Theft is sometimes triggered by poor prevention methods or worse, negligence. It’s no wonder why unintentionally exposed data makes an organization vulnerable to cyberattacks. Most cybercrimes are the result of criminals exploiting a system’s vulnerabilities, including human error, and the number of victims continues to rise. The global economy is reported to have lost an estimated $450 billion to cybercrimes in 2016. “Two billion personal records were stolen and in the US alone, over 100 million Americans had their medical records stolen,” Hiscox Insurance chief executive Steve Langan told CNBC in a February 2017 report. Cybersecurity Ventures, a cybercrime watch magazine, estimate that by 2021, a whopping $6 trillion in losses can be expected annually if this pattern continues. To keep you from becoming a statistic, follow these tips on preventing cybercriminals from targeting your business.
#1. Get a managed services provider (MSP)You might frown upon the idea of using an external partner to help manage your business; it’s seemingly an added burden to your company’s budget. However, many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are now realizing the need to partner with a managed services provider (MSP) for its multitude benefits that are worth every penny, provided they get the right team of experts. In choosing an MSP, keep in mind that setting your standards go far beyond timeliness in response time. You must also note if the standards or practices that your provider adheres to are applicable to your state or country. A good MSP will think ahead and prepare your cybersecurity fortresses for and with you by helping you determine which among your internal work processes should be prioritized, and which can be discarded due to redundancy. They should probe into the workings of your systems to give you more sound and pragmatic recommendations.
#2. Train and encourage your staff to cooperateNo amount of cyberprotection is enough if members of your team are unaware or indifferent to their responsibilities in safeguarding your data. In fact, in a study cited also on CNBC, 47 percent of business leaders shared that the loss or theft of an employee’s mobile device or a document is the leading cause of data breach in their organization. Simple lapses such as erroneously sent emails have caused data exposure; these could have been prevented if employees took time to ensure their email was encrypted. The report added that under such circumstances, it’s the smaller businesses that would feel the greatest impact of such mistakes, which could wipe out the business altogether. Training your staff on how to identify phishing scams, for example, and how to follow a standard workaround upon recognizing an attack could mean huge savings for your business.
#3. Never underestimate two-step verificationTwo-step verification is one of the easiest ways to reinforce cybersecurity on electronic devices or anywhere digital information is kept. This method identifies external or internal threats if a user tries to access protected data. It also helps users in the event of device loss or theft by having one end of the verification step remain with the authorized user.
#4. Use antivirus programs and other security appsAntivirus programs are still one of the most overlooked, but systematic efficient ways in preventing cyberattacks. Those pesky cyberattacks come in the form of trojans, malware, or spyware that snoop into or corrupt your files, and they can be mitigated with these basic and straightforward prevention tools.
#5. Keep your systems updatedHackers tend to target SMBs more than large businesses because the latter are perceived to have IT infrastructures that are tougher to infiltrate. SMBs tend to deprioritize or overlook their IT needs when budgeting; some do not even have an IT team to begin with. As such, most SMBs have outdated systems, which make them vulnerable to attacks since malware and other culprits are also designed to sniff out less-sophisticated prevention tools. Encouraging a culture of personal liability in safeguarding your information is everyone’s responsibility. This is especially true if your business practices remote work or bring your own device (BYOD). But if you really want to improve your cybersecurity, consulting an expert IT team is your safest bet. If you’re an SMB looking to improve your IT infrastructure or would like to design or build one, contact Sabio Information Technologies to help you get started.
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