Protect Your Business From Cyber Attacks
Cyber attacks inundate news reports, damaging both bank accounts of individuals and reputations of businesses. How are hackers able to do it, and how can you assure your business is protected from this debilitating threat?
Here are some signs that it's time to beef up your business' cyber security plan, and what you can do to better protect yourself and the sensitive customer data you keep on the server of your cheap hosting provider.
Perception of Cyber Security
Did you know that many companies out there today lack a network security plan? In a 2012 study conducted nationwide by Symantec and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) of small businesses, it was discovered that a staggering 83 percent of them had no formal cyber security plan in place. 69 percent of them didn't even have an informal plan! Compare that to this figure: 71 percent of these small businesses rely on the Internet for their day-to-day operations, and just about half of them feel that data hacks won't affect their business in the slightest. Wrong!
If only they had access to the 2011 data compiled by Symantec and the NCSA: cyber attacks cost businesses an average of $188,242, and what's more, about two-thirds of companies affected are forced to close their doors within six months of the attack.
What Can You Do?
The harder a hacker has to work to break into your system, the more likely your data will remain safe. Verizon conducted a study of data breaches occurring in 2011, and discovered that over 80 percent of victims did not have their Wi-Fi systems password protected and demonstrated poor Internet security overall.
If you take the following steps, you'll be able to keep your data safe whether you have a cheap hosting plan or dedicated hosting plan!
Protect Your Business From Cyber Attacks: Encrypt
Do you rely on cheap hosting to keep sensitive data that could lead to the theft of funds from one of your customers? You need to encrypt it to guard against this. According to the senior vice president of worldwide marketing for SMB and .Cloud at Symantec, Steve Cullen, “Anytime you're storing important data, when the data is at rest — which means it isn't being transmitted over the internet somehow — you want it encrypted.”
It is recommended that you put your full-disk encryption tools to good use. They come standard on the majority of operating systems (BitLocker for Windows PCs and FileVault on Macs), and only take a minute or two to activate. As soon as it's activated, it will go to work encrypting each and every file and program located on your drive.
However, there is a problem: users must be logged out of the computer for the data to be encrypted. what does that mean? Hackers can still break in via malware and viruses while the system is in use. To help protect yourself from hackers attacking idle machines, you can set up the computers to log out automatically after 15 minutes of inactivity.
Lock Your Machines Down
What about thieves that physically break into a building to steal hardware? In one instance, burglars stole over $300,000 worth of laptops, cell phones, servers, and other equipment.
Did you know that most desktops and laptops feature something called the Kensington lock port? It's a metal loop located on the device in order to secure it to your desktop. Just that small step could save you from losing money in equipment. Yes, thieves can still get away with your machine, but as Cullen says, “That little bit of time is something criminals usually don't want to take…time is the enemy for anyone breaking into a physical premises.”
Make use of the Kensington locks in your business, rack-mount your hardware, and keep all doors leading to your precious servers closed and locked. If you can, pick up servers from CRU-DataPort. These servers can be locked down with USB security keys, locks, and hardware-level encryption which means that even if thieves do make off with your server, it is useless to them.
Put Your Network On Lockdown
If you can, stick with a wired network in the workplace. If you must choose wireless, disable the SSID broadcasting function on the router so that no one can find you. You can do this even if you offer wireless for your customers: just provide the network name and password where customers can snag it.
This one is a no-brainer! Use a reliable program to scan for and remove viruses and malware as frequently as you can, assuring that you update often to protect yourself against the newest viruses.
If you follow these simple steps, you can rest a little easier at night knowing that your network is safe from cyber theft and hackers, whether you have a cheap hosting plan or not!
Do you have any other tips to share? We'd love to hear about them!