A recent estimate by McAfee puts the number of cyber attacks worldwide at around 2,000 per day, yet only 1/3 of business owners say they feel adequately protected against cybercrimes. And cybercrime is becoming increasingly more lucrative for hackers, as the estimated cost of global cybercrime in 2013 was $400 billion.
While prevention is never guaranteed and hackers’ techniques are becoming ever more sophisticated, there are steps companies should take to ensure their valuable data is protected from unwanted access, malicious manipulation, and downright theft. From the desks of CMIT’s cybersecurity experts, here are 5 things we think every business owner should know about keeping their systems safe:
1. Don’t Just Keep Bad Guys Out
The so-called “castle model” of old-school cybersecurity is long-since out of date. While we don’t recommend dropping your metaphorical drawbridge, you shouldn’t only focus on defense around the perimeter of your network. According to Hewlett-Packard, about 87% of cybersecurity budgets still go towards firewall technology and improvements. Rather than building one large wall that protects all of your data, it’s better to segment and defend your information across several fronts, utilizing cryptography and data segmentation so that even if intruders do breach your network, the information they receive will be useless or incomplete.
2. Treat Your Email Account Like Your Bank Account
Most people don’t hold their email passwords in as high regard as their banking details, but the truth is that your email password may be more valuable to a hacker than your banking information. Since most systems (including many banks) use email to allow users to reset passwords and update their information, a hacker may be able to access each of your various online accounts and ultimately take more information than you’d think. In the case of a large company or enterprise, having the keys to the internal email system won’t just give them access to sensitive information contained within messages, it will provide contact information on hundreds – if not thousands – of employees, vendors, and customers.
3. Don’t Forget Mobile
How often do you use your smartphone for work? How about your employees? As people begin to transition more of their day-to-day lives onto mobile devices, hackers are sure to follow. As mobile becomes a larger target, it’s important to train your employees on best-practices and utilize anti-theft safeguards to prevent data loss if a phone is stolen, even if the device itself is never recovered.
4. Training is Essential
That goes for you, too. As the leader of your company, it’s up to you to demonstrate how vigilance, critical thinking, and common sense can all prevent a major data intrusion. Hackers prey on the lazy and untrained to gain access to key systems, so if you feel your cybersecurity training programs aren’t cutting it, it’s time to revisit your safeguards.
5. Increase Your Information Technology Budget
Don’t be the one left holding the bag after an otherwise preventable cyber attack occurs. The vast majority of business owners don’t (or won’t) consider the importance of cybersecurity and up-to-date IT platforms until it’s already too late. Too many businesses have already folded as a result of a major data loss and it’s estimated that 50% of those who experience a major attack will be out of business within five years.
Don’t sit back and let a cyber attack happen on your watch. Bring in the IT and systems security experts at CMIT Solutions of Seattle to secure your systems, train your employees, and keep your valuable data in the right hands where it belongs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation or give us a call at 206-457-4231.
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