If some of the high profile data breaches that have impacted Australian financial, insurance and telecommunication industries have taught us anything, it’s that no business is immune from the risk of a cyber attack.
It’s not just the big businesses that get targeted either. Cybersecurity is critical for businesses of all sizes. Breaches, attacks and hacks can severely damage your business.
Here are some tips you can use to keep your business and customer sensitive data safe from potential cyber attacks:
Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is one of your biggest weapons in the war against cyber attacks because it adds a layer of security even if a password is compromised. Make sure you encourage your employees to use strong, complex passwords, keep their passwords private and change them regularly. Don’t allow staff to share logins, give them all their own access to whatever data they need.
Keep software and systems up-to-date
Outdated software and systems often contain vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit; in fact those vulnerabilities are usually why the update was rolled out in the first place. Make sure you and your staff are regularly updating your operating system and software to ensure they have the latest security patches and bug fixes. This is good practice for any system you use, but particularly important for antivirus software, firewalls and your other security tools. .
Back-up data regularly
Regularly backing up data is essential to protect against data loss due to cyber-attacks, hardware failures, or other disasters. Your data should be backed up to an external hard drive or cloud based storage service. This is going to be a key step in getting you back to ‘business as usual’ in a worst case scenario.
Limit Access to sensitive data
Sensitive data may include financial information and other confidential details and access to it should be on a “need to know” basis only. Appropriate security measures such as encryption will also help ensure your most sensitive data is protected. Remember this is the type of information that holds value to hackers.
Conduct Regular Employee Training
Unfortunately employee error is one of the most common causes of cybersecurity. Remember not everyone has the same levels of technical skills and confidence and sometimes the hacks and scams seem very realistic. Set your team up for success and protect your business by providing regular training and communication with employees. Topics to cover include but are not limited to password protection, identifying phishing scams, and handling sensitive data safely.
Audit your IT systems
Sometimes our own IT systems have weaknesses that are virtually holding the door open for hackers and we don’t even realise. We recommend employing an experienced, reputable third party to audit your IT Systems and make security recommendations.
Never assume your business is too big or too small to be targeted. Cybersecurity is crucial no matter your business size or industry and it’s not a “set and forget” practice either, it needs to be regularly considered with preventative measures reviewed and refined. Your local Accru Advisor can give you more information about this.