Not all the threats facing companies today are from things like stiff competition and waning consumer demand. Sadly, criminals can now more easily target businesses thanks to the advent of the internet. According to Forbes, about 30,000 sites are hacked every single day. Hacking and cyber-crime at are an all-time high, and things are likely to get worse.
If you want to protect your business’s livelihood, you are going to need to protect your business computers. Below are three ways to keep them secure.
1. Limit Access to Sensitive Data
Most business owners would like to think that cyber-crime can only originate from criminals and hackers located thousands of miles away in foreign third world nations. Sadly, this is not anywhere near the truth. A good portion of cyber-crime actually originates from within a company’s own personnel.
Things like corporate espionage are very real and must be guarded against through digital security measures. Today, a company’s intellectual property, patents and trade secrets are much more important to preserving profit margins than ever before. These things can certainly be stolen by employees that have company network access and then sold to other companies wishing to gain an edge in the market.
Overall, only certain individuals in the company network should have access to certain kinds of data. This is certainly true for customers’ credit card information. If everyone within the network can access credit card data, the data will certainly be stolen and used to make purchases by third parties. People lower in the organization, such as new-hires, should be given extremely limited access. Only people with the proper expertise and experience within the organization should be granted access to sensitive data via password log-in within the company network.
2. Obtain a Third Party Assessment
Many companies like to assume they have their computer security under control. They have IT professionals in the organization with years of experience that perform their own security tests on a routine basis. However, many companies do this, and it still does not protect them. According to USA Today, 43 percent of companies have had their data breeched. Many of those companies experienced millions of dollars losses as a result. Even if you manage to fix the breech and make victimized customers whole again, the negative PR can have a destabilizing impact on your brand. Why would a consumer do business with you if it could result in their identity being stolen?
The reason why companies that put a lot of effort into cyber security still fail is because of tunnel vision. IT professionals who were trained years ago may not be as up to snuff in regards to newer hacking methods and security protocols. You may be stuck in the old way of doing things without even knowing it. As with anything regarding technology, cyber-crime evolves rapidly.
One solution, however, is to have your company computers and networks assessed by a third party for security vulnerabilities. Some of these companies employ what are known as white hat hackers. White hats use hacking techniques but only for just purposes. They find vulnerabilities for companies and government institutions and help them patch the security holes so black hat hackers won’t be able to take advantage of those vulnerabilities.
3. Secure Employee Internet Access
“Not all major security breaches, however, come from hackers actively trying to break into a company network,” said Net Integration, LLC. Some of them occur because malware, spyware, viruses, Trojans and more were unwittingly downloaded by employees onto company computers. These programs either go on to wreck havoc on the computers and network or create backdoor openings that criminals and hackers can later use to gain access to the kind of data they want.
If you want to secure your business computers, you need to secure employee internet access. Make sure things like virus and malware scanners are installed on internet browsers on company computers. While a “bring your own device” policy may sound like a good cost cutting measure, it can actually leave your company open to more cyber threats.
Instead, it may be best not to allow most employees to access company files while on their own machines that you have no control over. You also need to actively train employees on how to detect threats like suspicious attachments and phishing scams.