As the international Data Privacy Day is approaching, this made me think where we stand in 2019.

The cybersecurity industry is changing fast, as new technologies are continually appearing.

However, to stay competitive, the cyber underground is also evolving at an alarming rate. From crypto jacking to attacks against voice-powered devices, new types of cybercrimes dominated 2018.

And, small businesses are among the most common hacker attack victims.

The reason for that is simple- small businesses don’t invest enough in their data protection. Given that, it’s not surprising that 47% of all small businesses went through at least one cyber attack in 2018. Worse yet, 7 out of 10 small businesses are not prepared to fight the cyber attack.

And, the consequences of getting your company data stolen are multiple. One of them lies in the fact that every data breach costs you lots of your hard-earned money. From the disruption of everyday business operations to data recovery processes, cyber attacks will require small businesses over 2 trillion in 2019.

So, what steps to take to prevent data breaches and protect your sensitive information?

Have a Strong Privacy Policy and Educate your Employees

Employee negligence may compromise your company’s data security. It’s enough for an employee to open a phishing email or connect to an unsecured wi-fi and, voila, your data gets stolen.

Namely, more than 90% of online attacks are due to human error or malicious behavior.

Securing the data

In this scenario, investing in high-end cybersecurity solutions means nothing. If you want to take your data security to the next level, you first need to educate your employees.

There are two significant steps to take.

First, the majority of your employees are using their devices at work. And, banning them for using their phones may sound like an obvious option, but it seldom works in the long-run. So, instead of making such drastic moves that may hurt your employee relationships, you should focus on educating them.

To help you minimize the risks of cybercrime, your employees need to be aware of how serious this problem is. Focus on explaining what unsecured networks are and how do avoid them on both their work devices and personal devices. Most importantly, teach them about the different types of cybercrime they may face, explain how much these attacks cost your business, and highlight some necessary preventive measures.

For example, show them what types of sites they should avoid and what links or documents they shouldn’t open. As most of them spend their spare time on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you should also explain what social media botnet accounts are and why they should avoid accepting friend requests from the people they don’t know.

Second, build a stable cybersecurity policy. Just like its mere name says, this is a comprehensive document containing clear guidelines for your employees on how to share and consume online data to protect data privacy. These guidelines need to be written in a simple and easy-to-understand language. Additionally, they need to contain a set of rules on how an employee should behave to avoid a data breach, as well as what immediate steps to take when the hack occurs.

Invest in a Solid Anti-Malware and Firewall Software & Hardware

In 2018, we saw the explosion of new cyber attacks.

Malware is still the most dominant form of cybercrime. Crypto mining attacks gained greater popularity. They have risen by almost 1000%.

Cyber attacks have also become more complex. They’re now in a cluster in a series of individual attacks that work cohesively and aim to attack the different components of your business’ network.

IoT devices are also considered the next prominent victim of cybercriminals in 2019. Some popular botnets like Mirai or IoT Reaper have already demonstrated how harmful infecting connected devices can be. For example, by infecting your business tablet, a hacker can crack your password, manage your business devices, and steal your data without even getting noticed. Your security software sees the tablet they hacked as a trusted device, and the commands are coming directly from it won’t seem suspicious.

This is why you need to up your cybersecurity efforts and opt for those software solutions that can give you a full insight into your performance.

Now, many anti-virus software pieces you can find on the market are not effective against the latest types of hacker attacks. As they are explicitly designed to work in the background, they will probably be detected once your systems are already infected and it’s too late to save your data.

Precisely because of that, you need to turn to solutions that are designed with greater convenience and responsibility in mind. The firewall appliance you choose needs to identify different types of threats and isolate them on time, preventing them from attacking your systems. Most importantly, these types of internet security solutions need to be easy to understand and operate, provide real-time detection and immediate response, and offer greater security visibility.

Always Encrypt and Backup your Data

Any significant cybersecurity strategy should contain two key aspects.

First, you need to invest in solid firewall hardware that will prevent cybercriminals from accessing your data.

Second, if the hack occurs and they manage to steal your vital corporate information, you need to render this information useless.

data security

This is where data encryption steps in. Namely, by encrypting sensitive data, such as your customers’ personally identifiable information or your employee data, you will ensure that the hacker cannot use them even if they fetch them. All you need to do is invest in a reliable encryption software that can work on all your business devices and encrypt your vital data. Additionally, always make sure that the software is still activated and updated regularly on all your business devices.

In addition to encryption, backing up your business data is another immensely vital step to take. Namely, by backing up your data and storing it separately either locally on in the cloud, you will ensure your business’ continuity after getting hacked.

Perform Penetration Testing Regularly

Understanding your business’ specific needs and problems and knowing how to solve them is the basis of your cybersecurity strategy.

That’s precisely why you need to invest in penetration testing. In layman’s terms, penetration testing is the practice hackers use to detect the significant vulnerabilities in your security systems and use them to sneak in and steal your data. The good thing is that you can do the same thing to identify the high-risk aspects of your cybersecurity strategy and focus on addressing them fast.

There are numerous powerful penetration testing tools you can find at different price ranges, including Nmap, Acunetix, or Nessus. Remember, sometimes, stepping in the shoes of your enemies is the only way to beat them.

Over to You

Many businesses still don’t understand the importance of cybersecurity and consider it an additional investment. And, hackers are aware of that. They will use your lack of knowledge and equipment to identify the main vulnerabilities in your business systems and use them to steal your company’s sensitive information.

This is why you need to observe your cyberdefense strategy strategically, and I hope these tips will serve as a solid starting point.

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David Webb
David Webb

Editor In Chief at BizzmarkBlog