Right now, with the issues created by the COVID-19 virus, people are completing more tasks and purchases online. It’s a good thing for your startup if you can continue to sell your products or services remotely and help customers solve their problems or receive benefits, even during lockdowns.
However, with increasing amounts of business transacted online and people spending many more hours using Wi-Fi than before, hackers are also looking for new ways to intercept and steal data and use the current situation to their advantage.
Small business entrepreneurs must, therefore, take necessary steps to protect their company’s information and their clients’. To avoid all the potential negative consequences that can arise from having your business hacked, follow some straightforward strategies.
First, ensure all the devices you use to transact information is protected with quality security software. Purchase comprehensive endpoint security solutions that will cover you against a variety of threats. You need software that protects against viruses, spam, spyware, ransomware, malware, and other attacks. The software should alert you in real-time to threats, protect your privacy online, provide you with antiphishing protection, and be scalable and easy to set up.
Also, use the firewalls that are likely already installed on your computer systems. Check devices to see if firewalls are activated, though. Firewalls are handy as they act as another layer of defense against hackers, particularly those trying to break into your networks via an internet connection.
Run regular updates on the software and firmware you use. Product developers are always on the lookout for gaps in the security of their creations that cybercriminals might take advantage of. They release new versions of their programs to plug such holes. If you’re not running the latest updates, you’re more open to a hacker attack.
Set up systems to update automatically as soon as any new versions come out. This way, you don’t have to remember to check for and install updates manually.
Also, protect your business data with quality passwords. Password protect each device, the accounts you log in to online, and any modems you use to access the internet. Proper codes are a minimum of eight characters in length, although over 12 is even better.
Your passwords should feature a combination of upper and lower case letters, symbols, and numbers. Plus, try to use different codes for different logins. This way, if one’s compromised, cybercriminals won’t be able to go ahead and access all your accounts or gadgets. It’s also wise to change passwords every few months.
Protect Physical Information
Protect business information by securing all sensitive physical data, too. For instance, keep important details on printouts, reports, bank statements, etc. locked away from prying eyes. Make sure you limit who has access to this kind of data, too.
Avoid storing credit card and other financial and personal customer details where possible and shred information when done with it, so it’s less likely to fall into the wrong hands. Also, keep your business mailbox locked so no one can locate information by opening company letters or parcels.
Learn the Common Scams Hackers Try
It helps, too, to learn the common scams hackers try so you can train your team members on what to look out for and ways to stay safe. For example, cybercriminals often pretend to represent genuine organizations, like banks, telecommunications firms, and government departments.
They send out emails or text messages or set up fraudulent websites to try to trick people into giving out sensitive information or providing access to accounts. Sometimes these methods are used to get unsuspecting users to click on links embedded with malware that then scans computers for information or takes note of entered keystrokes.
Don’t open emails or attachments from people you don’t know and check all communications and websites for signs they may be from disingenuous sources. If asked to respond with or click on a link to provide or verify sensitive details, such as financial data, this is a sure sign you’re looking at a fraudulent communication. Real firms won’t ask for such information, especially via this kind of insecure method.
Check the URLs of web addresses and the exact addresses messages are sent from. If they seem different to a genuine organization’s standard website listing, they’re likely coming from a hacker. Compare logos and read text carefully, too. Genuine communiques from companies have correct logos (color, design, clarity, etc.) and are usually well written and easy to understand.
Trading and work online is a handy way of doing things in this tech-driven world, especially the one we find ourselves in now with a pandemic sweeping the globe. However, you must also be sensible and take all necessary steps to protect vital information from people outside of your organization.