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8 Cybersecurity Tips for Your Business

Posted by Guest Contributor on December 06, 2017


Prime Advantage has invited industry experts to share insights on achieving manufacturing and business success. In this post, Digital Strategist, Danish Wadhwa, discusses how you can keep your company cyber-safe and secure.

securing-business-datasurvey by Nationwide informs that about eight in 10 small business owners do not have a plan to respond to the cyber-attack, even though most of them (63%) have previously suffered from at least one type of cyber-attack.

The Internet helps businesses of any size or location to enter larger markets and provides new opportunities to work efficiently using computer-based tools. Whether you are planning to adopt cloud computing or only using email and maintaining a website, cybersecurity should be an essential part of the plan.

Digital information theft is the most commonly reported fraud, surpassing even physical theft. When running a business, you are responsible for creating a culture of security that will boost up business and consumer confidence. The FCC helped with this endeavor by launching the Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0, an online resource that helps small businesses develop customized cybersecurity plans.

The FCC has also updated its one-page Cybersecurity Tip Sheet. The quick resource includes new tips for developing a mobile device action plan and online payment and credit card protection.

Multifactor Authentication

Authentication is the act of affirming an identity (whether a user, device, or machine) by comparing given credentials against the current database of authorized identities, before providing access to a given application or system. “Either from a business or a personal perspective, MFA is something you can do quickly and regularly. Companies do not have any excuse not to perform this right away," according to Microsoft's Matt Littleton.

This can be accomplished with any email service provider. Go through your security settings and make sure every employee enters their cell phone number as a second factor of safety. For instance, if an attacker hacks your password, he or she cannot use it unless they have your cell phone and know the PIN.

Calling an IT Security Consultant

“There are many things you cannot do alone being a small business owner," according to ADP's Bill O'Connell. When it comes to important contracts, you are likely to take legal advice from outside sources. Just like having an accountant for annual and quarterly financials. The same principle applies to security experts. Whenever you test your site to check whether it is web-safe or to perform a risk assessment, you need to call an IT security consultant if you don't have the expertise to do it yourself. It’s about understanding when you need help.

Beware of Public Wi-Fi

The laws and regulations that check cybersecurity in other countries are not the same as those governing in the U.S. Free Wi-Fi access is appealing for business but it can also make you vulnerable to security thefts.

You should avoid unencrypted Wi-Fi networks and inquire about security protocol from a hotel manager before connecting to the Web. While using internet cafes and free Wi-Fi hotspots, be extra cautious; if you use them, then refrain from accessing personal accounts or confidential data while connected to that network.

Disable Auto-Connect

Almost all phones in the U.S. have a setting that allows a device to connect to Wi-Fi networks automatically as you pass through them during your regular activities. While this is an excellent feature when used at home, it’s not something you should allow while going abroad. When you travel to another place, change this setting so that your device must be connected manually when you want to access the Web.

Create a Strong Password

Many online accounts and services require passwords, and it is likely that you or your employees use the same passwords. This makes it easy for hackers to enter a single account and gain access to your complete digital portfolio. You can prevent this by ensuring everyone in your company uses strong and unique passwords for different accounts, and changes them every two months. This will maximize your cloud security.

Sensitive accounts, like financial institutions, employ multi-factor authentication, which requires a piece of information for access. You should consider a digital password manager to store all your sign-in information and help manage your passwords.

Watch All Devices

Gadgets like laptops, smart phones, and tablets are particularly challenging to secure, especially those with critical data or that are connected to the company network.

The baseline for securing these devices — and your critical data — begins with robust data encryption. Set your devices to lock after a brief idle time, with a secure authentication password so that hackers cannot unlock it.

Take a step further and install software and security apps to get automatic updates, which block hackers so that they can’t access critical data while the device is on a public network. The best way to stop this from happening is to set up a VPN (virtual private network) connection for your employees to use when out of the office.

Switch to HTTPs

HTTPs websites have a TLS/SSL Certificate installed on their servers. This certificate encrypts and protects all data transmitted from browser to server, whether that’s financial or personal information submitted through the contents of the webpage or the site, from eavesdroppers, malicious parties, or government surveillance. SSL Certificates help to connect your brand identity to your web presence and informs visitors that your company’s website is not an imposter phishing site. EV SSL makes this even clearer by turning the address bar green along with displaying your company’s name.

Go to the Cloud

A cloud is a valuable tool, particularly for those who want to outsource the protection of their data to a larger company. It is essential to ensure that you have all the facts when signing up with a cloud provider.  It’s important to know where they keep their data centers and all the areas where they store and access your valuable information.

Topics: Analytics and Technology, Industry News

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