-check the name of the website and make sure you’re spelling it correctly. Also, you should avoid clicking on graphics, popups, ads, and links to other websites.

5. Secure Your Wifi Network

Securing your Wifi network is another simple thing you can do to protect your business from cyberthreats.
If you leave your Wifi networks open, you’re giving hackers an open door to infiltrate your network and access your private information. So, make sure all of your business’ Wifi networks are private.

If you have a brick and mortar business that is frequented by customers, you should also create two Wifi networks: one for your business and one for your customers. This way, you don’t have to worry about your Wifi password getting into the wrong hands.

6. Backup Important Business Data

No matter how many steps you take to protect your business from a cybersecurity threat, cybersecurity breaches can still happen. Therefore, it’s important that you prepare your business for the worst-case scenario.

You should back up all of your critical business data and information. This way, if there is a cybersecurity breach, your business flow won’t be interrupted and your bottom line won’t be affected.

7. Train Your Employees On the Best Cybersecurity Practices

Knowing all of these cybersecurity protection tactics won’t do you any good if your employees don’t know them as well. As we mentioned earlier in the article, your employees should know how to choose a strong password and how often to change it.

But, the education shouldn’t stop there. You should also educate your employees on how to protect their data, set up a firewall, and how to recognize a security breach.

The reality is that most cybersecurity breaches are the result of human error, and all it takes is one mistake from an uninformed employee to compromise your business. While you can take on the cybersecurity training yourself, we recommend bringing in experts to help you, as they’ll be the most informed on the latest strategies and threats.

8. Conduct Penetration Testing

Last but not least, your business should conduct penetration testing on your computer systems.

Penetration testing involves simulating a cybersecurity attack in order to check for vulnerabilities in your computer system. Penetration testing comes with many benefits, including:

  • Detecting and avoiding security threats
  • Protecting customer loyalty and your company image
  • Evading penalties associated with breaches
  • To conduct penetration testing, make sure you work with a reputable company.

Are You Ready to Protect Your Business Against Cyberthreats?

Now that you’ve read this guide, it’s time to put these tips into action so you can protect your business against cyberthreats. Pretty soon, your business will be more secured than ever before.

Be sure to check back in with our blog for more cybersecurity-related tips and tricks.