Online business may have its benefits, but there is also a greater chance of hoaxes and cyber threats. The credibility of your business could be negatively affected by a successful cyber-attack. Therefore, safeguarding your business against cyber-attack is a crucial concern. That if not prevented may require a reestablishment of the business. In the extreme scenarios, it may even force you out of business permanently because you won’t be able to make up the lost revenue and customer loyalty as clients want to feel safe in transactions. The good news is that you may take preventative action and safeguard your company before it’s too late by choosing from a selection of cyber insurance alternatives.
Preventive measures against cyber threats
1. Installation of Devices and Network Security Software
Verify that your operating system and security applications are set to update automatically. Updates might include vital security upgrades for recent malware and threats. Most updates allow you to schedule them at a time that is more convenient for you, typically after office hours. It’s imperative to consistently follow update prompts since updates frequently fix serious security issues. Install security software to help prevent infection on the business PCs and mobile devices. To prevent compromise on business laptops, desktops, and mobile devices, the software should have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam filters. Setting up a firewall between your working devices and the internet acts as a gatekeeper for traffic entering and leaving. Maintain a robust firewall by regularly updating to the newest patches.
2. Passphrase use and setting up several authenticators
If possible, take extra precautions to make your security more difficult to access because you do not want to lose your company to hackers. Instead of using passwords, use passphrases to secure your networks and devices that house sensitive company data. Passphrases are phrases or collections of words that are used as passwords. Humans find them easy to memorize, but computers find them challenging to decipher. A secure passphrase needs to be at least 14 characters long and include a mix of capital and lowercase letters, digits, and special characters. For each of your accounts, use a different passphrase. If you are serious about protecting your company, changing passwords to passphrases is insufficient. To ensure that the legitimate owners are granting access, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is used in this situation. Before you can access your account, two or more forms of identification must be shown. Additional security for your accounts is provided by two-factor or multi-factor authentication.
3. Protect sensitive information
The data that will be sent into and out of your company system needs to be encrypted after you’ve configured your authenticators. Before sending your data over the internet, encryption transforms it into a hidden code. Make sure your network encryption is enabled and that all data received or stored online is encrypted. This lowers the danger of theft, destruction, or tampering by limiting data access to parties that possess the encryption key. When utilizing a public network, you can enable network encryption by adjusting the settings on your router or by setting up a virtual private network (VPN) program on your computer.
4. Backup your data
Data backup is one of the cheapest ways to guarantee that your information can be retrieved in the event of a cyber-incident or computer issue. Additionally, it is a less demanding technique to prevent future attacks. Although firewalls, antivirus software, and other security measures may malfunction, keeping a backup provides you the advantage over attackers. To assist ensure the protection of your data, use a range of backup techniques, like routine incremental backups to a mobile device or cloud storage. Include weekly, quarterly, and yearly server backups as well. It should be regularly checked to see if this data is functioning properly and can be recovered. Store several copies of your backup offline, if possible.
5. Your business’s safety is your employees’ safety
Your staff and device operators are responsible for your company’s security. Businesses should have clear cyber security policies that inform staff on what is appropriate while sharing data, using computers and other devices, and visiting websites. Your personnel should receive internet safety instruction making them aware of the dangers they can encounter and their responsibility for keeping your company safe. Hackers might have their access restricted by creating a culture of awareness. This is why it is so important to teach them how to recognize, avoid, and handle a cyber-attack, use strong passwords and passphrases.
Keep track of all the computing hardware and applications that your company employs. All the hardware and software that your company employs must be documented. Any software and hardware that are no longer in use should be disconnected from the network, and sensitive data should be deleted. Older, inactive hardware and software won’t likely be updated, and they could be exploited as a “backdoor” by thieves to attack companies. In a similar vein, you ought to deny access to former workers and people who have switched roles and no longer need it.
6. Business continuity is based on customers’ safety
It’s crucial that you protect the information about your clients. Your company’s reputation will suffer if you misplace or compromise their information, and you risk legal repercussions. Make sure your company invests in a safe online transaction environment and protects any stored personal customer data. Find out what your payment gateway provider can do to stop online payment fraud if you accept payments online. Consider purchasing cyber insurance to safeguard your company. Dealing with a cyber-attack may cost far more than simply replacing computers, enhancing security, or repairing databases. Your company may benefit from the cost savings provided by cyber liability insurance coverage for attack recovery.
Emmanuel Otori has over 9 years of experience working with 100 start-ups and SMEs across Nigeria. He has worked on the Growth and Employment (GEM) Project of the World Bank, GiZ, Consulted for businesses at the Abuja Enterprise Agency, Novustack, Splitspot and NITDA. He is the Chief Executive Officer at Abuja Data School.