After seeing high-profile malware attacks in the news in recent months, it is natural for you to be concerned about protecting your business from a similar fate. The fact is that more businesses are being targeted by malware attacks than ever before, with more than half of U.S. businesses being subjected to a cyber-attack each year. Not only are cyber-attacks on the rise, but these attacks are also becoming increasingly costly as affected businesses have to invest in restoring and replacing software, hardware, and lost data. In fact, in 2019, the average cyber-attack cost businesses over $200,000, putting as many as 60% of small to medium-sized companies affected by cyber-attacks out of business. This makes it critical that small to medium-sized businesses do everything within their power to shield themselves from malware and other cyber attacks. To help get you started, here are a few steps that you can take to protect your business from malware.
Invest in Employee Training
No matter your business’ size, your first line of defense will be your employees. The fact is that many malware attacks are the result of employees inadvertently following a link, or opening an email, that contains malware, which can quickly cause a costly data breach. This makes it critical that you take the time to make sure that all of your employees are properly trained on how to avoid malware.
Training should include teaching your staff tactics that will help them to spot and avoid the latest security threats such as phishing emails. Your goal should be to make sure that your employees are aware of how critical their role is in preventing a company-wide cyber attack, and how important it is that they are aware of what emails they are opening and whether files they are opening and downloading are from trusted senders.
Training should be ongoing in order to ensure that your employees are always up-to-date on the latest tactics used in cyber-attacks.
Use Strong Passwords (And Limit Access)
As basic as this may seem, in order to protect your business, it is critical that you utilize strong passwords on all of your accounts, and that you make sure that all of your employees are using strong passwords as well. Strong passwords are key in protecting your business from a cyber attack since a cybercriminal guessing one of your passwords could potentially give them access to your company’s entire network.
Given the importance of using strong passwords, you may be surprised to learn how many of your employees are using basic passwords such as their birthday, or even the word “password”. A strong password should contain at least ten characters, and it should include numbers, symbols, and both capital and lowercase letters. You should also require your staff to change their passwords at least once every six months in order to further boost security.
In addition to maintaining strong passwords, it is also critical that you limit who you grant admin controls to. It is not uncommon for cyber-attacks to originate within a company, which is why it is important that you only grant administrative access to a small number of employees you can trust with this access.
Use a Layered Approach to Security
In order to prevent a cyber-attack, it is important that you use a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity. Using multiple complementary products to protect your business from malware can ensure that there are no gaps in your cybersecurity for cybercriminals to exploit. Take a look at your current security systems and see where there may be gaps in your cybersecurity methods.
Make sure that you take into account things like firewalls, encryption, and that you use strong security software that protects against viruses, ransomware, adware, and other types of malware.
Patch Your Systems Regularly
A critical component of protecting your business against malware is ensuring that all of your systems are up-to-date. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is ignoring this basic system maintenance, as we often get in the habit of dismissing system and software updates because updates can be time-consuming. However, these updates and security patches are a critical component of your company’s cybersecurity, as these updates are often meant to fix bugs and security issues in your computer systems. When you ignore these updates, cybercriminals can take advantage of software vulnerabilities to infiltrate your company’s network. It is then imperative that you install updates as soon as they become available in order to ensure that your network is protected.
Have Multiple Backups (And Update Them Regularly
Losing vital company data can be one of the most devastating and costly aspects of a cyber attack. One way to protect yourself in the event that your business is subjected to a cyber-attack is to make sure that you have secure backups of all of your company’s sensitive data, as this can help you to recover quicker in the event of an attack. Make sure that you not only have multiple backups of company data both onsite and in the cloud, but it is critical that you update these backups regularly. Make it a part of your weekly schedule to perform backups, as this will help get you back on your feet in the event of a cyber-attack.
Consider Cyber Insurance
You can also minimize the expense and effect of a cyber-attack by investing in cyber insurance. While many business owners are turned off by the idea of cyber insurance due to the rising cost of premiums, this cost is minimal compared to the expense of recovering from a cyber-attack without insurance, as the costs associated with cyber-attacks are on the rise.
Partner with a Managed IT Service
Of course, your greatest line of defense against a cyber-attack will be your company’s IT services, as experienced IT professionals can work hard to ensure that you have the best cyber-security available. However, for many small to medium-sized businesses, it can be costly to try to staff and maintain an in-house IT department, and it can be even more expensive to invest in researching and implementing the latest cyber-security technology.
This is why many businesses are finding it beneficial to outsource their IT needs to a managed IT service. Partnering with a specialized IT management company, like TC Tech Systems, will give you access to the latest cyber-security technology at a reasonable price, giving you peace-of-mind knowing that your company’s cyber-security is being looked after by the most experienced IT professionals.
Contact our team to help you manage your company’s cyber-security and get a free consultation today.