The internet has never been more dangerous, and things are only getting worse. Today’s digital criminals are sophisticated, aggressive, and ruthless, and they are becoming more and more adept at attacking businesses.
Just about every company today has significant amounts of exposure to the risk of potentially devastating cyber crime. A single incident can cost a business millions of dollars or many years’ worth of hard-won reputation.
Fortunately, there are some ways to stay safe from even the most determined and effective of cyber criminals. Take the following four steps and your business will be better protected against even the most dangerous of digital security threats.
1. Conduct a Thorough Assessment
Many businesses cobble together digital security strategies, and then simply hope for the best. Criminals tend to be a lot more thoughtful and focused, and that can allow the wrong people to discover glaring weaknesses.
Schedule a Cyber Readiness Assessment instead, and benevolent experts will point out any flaws that need to be addressed. Whether that means replacing an aging, vulnerable router or something else entirely, a thorough analysis of the current situation will always make for a good place to start.
2. Keep Software Up to Date
Just about every reasonably complex piece of software includes vulnerabilities that criminals can exploit. These often get discovered and resolved only months or longer after a system has been deployed.
Failing to keep up with the latest vulnerabilities and patches will always expose a company to danger. In some cases, targeted attacks on businesses have revolved around the exploitation of bugs that were known to have existed for years.
It can be challenging for a company to make sure all of its systems are running the latest versions of software. This is one of the reasons for the rise of cloud-based software, since using it relieves businesses of this burden.
3. Train Every Worker Properly
Even when a business’s digital assets have been locked down thoroughly, human beings create weak points that cyber criminals can exploit. Law enforcement agencies like the FBI regularly warn that something as simple as opening an attachment can expose an entire business to a devastating attack.
Everyone in a business who has access to a computer needs to be trained how to remain safe. Nowadays, that often includes being aware of the possibility of surprisingly sophisticated threats. Schemes where criminals impersonate high-ranking executives to arrange financial transfers, for instance, have become increasingly common.
4. Have a Backup Plan
It will always be best to do everything possible to avoid falling prey to a digital attack. Assuming that this will be achievable in practice, though, is a recipe for disaster.
Every business should develop plans that will minimize the damage done by any type of cyber crime. With so-called “ransomware” attacks still being common, having fresh, redundant backups on hand at all times will always be advisable.
Businesses should also figure out how beforehand how they will communicate news of a successful future attack. Too much information delivered in the wrong way can actually amplify the damage that will end up being done. At the same time, clamming up and refusing to divulge any details at all can make an entire company seem less trustworthy.
It is unfortunate, but cyber crime has reached a level such that companies need to consider guarding against it a basic cost of doing business. Luckily, keeping up with the four measures above should make a business safer.