Hackers are always finding new ways to crack into systems and files, mostly to use your data for their own personal reasons. For example, if a hacker captures your customers’ financial data or passwords, you can only imagine what they’ll do next. While many small businesses can fly for years under the radar of sophisticated hackers, technology means that hackers are finding new ways to maximize their effort. If you don’t have a cyber security plan in place, the question of whether or not you’ll be hacked isn’t an “if”, it’s a “when”.
If your business is indeed hacked, you could lose valuable data and even entire systems. Your reputation could suffer if customer data is lost. There’s no doubt you’ve heard about major data breaches in the news. Fortunately, there are ways to strengthen your systems against hackers. First, you’ve got to know your threats.
Know Your Threats: Common Hacking Strategies
The first step is to truly think like a hacker. Hackers want to work smarter, not harder, and the more they can achieve in a short time span, the better. For example, hackers commonly use keyloggers to automatically record anything their victim’s type. This might include credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and passwords. Then, when the time is right, the hacker uses the information as they’d like.
Another common form of hacking is called phishing. You’ve probably heard of this one – it’s in the headlines regularly. When it comes to phishing, hackers will replicate a common website and then send the spoofed link to their victim. When the victim clicks the link and begins entering their information, they get a virus. Then, the virus can be used to capture information, crash systems, and more.
Speaking of viruses, viruses and Trojans can be found in various forms. You might get a virus from an e-mail or a website, and once it’s in your system, it can be spread to your entire network. The fallout from a single virus can be fatal, as they can lock systems, capture data, and cause major damage.
How to Protect Your Business from Hacking Threats
There are many ways you can protect your business from hackers, such as:
1. Properly Maintain Your Password
It’s important to guard your password, first of all, and treat it with exclusivity. Every computer should have a different password, and the passwords should all be changed several times per year. Many companies find it’s easy to change passwords every month, and that’s a great practice. Passwords should be strong, meaning they have varying characters, including symbols and numbers.
2. Choose the Right ISP
Not all internet providers are made equal. Check in your area to see which ISP caters to businesses, and be sure to use an ISP that offers security, such as a firewall and virus protection. Once you’ve found an ISP that offers this sort of protection, then you can assess other important facets such as speed and price.
3. Encrypt Your Data
Encrypting your data, such as financial information for your customers, is critical. If customer data is vulnerable and easy to hack, then it’s open season for hackers. Hackers look for easily accessible data, so if your company isn’t encrypting data, then you’re more likely to become victim to a hacker.
4. Back Up Your Data
We always hear people talking about backing up data, but why is it important? Well, if your systems fail for any reason, having backed up data is helpful. In the case of hacking, having backed up data simply keeps data out of the wrong hands and keeps it in the right hands. If your data isn’t backed up, then you are more likely to be hacked, and if you’re hacked, your data could become locked or corrupted.
5. Use a VPN
A VPN is a great way to keep your data safe. Partnering with well recognized VPN services, your data, traffic, media, financial information, and more is all encrypted and safe from hackers. If you are running a small business and you keep absolutely any data online (which we think you likely do), then you should definitely have a VPN in place.
The Real Key to Online Security
For businesses and individuals alike, layered cybersecurity is the key to stopping hackers. Any one of the items in the list above can be used to help stop hackers, but when you use all those strategies together, you stand a much better chance of keeping hackers out of your systems.
Having a VPN plus a strong ISP, safely stored data, and strong passwords is the best way to protect your company from the threat of being hacked.