Cyberattacks pose a real danger to organizations, as they could compromise sensitive data or disable computer systems and cause substantial downtime that disrupts operations and damages employee morale.
Attackers may be motivated by various reasons to launch cyber attacks, with financial gain often being the driving factor. Cybercriminals may steal customer credit card or employee personal data and sell it.
1. Secure Your Network
Most businesses rely on the internet for essential business operations like tracking finances, ordering inventory, running marketing and PR campaigns, connecting with customers, and conducting other crucial activities. But cyber attacks can devastate even small companies whose leaders lack any idea how to protect against such threats.
As the first step to warding off cyber attacks, network security begins with installing firewalls, encrypting data, and choosing passwords that are difficult to guess. Furthermore, having backup plans in case of breaches can provide peace of mind – and making sure software updates occur regularly are also key components in keeping up with cyber threats.
Create an effective disaster recovery plan, including offsite backups, system restoration, configurations and logs. Conduct risk analyses and create incident response plans regularly in case of cyber attacks; consider two-factor authentication as another safeguard to prevent hackers from exploiting stolen credentials to access people’s accounts or gain payment information.
2. Install Antivirus Software
Antivirus software is one of the easiest ways to safeguard your computer, providing proactive defense from viruses, spyware and other types of malware before it causes any harm or spreads further on your network. Compatible antivirus solutions can usually be found both locally and online – look for one with an installation process that’s user-friendly; install and keep virus definitions current regularly!
Spyware is software installed without your knowledge that collects personal information about you and monitors your online activities. It may come from untrustworthy programs, websites you visit, email attachments or shared USBs; and can steal bank details, passwords and other confidential data that is stored online – even taking control of your device remotely.
Keep your antivirus software updated to protect against attacks from occurring. Most programs will automatically update, but to be safe make sure this feature is enabled by checking the settings of your software program.
3. Change Your Passwords Regularly
Your passwords need to be regularly changed in order to safeguard them from being stolen by hackers and used against your organization, causing financial, legal, and reputational damage.
To minimize risk, create passwords of at least 12 characters with letters, numbers, symbols, and non-related words – and use a password manager to keep track of them for you and automatically login into websites and services for you.
Immediately changing a compromised password helps protect against hackers using credentials gained during one breach to gain entry to additional accounts.
Change your password if you share an account or device with anyone and they no longer require access. Also consider this change if your computer, phone, or tablet was lost or stolen.
4. Keep Your Software Updated
Nearly every business relies on computers, servers, routers, switches and printers to operate efficiently. Many also rely on software tools like QuickBooks for bookkeeping to streamline functions. While such systems provide great advantages to organizations, they can also become cybercriminal havens.
Staying current with software and operating system updates can help protect against cyber attacks. Unpatched security holes enable hackers to exploit vulnerable devices with malware and gain entry to private data and accounts.
Your company faces additional risk if it employs outdated software (known as end-of-life or EOL), so ensure your IT department has a plan in place to migrate your organization onto new hardware and software programs as they reach EOLs. Furthermore, ensure they implement and manage a zero trust framework on your network to limit how many account credentials can be exploited; using a privileged access management tool may assist here – this should serve as the cornerstone of your cybersecurity strategy to reduce risks and protect from attacks.
5. Keep Up With the Latest Security Trends
With new technologies emerging every day, the security landscape is constantly shifting. Staying abreast of security trends can help businesses thwart cyber attacks and ensure their data and systems remain protected.
Cyberattacks often target outdated systems and software. By staying current on updates for their systems and performing regular penetration tests, companies can lower their vulnerability to hackers.
Cyber attackers have various motives for attacking businesses, from gathering PII and selling it on the dark web, to impersonating family and friends in order to scam money from them. Their attacks may also lead to stolen data, malware infections or compromised devices – or targeted ransomware attacks in which cybercriminals hold systems, programs or software hostage and demand payment to unlock them.
To prevent this from occurring, businesses should set in place practices and policies to restrict access to company devices like laptops and cellphones, and reset any devices they dispose of to factory settings before disposal – this will help protect information from becoming lost or stolen and the device from falling into cybercriminal hands.