Multinational cybercrime could ring up an eye-popping $6 trillion bill annually by 2021, a shocking figure that would be the biggest wealth transfer the world has ever seen. Because cyber attacks are enormously profitable, every business is at risk for electronic mischief like viruses and ransomware, web jacking, denial-of-service attacks, technology piracy, information theft and much more.
What is a business to do? Know that cybercriminals, like all crooks, seek easy and fast pickings. Taking basic protective steps across three tiers of business activity goes a long way toward shielding your company and your livelihood.
Doing business in the world: Wi-Fi networks can be vulnerable to hackers, so secure, encrypt and hide yours. Don’t broadcast your network name, and protect router access with a strong password. Keep unauthorized users from accessing business electronics in the field, too. Because laptops and cell phones are easy to lose, install systems that encrypt and password-protect information and automatically lock up data with timed programs. Contracting a cybersecurity expert to audit your systems is another smart tactic.
Doing business in your workplace: Good planning and regular housekeeping help secure operating systems against attack. Install antivirus and anti-malware software – then use it. Cybercriminals often break in this way because employees themselves disable or disregard built-in protections. Regularly update your operating systems, because bad actors regularly exploit this vulnerability. Encrypt sensitive data and set up access levels for different data types – not everyone in your company needs to see everything. Finally, regularly back up data to the cloud or external drives.
Doing business as employees: Employees accessing your systems remotely represent significant opportunities for cybercriminals. Two-factor authentication – when an employee requests remote login, your system sends a unique code to the user’s on-file cell phone number – boosts security. Set up computer terminals and devices to automatically log out users if they are inactive for longer than 10 minutes.
Curious about other methods for bolting your company’s electronic doorway against intruders? Visit https://www.fcc.gov/general/cybersecurity-small-business