The internet is an important tool for business owners—it is integral to almost every part of a company. Data about clients and potential customers can be stored in the cloud and accessed from any computer. Employees can collaborate and create whether they are in the office, at home or across the world on a business trip. It can be hard to imagine a world without these modern-day luxuries.
Unfortunately, the internet also comes with its own risks. Any data uploaded to it is at risk of being accessed by malicious third parties who may be seeking trade secrets or simply information to take ransom. Stories of businesses, both large and small, falling victim to digital attacks dominate the news. Facebook, Uber and Equifax have all been hacked in recent years. (Source: “Eliminating Cyber Threats in 2020: Why Enterprises Need to Rethink Cyber security”, Entrepreneur)
Failing to take proper security measures can end up costing companies a fortune. This could come in the form of fines or litigation for mishandling customers’ personal information, ransom paid to retrieve data or the loss of valuable materials.
You can begin to strengthen your company’s cybersecurity in just a few easy steps:
- Check the legitimacy of emails containing links. It only takes one employee clicking a fake link to potentially compromise your entire business. Many scammers send authentic-looking emails, sometimes appearing to be from services you commonly use, to gather data from people who unwittingly login to the fake website they link to. This is now the cyber-attack against companies. Sophisticated hackers gather data about a victim through their social media accounts and create convincing emails using the information they’ve found. (Source: “Phishing Attacks: Now More Common Than Malware”, CPO Magazine)
- Always encrypt sensitive data. When storing private information, such as customer details, always make sure that the data is safely encrypted. It sounds like an obvious tip, but there are still businesses that store user information unencrypted. If the worst happens and a hacker compromises your business’s data, you don’t want them to be able to easily see the information they have stolen. Using a strong encryption method may give you more time to react, if not protect the data entirely.
- Back-up your information. Another way to protect your data is to always keep back-ups. That way you have access to your files, even if someone compromises your computer or server. Malware attacks may lock down networks, making it impossible to log in and retrieve anything. With a proper back-up system in place, the damage done from such an attack would be greatly minimalized.
If you have been the victim of a domestic cyber-attack, you may need an attorney to protect your rights and recover damages; Ford O’Brien, LLP will fight for you and your company.