5 Ways to Protect Your Business from Hackers
Hackers and spammers are always hunting for computers to exploit. Unfortunately, small businesses like yours are the most common targets.
Small business owners are typically not IT professionals and don’t have time to keep up and protect against the latest threats. But here are some simple steps you can take in order to keep your critical business tools working and your data safe from hackers and spammers!
Tip 1: Layered Security
Hackers use a variety of methods to try to gain access into your systems. A versatile set of risks requires an equally versatile set of protections. Malicious email links, hijacked web pages, and infected files are three major ways hackers attempt to get into systems like yours. These are all best addressed by different security products. Antiviruses, antimalware, and firewalls can all be used simultaneously to beef up your security. When they are all used in a layered set, they can all work together to provide an excellent security baseline for your company.
Tip 2: Protection Plan
Planning your security strategy with your business’ unique needs in mind is essential for laying down an effective set of protections against online threats. Each security product has different strengths and weaknesses. Someone who does all their work online has a completely different protection profile than someone who shares files with partners and clients through USB sticks and local networks.
This is an area where knowing an experience IT Professional comes in handy. Having the wrong protection profile for your company can give your company a false sense of protection, which will only lead to more surprises when your computer gets hacked some day.
“Small business owners are often not IT professionals and don’t have time to keep up with the latest threats.”
Tip 3: Updating Your Software
The most common way that computers get compromised is due to vulnerabilities in the operating system or the programs we’re using. Not all programs update automatically, and some have critical issues which can put your business at risk to hacking. Regularly check your antivirus and anti-malware software, Windows Operating System, Adobe Reader/Flash, Java and other applications for updates.
Updating is generally a quick, straightforward process. However, if you would rather not check each individual software for updates, you can always hire an IT professional who can ensure all of your software is up to date and more!
Tip 4: Check Your Anti-Malware Software for Threat Detections
Your antivirus might be doing its job, but is it overworked? Are you getting more than your fair share of threats? This could be evidence of one of your other layers of security failing. Your antivirus should be one of the last walls in a layered defense against online threats and the occasional warning is fine, however an abundance of threats tells you that something in your security plan needs a real change. Ensure that you are regularly checking the security logs of your antivirus to help you evaluate if there might be a weak spot in your protection plan.
Tip 5: Learn and Encourage Digital Health
Many scam and hacking attempts start with fooling a computer user into clicking an email attachment, website link or some other bait they hope you’ll “bite” on. However, there are a set of procedures you can use to ensure you and your employees do not fall victim to this kind of potentially devastating attempt. First, always remember to verify the sender before you open the attachment. Ask yourself, do I know this person? Does their email address look valid? Second, if something feels fishy, chances are someone is trying to bait you. Be suspicious of a link sent to you with no explanation, or content that doesn’t seem like something the sender would actually give you. Lastly, ensure that if you do click on a link and a page pops up asking you to sign into your email that you DO NOT do this.
Common attacks take the form of an employee’s email that has become compromised sending an eye catching, almost too good to be true article on a copied version of a popular website. If this happens, look closely at the URL of the site.
Does it look like the standard New York Times, Forbes, Facebook, or other popular website’s URL?
Is there any additional text next to any part of the name that comes before “.com”, compared to when you just look the same website up on google?
It might be something as small as Forbes1.com vs. Forbes.com.
When you click on the link are you asked to sign into your email?
These are all the sorts of questions that, if asked properly, you’ll be able to help prevent your company from falling victim to hackers. Even something as simple as sending a quick verification email to a colleague that sent a suspicious email asking if they were the sender, can help your company avoid an expensive mistake.
The digital landscape is dangerous. Every year, scammers and hackers get more and more sophisticated in their attacks but if you employ all of these strategies, your company’s security will be stronger. However, still consider hiring an IT Professional who can take further steps to protect your company for years to come.
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