Cybersecurity breaches are becoming an ever more prominent concern for businesses of all sizes and types. Over the last few years, there have been several examples of high profile cyber-attacks on companies, which in some cases have caused significant damage to a business’ reputation, and in others have had a severe impact on their customers.
In light of high profile cases such as the Equifax breach, many smaller businesses are waking up to dangers of poor cybersecurity practices. The following easily implemented measures will help keep your network safe.
Use a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) can enhance the security of your network while drastically improving your online privacy as well. VPNs have been widely used for quite some time now. When it comes to business using a VPN service, the technology itself is primarily utilized to establish secure connectivity and communication.
When you connect to the internet via a VPN, your computer will first connect to the VPN server, and then to the internet. High quality VPN services create a secure tunnel for your data flow which is not being logged or recorded by any third party. Additionally, it encrypts all traffic and masks your IP address.
With the help of a VPN, you’ll be able to ensure your networks security, online anonymity and privacy in just a few simple steps as most contemporary VPN tools come with a simple and intuitive UI.
Use Antivirus Software
There is a plethora of options when it comes to antivirus software. With a decent one active on your system, the chances, of infecting it with some devious piece of software, will significantly drop.
The most sophisticated antivirus application can analyze files and determine whether they are likely to act maliciously or contain malicious code. All of that is done with the help of databases which are updated continuously so the antivirus tool would be able to identify and terminate any suspicious application automatically.
Use a Firewall
A firewall serves as a kind of filter for your internet traffic. You can think of it as a security door that’s in between your computer/network and the internet. Any data that is sent to, or received from, an external network, including the internet, must first pass through the firewall.
What data is allowed to pass through the firewall will depend on the settings.
Many firewalls (including the native ones) use an array of methods, to filler out the potentially dangerous content. You, as a user, can take charge and fine-tune those settings to suit your specific needs.
Enable Automatic Updates
Updates, either to individual pieces of software, or entire systems, will contain security patches and bug fixes which will minimize the chances of you suffering security breaches.
Whenever updates for your system become available, you should take advantage and install them as soon as possible. This is the simplest way of ensuring that you are protected against new threats.
Regularly backing up your systems will ensure that, should the worst occur, you will be able to minimize your losses. By setting up an automatic backup schedule, you can ensure that your systems are backed up on a daily basis; or even more frequently if you desire.
Make sure that you also keep physical backups that are not connected to your network. This is important in case your entire network becomes compromised.
Encrypting sensitive data will ensure that, even if an attacker manages to hack into your systems and steal it, only those with a key will be able to read and edit it. This is standard practice for things like user passwords and credit card information, but it is relatively easy to ensure that any personal data you hold is encrypted and, therefore, protected at all times.
Encourage Good Online Habits
Even with all the best security measures in place, all it takes is one reckless person to undermine them all. You should encourage a culture of safe and careful internet usage within your business.
Emphasize to your team members the importance of not using business networks for personal browsing activities and emphasize that they should never download any files onto the business network which seems suspicious in any way. It’s essential to note that email attachments are frequently used as a distribution method by malware developers.
Often such attachments are disguised as something important so that the user would open it as soon as possible. It is critical to highlight that something as simple as practicing safe browsing habits could be just as helpful as using a professional antivirus tool.
Keeping your business’ computers and network safe from cyber-attacks is something that you should always be mindful of. But it is also important to realize just how easy it is to stay safe. The majority of data breaches don’t result from the incredible sophistication of the attackers, but rather from human error and a failure to observe the best practices outlined above.