Long gone are the days when malicious code would do nothing more than slow down a computer or create unwanted ads. Cyber criminals are more advanced than ever, and many of them have turned their attention to companies that do some or all of their business online. It is more important than ever for all business owners and leaders to understand the steps that they can take to protect their company, their employees, and their clients from these attacks.
Don’t Ignore Software Updates
Ongoing software updates might seem like an inconvenience, but it is vital that you and your employees never skip even a single update. For many types of software, the vast majority of updates are actually security patches when new vulnerabilities are discovered. As we make the continuous transition to mobile devices, it is also important that your tablets and smartphones stay updated as well.
Make Strong Passwords Mandatory
Every single employee in your company should have a strong and unique password for every single device and program that they use. At the minimum, passwords should be at least eight digits long and contain both letters and numbers. Passwords must also be changed at least once a month and you should avoid the use of any common names or phrases.
Train Your Employees
Not every employee will need to have extensive cyber security training, but it is never a bad idea to go over the basics with everyone on your staff. In addition to creating safe passwords, any employees that have access to company information or will be using company devices should understand what they can do to protect their information. This includes avoiding unusual links and only using secured wireless networks.
Limit the Amount of Customer Data That You Store
Modern cyber criminals attack companies to make money, and there will be less money for these criminals if you only store a small amount of data. It is typically your customers’ data that they are looking for, especially if you process banking information through your website. Once you are done using this information to process a transaction, you should make a point of deleting it as soon as possible.
Your company will never be 100 percent protected from cyber-attacks, but carefully training your employees and practicing a little bit of caution will reduce your risk of an expensive and devastating breach.
About the Author:
Emma is a freelance writer from Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and business. Information used in this article was provided by web security experts who are enrolled in criminal justice programs to better understand cybercrime and digital security. To see more from Emma, say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2