Cybercrime is a continually evolving threat. It targets individuals and businesses of all sizes, and can present an enormous risk to your proprietary data, stored client data and financial accounts, not to mention the reputation damage incurred after a breach.
How to Protect Your Business From Cyber Criminals
Taking the time to familiarize yourself with common cybercrime risks and how to avoid or mitigate the damage they cause can help guard against harm to your business.
1) Financial risk
The convenience and speed of online and mobile banking is a wonderful benefit to our digital world, but all those payments and transfers carry a risk of being intercepted by hackers. You may think you know how to spot a phishing scam a mile away, but be cautions of the ever-more sophisticated techniques cyber criminals use to gain access to your accounts and divert funds.
Tips include using only approved, secure (https) logins with double sign-in protection, never reusing passwords (use a password manager), never giving identification over email or phone, and screening calls on digital devices. Identity theft is a related risk for individuals as well as businesses.
2) Network risk
Proprietary tools; systems, processes or intellectual property, internal communications, client records, financial records, financial accounts – if stored on an internet-connected server or in the cloud, and accessed by vulnerable terminals, all can be vulnerable to hackers.
And smaller businesses aren’t exempt from attack. Their less-secure systems and practices make them an appealing target. Find an IT contractor with experience in cybersecurity to regularly audit your network to guard against data breaches.
3) Contractor risk
It may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to cybercrime, but the contractors that support your business can cost you through misleading, mistaken, or purposefully damaging arrangements. Whether it’s through shady online businesses misrepresenting or simply not providing agreed-upon services, or tax avoidance schemes by specialists, service providers and other staff, one way to place a filter between potential risks and your business is by using an umbrella company.
Umbrella companies mediate services disagreements and ensure correct paperwork, payment and taxation to avoid surprises down the road. Small businesses in particular can benefit enormously from the access to specialist talent that contracting provides, but make sure you have a plan to avoid bad contractor risk first.
4) Connectivity risk
While much cybercrime is oriented around theft, some is simply malicious. Attacks can shut down critical services, wipe out records, damage or destroy your equipment, or keep you out of systems for hours or days. This risk also demands excellent IT services, whether in-house or remotely contracted, to catalogue a comprehensive list of digital resources and ensure all are appropriately insulated and guarded – and to support a faster recovery in the event of any unavoidable attacks.
Reports have established up to 97% of businesses have already experienced some form of attack. Be prepared before catastrophic damage is done to your records, your finances, or your reputation by proactively taking steps to protect your business from cybercrime today. 🙂