Cybersecurity 101: 6 ways to protect your business online

As if Covid-19 wasn’t enough of a challenge over the past 18 months, there has also been a steep rise in cybersecurity attacks. Previously, cyberattacks were seen as a...

As if Covid-19 wasn’t enough of a challenge over the past 18 months, there has also been a steep rise in cybersecurity attacks.

Previously, cyberattacks were seen as a big corporation problem, and other businesses didn’t bother much about it. However, things have changed, and regardless of the size of your business, you’re at risk. One attack is enough to cripple your business as consequences are often devastating.

You may think the only thing you lose besides business and client information is money. But that’s just a part of it. The more significant loss is the negative effect it’d have on your business reputation, making rising from the situation nearly impossible. 

Although there isn’t a perfect solution for guarding your business against cyberattacks, there’s a lot you can do to limit these threats and their impact. Have a look at these six insightful ways to protect your business online.

1. Develop and implement Cybersecurity policies

You can take all the necessary measures to protect your business from cyberattacks, but without a way to enforce them, your efforts might end at zero. Developing and formalising cybersecurity policies would make it easy for those who interact with your business to know how they can help to protect it.

This particularly applies to your employees. Your security policies need to define the use of business software and unsanctioned applications, document management, password management, software updates, and access control. It would be best also to describe how to vet and engage third-party service providers, such as cloud storage, business IT support, and document management services.

2. Invest in IT Support Services

Having competent information technology (IT) support and cybersecurity services is an excellent place to start when protecting your business online. While having an in-house IT team is okay, it’s better to outsource and engage specialised service providers whose primary focus is your online IT support and online security. 

They’re unbiased and looking to create a good relationship with your business and, therefore, better placed to offer excellent services. With them, you can rest assured your business is taking the correct and up-to-date measures for protection against cyberattacks. In addition, you’d know whom to contact for assistance in the case of any security issue or attack. 

The key to damage control in the event of an attack is preparedness. It determines the impact it would have on your business and how quickly you’d bounce back to regular running. To have the proper IT support services, you need to invest by first setting an appropriate budget for that purpose. 

3. Keep your software up to date

Software or operating system update prompts can show up at quite inconvenient times when you or your team are busy with work and want no interruptions. Many even consider them a nuisance and postpone or ignore them altogether. But they’re essential in improving your defence against attacks.

Software developers are continuously looking for vulnerabilities within their software. Once they find them, they develop patches and send them out as updates. When your business fails to install these updates, it becomes vulnerable to cyberattacks. To address this, create a schedule for software update checks and installation to avoid instances of operating on outdated software.

4. Train employees on Cybersecurity

Your cybersecurity strength is as good as your weakest point. This melts down to how well your staff knows the workings of your business’s security systems and practices. Ensure to train them on cybersecurity issues, threats, vulnerabilities, and best practices. Let them know how certain actions can compromise the business’ security and how to keep such incidents away.

Since your employees are in the best place to identify and report security breaches, you need to train them to recognise the signs of looming attacks. Threats like phishing attacks are triggered by people unknowingly clicking on suspicious links. Being aware of these issues would keep employees alert.

5. Change your passwords

Unfortunately, most people have poor password habits, such as using the same password for multiple accounts or utilising easy-to-guess passwords. This puts your online presence at great risk should a cybercriminal manage to hack your password. The damage can even be more significant if they access more accounts using the same credentials.  

To be safe, make a habit of changing your passwords regularly and create a unique and complex combination of numbers, letters, and symbols. This makes it less obvious and more difficult for cybercriminals to crack. You can utilise a password manager as part of your security policies to help you create and store complex passwords.

You should also implement Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) for any services that offer it. This offers protection against phishing attacks that aim to steal your username and password. Using MFA, an attacker would not only need something you know (your credentials) but something you have (your phone that receives the SMS or prompt from an authentication app).

6. Use HTTPS And Not HTTP 

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). You might have noticed the small lock symbol next to a website’s URL in a browser. You’d be surprised by the amount of risk you’d be putting your security in by not having it. That lock signifies your website has a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate and your data are safeguarded.

An SSL certificate provides security by encrypting the transfer of sensitive information between your website and the server. This would give your customers peace of mind that your website’s data are encrypted and masked from attacks by hackers. To find out whether your business security is at risk, watch the video below.

Takeaway

Because of daily reports on cyberattacks in businesses, it’s no longer an issue of whether an attack would happen but rather a question of when it’d occur. So instead of waiting for it to happen before taking action, be more proactive and protect your business online.

This improves the chances of getting back on your feet quicker when an attack occurs. Without proper measures in place, a cyberattack can ruin your business reputation, resulting in the loss of customers and your business in a split second.

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BusinessSecurity

Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021
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