How to Prevent Cyber-Attacks on Your Business

Running a successful business is a continuous challenge. Changes in technology, marketing, and e-commerce can be a hurdle for some business owners. One area that they should not neglect, though, is cyber security. A data breach is a very costly event, and it can sink a company. For this reason, owners need to know how to prevent cyber-attacks. In this blog, we will talk about cyber security and the steps you should take to protect against data breaches happening to your business.

The High Cost of a Data Breach

A data breach might not seem very likely to you, but cybercrime occurs all of the time – to individuals, organizations, and companies. The global annual cost of cybercrime in 2021 is $6 trillion, with the average cost of a data breach being $3.86 million. This is a cost no company can really afford, no matter how large or successful.

In the vast majority of cases, the motive for cyber-attacks is financial and caused by external actors, not employees. In 55 percent of cases, organized crime is the culprit. Obviously, some criminals have made this type of crime their paycheck and are adept at it, but there are ways to be proactive in preventing cybercrime.

What Is a Cyber Attack?

A cyber-attack is a deliberate violation of a system or network by someone who intends to exploit it for their own benefit. Just as there are hundreds of types of scams and thefts, there are many different types of cyber-attacks, including:

  • Phishing, spamming, spyware, malware, trojans, and viruses
  • Identity theft
  • Breach of access
  • Denial-of-service (DoS) and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks
  • System infiltration
  • Intellectual property theft
  • Stolen hardware

The goal of a cyber-attack is to steal data or compromise hardware, causing harm to a person or a business. In a world that runs largely because of the free flow of information, data theft can be the most catastrophic type of theft there is. For this reason, cyber-attack prevention is a must for every company.

Protecting Your Business from Cyber Attacks

What are some practical steps you can take to prevent cyber-attacks? The first step would be to make sure that your computer network and systems are only accessible to those with approved access. At the most basic level, this means that only your employees have physical access to company computers. If anyone can walk up to a computer and access your data with a few keystrokes and a USB stick, your network is not secure. Solutions may be to redesign your interior to control access to computers or servers and/or increase the physical security of your building.

You should also maintain control of your network by installing a firewall and securing remote access. Nearly everyone out there is walking around with a device in their pocket or purse that is designed to easily communicate with the networks that surround them. Your network security should be designed to give the public or your guests only the access you decide is necessary and useful – and prevent them from having anything more.

If your company does not have a dedicated IT person on staff, you should hire an experienced consultant who will make sure that your system doesn’t have a welcome mat laid out for anyone who wants to stroll in and help themselves to your data. Your IT person should be on top of keeping your software and systems up to date so they cannot be manipulated by hackers looking for an exploitable weakness.

Regularly backing up your data is another important step to take. One terrible outcome of cybercrime is serious downtime. If your business cannot operate smoothly without its data, you should have backups, in case of any unforeseen event, not only a data breach.

Training your staff is also critical. They need to know how to create secure and unique passwords and update them on a regular basis. Too many people use the same basic password for everything and never change them. This leaves them vulnerable to external threats. Each employee should have their own personal account, login information, and controlled access to the network based on need.

Many attacks are designed to emotionally manipulate people so they will react quickly out of fear and allow strangers access to their data. It’s very easy to fall for these kinds of schemes, so you need to train your staff to recognize them. This includes checking links before clicking them, being aware of who they are communicating with via email, and not sharing passwords or any kind of sensitive information either in person or online. If you have a trusting group of employees, you may need to repeat this training periodically.

Cyber-attacks are an unfortunate part of modern life. We do depend on technology to make our lives easier and more convenient, but when we are not careful with our data and security, catastrophes can happen. If you are concerned with how vulnerable your company is to a cyber-attack and would like advice on how to improve your security, contact us. We would be happy to discuss your situation with you and recommend some workable solutions.

Vincent Mastrovito

Vincent Mastrovito

[email protected]
(616) 622-3070
250 Monroe Ave. NW, Suite 400 
Grand Rapids, MI, 49503

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