A successful attack on your company’s computer network can have devastating consequences for your business plan. Formulating an incident response plan in the wake of an attack, and determining a method of response for future attacks is a practical necessity, but you can save yourself a great deal of risk and difficulty by taking measures to prevent an attack in the first place. While it’s hard to completely shield a modern business from the threat of cyber attacks, there are some things you can do to mitigate both the risk and impact of these attacks.
Know the Threats
While cybercriminals grow more sophisticated with their techniques and tools every day, there are a number of common tactics they use to target potential victims. Understanding these risks are the first line of defense in securing your business. Consider these the soft targets in your company’s infrastructure.
Most modern businesses use an astonishing number of software platforms in their day to day work. But each unprotected piece of software is a potential weakness that a criminal can exploit. Fortunately, most modern developers recognize that an insecure platform is a huge black mark against their product’s branding. Software patches are often offered regularly, and they serve the important purpose of shoring up the software against intrusion from newly identified threats. Developing a set schedule for patching all of your software or finding a way to automate the process is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your systems. Prioritize programs that have direct access to the web, particularly browser add-ins, as these are particularly vulnerable to outside threats.
Chances are that you only see a minute portion of the spam that’s sent to your email account. This is a sign that the people who make your email filters are doing their job right, but it also means that the spam that makes it through these filters are becoming increasingly sophisticated and hard to identify. Phishing scams typically come in the form of official looking email correspondence, and they’re designed to trick the recipient into giving up their login information. They achieve this by trying to present themselves as official service providers or even people from within your company. The goal of the talented scammer is to make their email look as professional as possible. Improving your log-in protocol and implementing third-party protective solutions can minimize the probability of a successful phishing scam at your company.
The most prevalent cyber threat is malware. These viruses infiltrate your system and undermine its programming, often to harvest information that can be used against your employees or your company. The developers of malware often rely on complacency to trick users into inadvertently installing it. This often means triggering pop-up ads on trusted sites that convinces the user they need to download something to continue their work or make use of a double-blind con to imitate anti-virus software. While the user thinks they’re downloading something innocuous, they’re actually opening your system to infiltration. Ensuring that all of your machines are equipped with a modern and patched anti-virus suite can help keep your system safe from malware threats.
Social Media Threats
Most modern businesses rely on multiple social media platforms to reach out to their customers, but this also makes them an open target for malicious hackers. They exploit the open personality business owners that are looking to project through their social media accounts and present themselves as harmless friend requests or installation requests. Once you’ve given privileged information to these unsavory individuals, they can hijack your account and undermine your messaging. Making use of more sophisticated log-in efforts and making sure your social media team understands the risks posed allows you to nip problems like these in the bud.
Educate Your Talent
Prevention is usually the best cure, as rooting out a problem after your information has already been compromised can be an exhausting endeavor. Making sure your employees know the tactics used by scammers and recognizing how to avoid them can save you a lot of hassle in the long-term. If you have a dedicated IT professional, consider hosting seminars for your staff so they’re aware of how they can better protect themselves against attacks. Follow-ups to keep everyone cognizant of new threats may use up valuable time, but it also ensures the threats are stopped before they make it through the door.
Incorporate Preventative Countermeasures
A number of our traditional log-in methods were created in a time when cyber threats weren’t so prevalent. Businesses increasingly have more secure methods than simple password log-in to protect their systems. These are all sensible alternatives that can minimize the risk of human error where your business’ security is concerned.