data gatheringThe past couple of months have been a huge wake-up call for businesses in terms of their cyber security. With large enterprises such as Equifax being successfully attacked, costing the company billions, as well as their reputation as a reliable service to trust–there is no longer any doubts regarding the importance of protecting company-sensitive information.

Big Data and automation brings huge business benefits but all of that data and reliance on technology also introduces major security challenges. Protecting your business from cyber criminals is easier said than done. For every new security measure you integrate into your business–cyber criminals mastermind a new method to circumvent your security and access critical data.

This doesn’t mean you can’t protect your data from hackers. Here are some techniques which you can implement that will greatly diminish the chance of being successfully hacked:

Encrypt Business Critical Data to Mitigate the Risk of Being Hacked

Think about all the customers that your company has gathered personal credentials on in the last year alone. Imagine having to explain that your data has been breached, and is in the looming grasp of an unidentified cyber criminal? This is not a conversation that any CEO should have to initiate. This goes for any business of course, but imagine this in an industry like healthcare, where sensitive information of all kinds is held on internal systems and by physicians. It’s for this reason that healthcare businesses should prioritise hipaa compliant texting and data systems so that physicians can discuss patient treatment and information without worry of the information being intercepted or compromised. The same should go for businesses in other sectors, even if they don’t have an equivalent of HIPAA to comply with.

It is important to encrypt all sensitive data. Good data protection practices also include making use of trusted, and credible financial service providers such as PayPal or Google Wallet.

Ensure That Your Security Software is Up To Date

Your employees are immensely valuable to the daily operations of your business. At the same time, due to their daily interaction with company-sensitive information, they are also your Achilles heel.

In order to reduce the risk of viruses such as malware and spyware, it is important to keep your antivirus software up to date. Employees are known to browse “shady” websites for entertainment now and then during a workday – it is inevitable in most establishments.

However, if you wish to mitigate the risk to your company – it is important to limit the sites that can be accessed through work terminals to diminish the window of opportunity for an attack against your company.

Physical Security Has Never Been More Important

The mistake that many businesses make is focusing solely on online security and neglecting to secure their physical assets–this doesn’t mean you have to hire people to guard your computers. However, you should consider the physical security of you, your team, and your workplace, is just as important as your cybersecurity.

Through doing this you eradicate the chance of a physical breach of data – such as stolen hardware. This may not stop the typical thief, but it will make them reconsider whether the job is worth the time and effort it will take.

Protect Yourself from Common Cybercriminal Techniques

Cyber criminals work diligently to find vulnerabilities in a company’s security. The smallest flaw in your security is a door wide open for any looming, knowledgeable cybercriminal. The good news is that there are fairly easy patches to rectify vulnerabilities in your security system.

One common form of cyber attacking is SQL (structured query language) injection. Essentially, criminals focus on placing questions to your e-commerce site in order to extract sensitive information from your database.

Another frequently used technique is known as cross-site scripting. This attack focuses on extracting data from unwitting consumers, who are intercepted while they load your page, and taken to a malicious website.

Both of these attack strategies can cause irreparable harm to your business. This just emphasizes the importance of ensuring that you implement the use of a trusted e-commerce platform. The good news is that due to the online nature of these web-platform techniques, you can prevent the risk by implementing a web application firewall protocol.

Secure Your Data in Case of Emergencies

Oftentimes, ransomware is injected into a business database. When criminals hit your business, their main objective is to blackmail you with your own data. Although, the cost Is different depending on the malicious intent of the hacker. However, one thing is for certain – it will be costly to your business.

If you’re starting to wonder how you can afford to make these changes, consider cutting back costs in your business to give you some more spending money. For example, consider automating your accounts payable department. This will prevent you from overpaying your employees to do a task that can be done through payment software.

Malicious breaches will also drastically diminish the trust that customers place into your establishment. In order to reduce the risk of being blackmailed with ransomware, businesses are advised to implement an effective disaster recovery tool for their businesses.

Not only will this protect you from the consequences of cybercrime–but it will also mitigate the risk of losing data during severe incidents such as natural disasters.

Stay on Top of it and Embrace Security

Unfortunately, it’s possible that your business can still be hacked no matter how hard you try to avoid it. Keeping your staff educated is a huge way you can keep your business as safe as possible. The last thing you want is for your employers to start caring after an attack has already taken place. As long as you are prepared, you can possibly stop the attack before it ruins all of your data.