Data breaches in organizations have been big news over the last year: Home Depot, Target, LinkedIn, eBay, etc. You may think that this only happens to large businesses, but you may be wrong.
A target breach occurred when an employee of a HVAC company opened an email which was malware – laced and it allowed the company’s system to be hacked. The hacking occurred as the company was in contract with one of the Target stores and had remote access to it for maintenance purposes. The initial target might have been a small HVAC company, but the hackers who got access to the smaller company were able to get into Target’s point of sale (POS) system and were able to gather more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers.
A cyber criminal can invade into your computer network through any number of ways and gather confidential information. They often target small businesses as they lack in funds, time and attention to protect themselves with the same kind of security as large companies, making them much more easier to infiltrate.
Following are some essential data safety practices that businesses of all sizes should use:
Implement proper security measures into your website: A popular form of cyber crime involves injecting malware into legitimate and unknowing websites. Once the malware slips into the code of a website, it waits to infect the site visitors. One of the important security measures is to always keep your anti-virus up to date. Never use cracked anti-virus software which is available on torrent and other free websites. Always try and use paid anti-virus software. A company should do regular security audits for web applications. Internal teams should be given training through security workshops.
Use Encryption: Scrambling the data and enabling only the correct key to unscramble it, prevents the data from being useful, in case it is intercepted. This technique can be used to secure any information, traveling through emails and external devices. If the application is storing customer data, use strong encryption while storing the data. Use one way encryption algorithms for the same and always store user password in encrypted forms.
Always update and patch: When vulnerabilities in their products are recognized by software vendors, patches and updates are developed and distributed. Create and maintain automatic policies. Simply turning on automatic updates, is probably the easiest security measure you can take.
Using effective passwords: Accessing a company’s restricted data becomes really easy with a weak password. A password should be at least eight characters long and should include a mix of upper and lower case letters, a special character as well as one number.
It is important to use different passwords for every account and to change them every few months. Otherwise, it becomes very easy for the hacker to crack one password and access everything.
There should be a social media policy for the company: Any information that is shared in social media, even if ‘private’, can be found and shared. This includes any confidential information about your company. As most employees in your company must be using Facebook, it becomes essential to create a social media policy, which clearly states the information that can be shared about the business. Consequences should be outlined, in case somebody fails to follow the rules.
Have back up: No matter what precautions are being taken, a data breach can still take place. Your business can become the victim of a malicious computer virus. The best way of recovering from an attack is restoring all the information from a backup. You should consult an IT professional to understand the best way of taking a back up for all your devices and regularly ensure that the system is operating properly.
The idea is to understand the vulnerabilities that can allow hackers to compromise your company and clients. After identifying the weaknesses, you should work with an IT professional to reduce the risk of an infiltration, as much as possible.