Small and big companies often find themselves at the mercy of hackers, leading to huge losses and a strain in effective and smooth functioning of their daily activities. To curb the likelihood of this happening, I will explain the preventive methods you can take to ensure your company’s safety, but first let us try to decipher the mind of a hacker.
Who is a hacker?
A hacker is a programmer who manipulates the normal working of a computer and its connected networks.
That being said, there are “the bad guys” of hackers; the malicious ones who use such amazing talent for their personal gain, through stealing data and producing malware especially targeting companies and other small business entities.
These bad guys typically gather information about a company, mostly by searching the web, then using that information to exploit weak points in the company’s security systems using malware.
We’ve all heard of the Sony Pictures hacking story -who fell victim to these bad guys- when malware was used to obtain the company’s data. Hackers used the data as a weapon against Sony Pictures by making various demands and exposing sensitive emails, which led to huge losses on Sony’s part.
Mostly, important and confidential information is used against a company in the following instances;
- To manipulate the company by way of extortion, where the attackers hold your information and promise to restore it for a heavy ransom. A hacking software called ‘ransomware’ is used in such cases.
- To make you look like you’re responsible, hackers impersonate your systems to attack someone else or to extort your clients.
- A competitor can decide to level the playing field by using hacking methods to delete your data which can lead to financial loss and disruption of work schedules, hence a loss of reputation and client trust.
- To gain access to your bank accounts and personal credit card information in order to extort your financial accounts; leaving you to take the responsibility.
- To emotionally torment you just because they can.
To help you stay safe, I have compiled a list of 4 practical precautions you can take to keep your data safe and sound.
Don’t Go Overboard Spending on Sophisticated Technology Especially If You Have a Small IT team
While better technology is great, I would minimize expenditure by analyzing my data, knowing which is high-risk and devote more of my resources to ensure that it is appropriately secured. That way, you cut cost and leave the IT team to deal with the general upkeep of systems, to avoid straining them with complexities.
Educate Yourself on Your Systems, and Keep Them Updated
Not only should security programmes such as anti-virus always be kept up to date, you should also always keep your eye on the latest hacking techniques to allow you to recognize and halt hacking on time. Keep in mind that outdated programs compromise your security.
Prepare and Plan for a Recovery Plan If Security Breach Ever Occurs
Bad news is, it’s practically impossible to stop attempts by hackers to infiltrate into your systems. That’s what they do. Good news is, it’s possible to beat the bad guys in their own game. You should learn malware detection techniques by taking the time to learn about hacking recognition. It is worth the effort and time.
Most importantly, an integral part of any company’s IT security strategy is having a logging and back-up system that should always be updated and kept securely.
Educate, Empower and Keep Employees Updated on Security Matters
This is a very cost-effective way to ensure the company’s safety. Make sure everybody gets good training that is tailored to their specific role in the company.
Employees should be on board on the security policy and encourage communication so as to enable users report unusual activities such as duplicates of their bank websites asking for financial details and fishy pop-ups on their screens. Insist that employees must prioritize your security efforts.
Cyber-attacks and the detrimental effects that they have on business organizations are a reality. It doesn’t matter the size or the nature of a company, the looming threat of hackers on a mission to steal information is real, so stay safe!