Protecting Your Business from Cyber-Criminals

Even small businesses can be vulnerable to cyber-attacks, which can compromise not only your company’s integrity, but possibly result in leaks of sensitive information, proprietary secrets, financial data, and client information. Ensuring your computer systems and online activities are protected will be an asset for you and your customers. B.S. Consulting offers a range of resources that can help keep your business operating in a safe and secure manner.

What is Cyber-Crime?

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), cybercrime includes activities like email scams, identity theft, and the installation of ransomware that holds data captive in exchange for monetary payment. Malware and viruses can also compromise or shut down your network. Some types of cyber-crime are highly sophisticated, which makes them even tougher to identify and eradicate. Your best defense, in this case, is a good offense. Making sure your systems are secure and that you’re alerted to suspicious activity will keep you, your business, and your customers protected.

What’s the Damage of Cyber-Crime?

On the low end of the spectrum, small attacks can result in slow-operating systems, glitches, corrupted files, and reduced productivity. On the higher end of the scope, cyber-crime can be financially devastating for you or your clients. You also run the risk of having your reputation ruined if you have a data breach. Consumers need to know the companies they do business with are protecting their personal and financial information, so guarding against cyber threats is a critical function of business operations. 

How Criminals Target Businesses

The majority of cyber-crime is financially motivated, so hackers and bad actors look for opportunities to steal money. This might be in the form of lifting identities and getting new credit or access to finances under those names. Skimming credit card data is another approach, while phishing scams that trick people into sending money under the guise of legitimacy are another. Criminals may also target wealthy individuals, as well as businesses that have wealthy clients or are likely to have financial information for clients in their databases. Criminals look for unprotected systems that are easy to access.

Why You Must Train Employees

Having anti-cyber-crime protocols in place can help reduce your company’s vulnerability. According to PC Mag, instruct employees about proper online activity and information protection. Also, be detailed in explaining what type of information is shareable and what is not, and institute strict password guidelines to help reduce the potential for botnets that spread malware. Staffers should also be instructed to immediately report any activity that appears unusual or suspicious. If you have an IT staffer or consultant, regularly-scheduled diagnostic system reviews can also help identify areas of concern.

Be Proactive in Protecting Networks

Preparation is key to reducing the potential for security breaches. In addition to training employees, back up your systems regularly and update software as necessary. If you aren’t a cybersecurity expert, enlists the services of someone who is. This is a rapidly evolving field, and professionals who work in it every day are up to speed on relevant best practices. Consider hiring a freelance cybersecurity professional from a reputable job board. Weigh reviews, delivery time, and cost before retaining someone’s services.

The world of cyber-crime is continually advancing, evolving, and becoming more and more sophisticated. To protect yourself, your business, and your clients, ensuring the security of your networks is an issue of paramount importance. If you are hacked or otherwise infiltrated, fast action is a necessity. Contact B.S. Consulting to learn more about the best ways to prevent and appropriately respond to cybercrime activity in your business. Call (512) 434-0611 or reach out via email.

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Avoid these 5 bad business security practices

Many small- and mid-sized businesses struggle to protect their data, often neglecting a critical component in their security strategy. If your organization still follows one or more of these bad security practices, correct them as soon as possible.

Open wireless networks

With just one main internet line and a couple of wireless routers, an entire office can get online. A wireless internet connection saves money, but there’s a risk that it might be unsecure.

It’s not enough to plug in a wireless router and create a basic network to secure your wireless network. If you have an open network, anyone within range can connect. With simple tools and technical know-how, cybercriminals can capture incoming and outgoing data, and even attack the network and any device connected to it.

Ensure that all wireless networks in the office are secured with strong passwords. Many internet service providers that install hardware when setting up networks will often just use an easy-to-guess password for the router. Change this password immediately to minimize the risk of unauthorized users gaining access to your network.

Unsecure email

Most companies that have implemented a new email system in the past couple of years are most likely secure. This is especially true if they use cloud-based platforms or well-known email systems like Exchange, which offer enhanced security and scanning.

The businesses that are at risk are those using older systems like Post Office Protocol, or systems that don’t encrypt passwords (also known as “clear passwords”). If your system doesn’t support encryption, anyone with the right tools can compromise your systems and data.

Unsecure mobile devices

Mobile devices help you stay connected and productive while out of the office. However, if you use your tablet or smartphone to connect to office systems without proper security measures in place, you run the risk of compromising your networks.

Imagine you have linked your work email to your smartphone but don’t have a password enabled. If the device goes missing, anyone who picks it up can have access to your email and your sensitive information. The same applies if you install a malicious mobile app. If you use this same device to connect to your company’s network, the malware will spread across your systems and disrupt your business operations.

Ensure that employee devices have adequate security, such as passcodes, and your company has sufficient security policies in place to regulate their use. Lastly, implement mobile device management solutions to prevent employee devices from being a security risk to your network.

Anti-malware software that isn’t properly maintained

Anti-malware software needs to be properly installed and maintained if they are going to stand a chance of keeping your systems secure.

If your anti-malware scans are scheduled during business hours, some employees may just turn the scanner off because it slows down their computers. This makes your systems vulnerable to malware.

The same goes for not updating your anti-malware software regularly. Updates are important for anti-malware applications because they implement new databases that contain recently discovered threats and fixes.

Lack of firewalls

A firewall is a network security tool that filters incoming and outgoing network traffic and protects data from being accessed from outside the network. While many modems or routers include firewalls, they are often not powerful enough for business use.

Get a firewall that covers the whole network at the point where data enters and exits (usually before the routers). These are business-centric tools that should be installed by an IT partner like a managed IT services provider for them to be most effective.

How do I ensure proper business security?

The best way to secure business systems and networks is to work with an IT partner like us. Our managed services can help you set up cybersecurity measures and ensure that they are managed properly. Tech peace of mind means you can focus on growing your business. Contact us today to learn more.

This post was originally published on this site

Avoid these 5 bad business security practices

Many small- and mid-sized businesses struggle to protect their data, often neglecting a critical component in their security strategy. If your organization still follows one or more of these bad security practices, correct them as soon as possible.

Open wireless networks

With just one main internet line and a couple of wireless routers, an entire office can get online. A wireless internet connection saves money, but there’s a risk that it might be unsecure.

It’s not enough to plug in a wireless router and create a basic network to secure your wireless network. If you have an open network, anyone within range can connect. With simple tools and technical know-how, cybercriminals can capture incoming and outgoing data, and even attack the network and any device connected to it.

Ensure that all wireless networks in the office are secured with strong passwords. Many internet service providers that install hardware when setting up networks will often just use an easy-to-guess password for the router. Change this password immediately to minimize the risk of unauthorized users gaining access to your network.

Unsecure email

Most companies that have implemented a new email system in the past couple of years are most likely secure. This is especially true if they use cloud-based platforms or well-known email systems like Exchange, which offer enhanced security and scanning.

The businesses that are at risk are those using older systems like Post Office Protocol, or systems that don’t encrypt passwords (also known as “clear passwords”). If your system doesn’t support encryption, anyone with the right tools can compromise your systems and data.

Unsecure mobile devices

Mobile devices help you stay connected and productive while out of the office. However, if you use your tablet or smartphone to connect to office systems without proper security measures in place, you run the risk of compromising your networks.

Imagine you have linked your work email to your smartphone but don’t have a password enabled. If the device goes missing, anyone who picks it up can have access to your email and your sensitive information. The same applies if you install a malicious mobile app. If you use this same device to connect to your company’s network, the malware will spread across your systems and disrupt your business operations.

Ensure that employee devices have adequate security, such as passcodes, and your company has sufficient security policies in place to regulate their use. Lastly, implement mobile device management solutions to prevent employee devices from being a security risk to your network.

Anti-malware software that isn’t properly maintained

Anti-malware software needs to be properly installed and maintained if they are going to stand a chance of keeping your systems secure.

If your anti-malware scans are scheduled during business hours, some employees may just turn the scanner off because it slows down their computers. This makes your systems vulnerable to malware.

The same goes for not updating your anti-malware software regularly. Updates are important for anti-malware applications because they implement new databases that contain recently discovered threats and fixes.

Lack of firewalls

A firewall is a network security tool that filters incoming and outgoing network traffic and protects data from being accessed from outside the network. While many modems or routers include firewalls, they are often not powerful enough for business use.

Get a firewall that covers the whole network at the point where data enters and exits (usually before the routers). These are business-centric tools that should be installed by an IT partner like a managed IT services provider for them to be most effective.

How do I ensure proper business security?

The best way to secure business systems and networks is to work with an IT partner like us. Our managed services can help you set up cybersecurity measures and ensure that they are managed properly. Tech peace of mind means you can focus on growing your business. Contact us today to learn more.

This post was originally published on this site