As more and more business is conducted online, the scope of opportunity for cyber criminal activity is constantly expanding. It’s not just online businesses that need to be alert – almost all businesses deal with service partners online. Both your business and your customers are at risk, and losses for customers that are linked even indirectly to your business can cause a lot of reputational damage.
Some basic steps that can add a layer of safety
Virtually all businesses use electronic devices and rely heavily on operating systems and software packages that are regularly issued with updates. It is essential that all the software used by your business is up to date: software companies are very good at rolling out fixes to known problems, but vulnerabilities are exploited mainly because many users do not install these upgrades in good time.
Another step that many businesses miss is installing a firewall between their internet connection and their internal network. These devices – if kept up to date – are very sophisticated and can prevent all sorts of intrusions. It’s also a good idea to use an email provider that has appropriate filtering in place. Web browser plugins can also help keep users from visiting malicious sites.
It’s increasingly down to human behaviour
Software and hardware providers are producing products with a much higher degree of sophistication and so hackers are increasingly turning their attention to human behaviour, and the exploitation thereof. The day-to-day actions of your employees can be predictable, and hackers have developed many ways of interjecting themselves into that activity. This is what is commonly known as social engineering, and it’s designed to get users to open doors to criminals unknowingly.
Training your staff to identify this type of criminal activity is crucial in your defence of it. If necessary, hire a well-qualified IT consultant to conduct the training and this will ensure that your employees are fully aware of the dangers of social engineering. If you are concerned that your systems are not up to the fight, then hire an experienced freelancer to improve your cybersecurity. Using an umbrella company is a great way to find someone with the experience and knowledge of the current threats that cybercrimes pose in the workplace.
Mind your online accounts
Think twice before handing over access details to any accounts – whether it is your company Facebook page or access to company email. Never use the same password for more than one service – instead, use long and unique passwords, stored in a password locker. Be careful when storing data in cloud services: keep confidential documents such as financial data in a dedicated area or even in a separate online account.
One increasingly popular way of securing online accounts and services is multi-factor authentication. This means that the user’s identity is confirmed by two factors – typically a password, as well as a second data point such as a fingerprint, or by using a second device such as a mobile phone. If your online service supports multi-factor authentication, enable it: as with any measures to prevent cybercrime, it is more than worth the slight inconvenience.