Keep Your Business Safe From Hackers

Managed IT services and security

How to Keep Your Business Safe From Hackers

A key component in the longevity of your business is keeping your sensitive data as safe as possible. Unfortunately, hackers are becoming more and more effective as time goes on. This means that you will need to prioritize certain cybersecurity measures in order to prevent them from gaining access to this information

The good news is that it’s not quite as difficult as you might expect. Let’s explore key information about how to protect against hackers.

Train Your Team Appropriately

Training your team appropriately will go much further than most people anticipate when it comes to how you keep business safe from hackers. This is simply due to the fact that even a single employee could put the company in jeopardy. For example, let’s assume that your employees have not been instructed on how to create secure passwords.

They might also be unaware of what type of data they should never share with certain individuals. A phishing attack, for instance, is a scenario where untrained employees could disseminate company data. This could easily result in a situation where unauthorized users gain access to sensitive company information.

The consequences of this scenario will vary, but they have the potential to be catastrophic. In some cases, an industry competitor could get ahold of trade secrets.

This could be an obstacle that is impossible to overcome for many different types of businesses. This is particularly true for companies that exist within highly competitive industries.

Hackers sometimes threaten to release trade secrets to the public or even industry competitors.

Always Use The Most Current Versions of Software

Interestingly, many people are unaware of the fact that even slightly outdated software is a large cybersecurity risk. After all, this is the primary reason why developers push updates so often.

As time goes on, online hackers begin to find different ways to exploit software. In response, developers aim to eliminate these risks through official patches.

Although this process will continue, falling behind could allow hackers to compromise data on your device. The good news is that it is relatively simple to keep your software updated. Most applications even give users the opportunity to automatically download and install new updates as they are released.

In the event that you are using software that is no longer supported by the developer, it’s best to consider an alternative instead. Eventually, hackers will find a way to exploit abandoned software and gain access to company information.

Implement Multifactor Authentication

As the name suggests, multifactor authentication is the process of using multiple criteria to grant access. In a conventional setting, you might only need a password to log into a certain account. With multifactor authentication, however, you might also need to input a security code that is sent to your company email.

This is an effective way of ensuring that an authorized individual is the one entering the login credentials. There are other forms of multifactor authentication, as well. These can even include biometric data, such as a fingerprint.

In general, more factors will be required to access highly sensitive information. Even a single additional factor, though, can add an effective layer of protection. Multifactor authentication only works if your organization is secure as a whole, though.

Inputting a verification code alongside a password won’t be difficult for a hacker if they have also compromised an employee’s email.

Consider Working With a Professional

It’s important to understand that you may not be able to recognize all of the potential threats to your business. For example, if your have a business in Southern California, hiring an IT support Los Angeles based company will provide insight and greater exposure into existing cybersecurity flaws.

The professionals you work with will also help develop solutions to these issues. It should come as no surprise that it is in your best interest to work with a professional before you find yourself needing one. It’s much easier to prevent a data breach than it is to recover from one.

Managed service providers also have the capability to implement active monitoring. This allows them to immediately detect threats as they arise. It’s not uncommon for service providers to find and eliminate threats before the business is even aware they exist.

This allows you to focus on the core aspects of your business. In fact, many companies find they are more productive when using outsourced IT  support. Keep this information in mind when moving forward.

You can check out this resource to learn more about the benefits you can expect.

Establish a Hierarchical Data Structure

Not every employee within your organization should have the same level of access to company data. To clarify, an entry-level worker should not be able to access information that executives can.

So, you’ll need to establish a hierarchical data structure at your company. This means allocating access privileges based on certain criteria.

In general, you’ll want to minimize the number of people who have access to data that your company. This means that employees should only be able to log into certain accounts, open certain files, etc. if they are relevant to their role.

The more people who have access to certain information, the larger the risk that hackers present. As you can assume, it’s often much easier to compromise basic employee accounts as opposed to those that belong to executives.

In the event that there is a change in personnel (such as an employee leaving the company), the appropriate changes should be made to data access. This often means changing passwords and removing people from teams. As long as they can no longer access data they should not be able to, you should not encounter issues in the future.

Develop a Contingency Plan

Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that you will inevitably encounter a situation with a hacker. While this doesn’t guarantee you will experience data loss, it may cause a disruption in your workflow. For example, a hacker might take down one of your internal systems and prevent you from communicating with your teams.

In the event that you do not have a contingency plan in place, you may suffer from extensive downtime. This will directly translate into a loss in revenue. However, there is also the other side of the spectrum to consider.

It’s entirely possible for a data breach to occur on a massive scale. Having the ability to navigate this situation is the only way you will be able to effectively recover from it.

So, it’s highly recommended that you make a list of the most outstanding threats to your business. You should then come up with multiple solutions for each scenario to determine the best course of action for disaster recovery.

The additional solutions you come up with can serve as backup plans in the event that your primary method is unsuccessful.

Understand How to Recognize Common Threats

The best way to defend against hackers is to understand the methods that they use. So, training your team to recognize common threats will be one of the most effective tools at your disposal.

In general, hackers utilize malware in order to carry out their attacks. This is a type of malicious program that can perform a number of different functions once it infects a machine.

It could provide the hacker with information about everything you type on your keyboard. Or, it could surreptitiously send information from your device back to the hacker. Some of the most dangerous malware can even infect other devices on the same network.

This can turn what would have been a minor situation into something catastrophic. Everyone in your organization should understand how to recognize a suspicious file/link, a phishing attack, and the type of behavior that hackers exhibit.

Under most circumstances, data breaches can only occur through user input. So, someone on the other end of the hacker’s attack will need to click on a download button or visit a fraudulent website. This means that you generally have the opportunity to prevent an attack before it starts.

Have a Plan for Remote Workers

The pandemic drastically changed the way that most businesses operate. More companies than ever before have been forced to accommodate remote workers. While this allowed businesses to function, it also came with additional risks.

Most notably, many companies did not take the proper safeguards to secure their networks. Now that remote workers are consistently accessing and sending sensitive information, you’ll need to take certain steps to protect it.

This means encrypting the connection between your remote workers and your company network. It also means implementing policies that limit the type of activity your employees can conduct on company devices.

A common scenario can involve an employee using a work computer to pirate software. In the event that they get a virus while downloading software, that hacker could inadvertently gain access to company information on the computer.

Under some circumstances, they could even use that device to access the company network. It’s imperative that your business assesses these risks and determines how it will prevent issues from arising.

Otherwise, the convenience of having remote workers can easily turn into a liability.

Archive Your Data Consistently

Performing backups on a regular basis is the only way that you can ensure you can fully recover from a hacker.

After all, recovery often involves restoring affected data from an archive. For this reason, it’s highly recommended that you or your IT support company establish a system for your data backups.

Core data should be archived once every 24 hours. Less important information can be backed up less often, such as once per week or even once per month.

It’s also important for you to back up your data at multiple locations. This includes remote storage and external hard drives.

This even involves keeping archived information off-site. In the event that something like a natural disaster, robbery, etc. affects your business, you run the risk of losing all of your archived information if you keep it all within one place.

As you might guess, those who back up information should always protect it. Implementing passwords and encryption is vital when it comes to keeping your data as safe as possible. It’s also recommended to carefully control access to this type of information.

Many businesses that store data backups on-site do so within rooms that require identification to enter. This will help you minimize the chances that someone within your organization causes issues.

Adhere to Industry Regulations

No matter what industry you work within, there’s a good chance that there are outstanding regulations you have to deal with.

This is especially true for businesses that work in the tech or healthcare industries. However, many people overlook the fact that adhering to these regulations will make your business safer. This is achieved by sufficiently protecting your customers.

For example, healthcare facilities are required to store patient data in a certain manner. This is done in order to protect these individuals from having this information compromised. A result of this, though, is making it harder for hackers to access this information.

Many regulations have to do with the way you store digital information. So, following these standards will eliminate many common issues before they arise. It also comes with the benefit of boosting your brand reputation.

Dealing With Hackers Can Seem Overwhelming

It may even seem impossible at first. However, the guide above has key information that you can use to protect your business from hackers in the future.

Want to learn more about what we have to offer? Feel free to get in touch with us today and see how we can help.

About Chad Lauterbach

CEO at Be Structured Technology Group, Inc. a Los Angeles based provider of Managed IT Services for small business. I desire to help small businesses better utilize technology by assisting in high level planning to make sure that new systems will benefit them both operationally and financially. I am careful to implement and support systems using industry best practices.