We live in the age of digital vulnerabilities. Any gaps in your security infrastructure cannot only harm your finances, but can also bring your business to a halt. A cyberattack can be extremely stressful if you’re not tech-savvy and don’t have a security regime in place.
Ideally, you should think about all the possibilities of attack. As Murphy’s Law puts it, whatever can happen, will happen. Therefore, it’s essential to be ready for hostile circumstances. It will not only save you time and money, but it will also prevent a stressful episode in your routine business life.
Before we get into the details of robust cybersecurity infrastructure, you should learn about the various types of attacks you can expect. While the list is extensive, we will cover the four most common attacks here.
- A denial-of-service attack (DoS) is among the most common attacks on digital businesses. Hackers disrupt the network connecting your users and servers. Once the system is overwhelmed, your users can’t access your website. This not only costs you the day’s business, but it also harms your credibility in the eyes of your customers. Security vulnerabilities are likely to scare off many people, and they won’t trust you with their data again.
- Malware, including spyware, can be disastrous for your business. Malware cannot only freeze your business, but it can also lead to other unfavorable outcomes. These include data theft, as hackers can exploit gaps to steal your and your client’s data. Once this happens, you won’t be able to easily rebuild consumer trust.
- While an advanced degree in cybersecurity can teach you about many extreme cyber threats, one simple threat you shouldn’t overlook is phishing. It’s one of the most common attacks and is often disguised in everyday data. What happens is that an attacker sends you a malicious email that seems legitimate. You think of it as harmless and proceed to click on it. It either takes you to another page, or nothing happens. What you don’t know, however, is that you’ve granted digital access to the attacker.
- Another type of attack, which is pretty recent, is the internet of things (IoT) attack. If your business depends on remote communication between devices through the internet, this is for you. A hacker cannot only steal your data by exploiting gaps between these devices, but they can also gain control of them. So, imagine that you’re running a coffee shop where robots serve coffee to customers. If an attacker gains access to the robots, they can control and manipulate them to spill coffee on customers. You don’t want to do that.
These are the most common attacks you are likely to encounter as a business owner in the digital age. The good news is you can thwart with the help of a robust cybersecurity infrastructure. Here are six tips to protect you from hackers:
1) Check if all devices are up-to-date
This is one of the most overlooked aspects of digital security. Sometimes, you don’t have time or resources to check if your devices are functioning correctly. If they’re outdated, they may no longer receive essential security updates to protect them from hackers. This is true for most outdated operating systems. Hence, it is good practice to run a maintenance check of your devices to see if they have any loopholes hackers can exploit. If a device has received a security patch, install it immediately.
2) Install anti-malware tools
Many devices have pre-installed security tools already, such as Microsoft Defender and Google Play Protect. However, depending on the severity of the threat, sometimes you may need external tools. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus and Kaspersky Total Security can be useful for the overall security of your system. While you can get many free antivirus tools, it’s best to invest in a good one now than regret your decision later.
3) Don’t download from unknown sources
It may seem attractive to download a paid application for free from an unknown source. However, as you probably know already, there is no free lunch. Since everything has a cost, the cost here is your data. If the application contains malware, it can steal your data and cause damage to you in multiple ways. Therefore, it’s always best practice to download from trusted sources. If you’re skeptical about spending money, run a free trial (many premium apps offer this nowadays), and see if it’s worth it.
4) Authenticate links before clicking
This is particularly true for phishing attacks. If you train your employees and yourself to look for red flags in links and emails, they/you won’t blindly click on links. Sometimes this is extremely difficult, but you have a business to run, and you can’t afford to risk your and others’ security. Therefore, you have to be vigilant here. Anything as small as a spelling mistake could tell you whether a link is authentic or not. Also, see the sender’s details to see if it’s coming from the correct address. Moreover, it’s better to look up details of the link on the web to see if anyone else has written about it.
5) Physically secure your devices
If you have an in-house server, it’s best to keep it out of reach for most of your staff. Only the technical IT staff should be allowed to enter the server room for maintenance. Otherwise, if anyone uses the server and installs malware-bearing programs on it, you won’t be able to do much to reverse it. The breach would have already taken place. Furthermore, see if the wiring of the server room is organized correctly. You don’t want to risk a short-circuit.
6) Train your staff
Your staff should be familiar with digital security. Encourage employees to use the right tools and methods. Essentially, building layers of security around oneself is the best approach for protecting yourself, your family, and your employer. If the staff does not have the requisite technical skills, enroll them in a program at your behest. If you spend on human resources now, you will save yourself from many possible attacks in the future. The more aware your staff is, the more they’ll be able to do to prevent cyberattacks.
The tips mentioned above can help you build a strong layer of security for your business. But, if the severity of the threat is extreme, you would be better off consulting a digital security specialist. They can help protect your business and save you the trouble of doing it yourself.