Cybercrime is an increasing threat to businesses big and small alike. A number of companies have recently become victim to coordinated hacks. Some companies were caught up in massive international ransomware attacks. Small businesses should take all the necessary precautions to protect valuable customer and internal data from malicious hackers.
It’s important to understand that there is no foolproof method to completely prevent cybercrime, warns attorney and business consultant John R. Burgess. Even if you lock your front door, it will not completely guarantee that your home won’t be broken into. But locking your front door is better than leaving it unlocked. Preventing cybercrime is similar to that. Your business can develop best practices to deter a potential cyber-attack and make it hard to hack your company, even for determined cybercriminals.
Here is a list of best practices small businesses can use to shield information from cybercriminals:
Have a Password Policy
The main reason many companies end up being victimized by cybercrime is lack of proper password protection. If passwords haven’t been changed for years, or are easy to guess, then it can be very easy for hackers to access accounts. A skilled hacker only needs access to one account to compromise the entire system. Small businesses must have a strong internal password policy that eliminates this possibility.
Advise employees to change passwords every three months and use random or very long passwords that are impossible to guess. Carefully control who gets access to passwords of administrative accounts.
Install Highly Regarded Antivirus Programs
It’s been recommended for decades for companies to install antivirus programs on all office computers. However, do not install just any antivirus program you can download from the internet. If it comes for free, there’s probably a catch.
Even some paid antivirus programs have been controversial in recent years. The noted Kaspersky antivirus program was accused in recent times of leaking data to the Russian government. It is not yet know if this was true. Keep these issues in mind and use antivirus software that is well reviewed and highly rated by tech experts.
Install Malware Scanning Scripts on Websites
Hackers often launch attacks by installing malware first. To deter an attack, it’s absolutely essential to safeguard business websites. Install malware-scanning scripts on domains, which will scan for bugs in the source code of web pages. Bugs could potentially indicate malware and a cyber-attack.
Ban Downloading Content From The Web
Do not allow employees to download anything from the internet while in the office. If internal documents need to be downloaded, have a system in place that facilitates safe transfer of files. Using a cloud storage system is highly recommended instead of allowing email downloads.
Disallow “Bring Your Own Device” Practices
External devices, like USB storage drives, can quickly spread malware across the office. Don’t allow employees to plug in their own devices to company computers. If one of these devices contain malware, it could give hackers access to business accounts as well.
Do not wait to use these methods to protect your company against a cyber-attack. The threat is serious and unprecedented. Don’t wait until it’s too late.