The internet has expanded its outreach for business functionalities, but it also brings the threat and fear of cyber crime. For that, cyber security is becoming essential for every online business whether it is email correspondence, website maintenance, or network infrastructure. However, cyber security is somehow lacking at some level since its inception. Large businesses have started to comprehend the importance of the security but small businesses use to neglect such security protection. Cyber criminals often targets small business easily, as they seem ripe fruits for hackers. It is essential for small businesses to make clear about few important questions that really reflect on the importance of cyber security.
Understanding the Risk to your Business:
Have you ever thought that lax on cyber security could expose your business to high risk? If small business pays no attention to cyber security, the business money, IT equipment, IT-based services, and IT information (client data, customer data, financial data, product design, and price information) would be at risk. Whether the information is stored on a third party hosted system, own system or devices, it can be exposed to cyber criminals and they can easily take advantage of the valuable data.
Responsible to Pose a Threat:
Your information could be exposed due to negligence, incidentally, or nefarious intention. Company’s former employee, service provider, criminals, or business competitors can take advantage of your unsecure information.
Types of Attack Could Happen:
Attackers target unsecured information and steal in different ways:
- Remote attack on IT system or website
- Unauthorized attack of computers, laptops
- Attacks to third party service providers
- Insider threat (internal employee steals data)
The impact of Cyber Attack:
Cyber attack makes a heavy impact on business in many ways:
- Theft of financial information, bank details, other valuable information
- In case of business interruption there may be a chance of financial loss
- System Restoration cost due to a cyber attack
- Cost of reputation damage and customer loss
- Cost of damage occurred to other companies with whom you are doing business.
Manage the Cyber Risk:
After getting information about the impact of cyber attack, it is necessary to focus on cyber risk management. Generally, it involves three steps: planning, implementation and review.
- It is vital to understand about the important assets require robust protection.
- Identify the level of risk that could influence such assets.
- Prepare legal and compliance policy regarding cyber security and check if your business require to follow personal data security legislation or payment card industry compliances.
- Provide proper training to your senior and junior level employees about cyber safety that will make them aware about their role in keeping business secure.
- If it is needed, take help of security consultants, internet and managed service providers or any security experts.
- Confirm about the recovery process and support in case of any cyber attack incident.
- If a third party handles your business security, it is advisable to check the contract level agreements and keep in touch with the individual whoever is handling the system.
- Antivirus can protect the system as much as possible and alerts you against malware or virus. Install paid antivirus product, which has more features than free antivirus product.
- Keep your software patched in regular time and restrict access of malicious sites or inappropriate websites that try to spread malware or theft your data.
- Use firewall, proxies to strengthen the security of your business network system. Make a list of individuals who can access the network and restrict staff or third party access.
- Keep an inventory of IT equipment and software and make a standardized configuration of all IT equipments.
- Follow BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy in your organization and limit the use of removable media like USB, hard drive, DVDs. Many of US organizations are still now aware about BYOD policy.
- Keep monitoring all activities of network traffic to avert any malicious entry into network system.
- Create a backup of data for reuse in case of any cyber attack incident. Always encrypt the data placed on the hard drive or during data transition.
- If you are running an online business and allow users to login and accepting payments from your clients, it is advisable to make use of SSL encryption technology that saves customers’ login information and data transfer from prying eyes.
- Tell employees to change their password at regular intervals and make it more complex.
- After the planning and implementation of security controls, the company has to keep IT equipments, services, and system under strict monitoring to make sure that everything is under control.
- Before removing any unused or outdated software, check whether it contains sensitive information or not. Keep a proper record of employees’ joining and leaving. All account associated with previous employee should be also deleted.
- In case of any attack, your IT department should find the cause of the attack and resolve security loophole exists in your system.
- Notify your customers about any network attack and assures them about the system restoration via social media, blog or any other source. Inform the police and agencies about the severity of cyber attack.
The USA president Mr. Barack Obama also keyed out cyber crime as one of the most severe economic and national security challenges. Unfortunately, there is less awareness and preparedness of cyber security seen at organization and individual level. The above cyber security tips can help to mitigate cyber attacks at huge level and will keep the business secure and running smoothly.