Hackers have officially entered their golden age. Attacks are becoming more widespread, yet many businesses aren’t prioritizing cybersecurity. If business owners knew the true cost of the average cyberattack, they would stop dragging their feet.
The pandemic ushered in a new era of cybercrime.
Malware increased by 358% in 2020. Google has registered over 2 million phishing sites, up 27% since January 2020. And yet, only 14% of small businesses were prepared to protect themselves.
It’s time to get our collective heads out of the sand and accept the new reality. After all, 60% of firms go out of business after they’ve been hacked. It’s time to make cybersecurity a top priority.
Every Business Should Take These Five Steps to Bolster Their Cybersecurity and Defeat Hackers
As we’ve seen with the recent breaches into the U.S. government and well-established cybersecurity firms like FireEye, there is no surefire way to keep hackers out. But you can ensure that you won’t just be a sitting duck like most businesses.
The following five steps will make it exponentially more difficult for hackers to breach your business. And that usually means it won’t be worth their time or effort.
1. Invest In Cybersecurity Tools
This might be the most obvious step of all. Every business should have multiple cybersecurity programs in place. You can start with an anti-virus and anti-malware program. Of course, be sure to have a firewall installed for your network.
If your business operates in the cloud, choose a cloud program that offers the highest level of security.
Check out this video about the top anti-virus software:
It’s also worth considering the benefits of using a VPN (a virtual private network).
2. Train Your Employees
Phishing is one of the most common tactics of hackers. It’s a form of social engineering that cybercriminals use to trick people into handing over their sensitive information. Whether it’s through fake emails, fake websites, or even fake relationships, this is where hackers get creative.
Employees need to be trained to spot phishing attempts. Luckily, we already have a guide to help get you started on that journey.
3. Backup Your Data
Ransomware is the other most common hacking technique. And quite often, it’s the most devastating. These attacks occur when a hacker can get ransomware into your network (sometimes through phishing). Once in your network, cybercriminals can shut down your entire network and hold it for ransom.
The average ransomware demand in 2020 was $233,817. 1 in 5 small businesses and 4 in 5 mid-size businesses were attacked with ransomware last year.
One way to avoid this outcome is to back up your data outside your network. This will significantly reduce the leverage of the cybercriminal.
Here’s an informational guide from the FTC about ransomware and small businesses:
4. Create a Culture of Security
If cybersecurity is your priority, it should be the priority of your entire firm. Share your goals with your employees and help them feel involved.
Simplifying ideas can also go a long way. Even basic cybersecurity concepts can sound complex to people who are unfamiliar with them. Figure out a way to break down essential concepts into a digestible format.
And if possible, limit access to sensitive files to a select few.
5. Always Have a Plan
While all these steps will greatly increase your protection, nobody is entirely immune to cyber attacks. That’s why your business should have a plan for the worst-case scenario.
Ransomware criminals can leverage the sense of panic they induce in unsuspecting victims. This might cause them to pay up when they shouldn’t. If you have a plan in place, these hackers won’t be able to catch you off guard.
Featured image by Midjourney and Jonas Borchgrevink.