With cyber crimes against businesses on the rise, it's important to know how to protect your company from attacks. We discuss six essential preventative measures to improve your organization's cyber security.

hacker staring at the screenCyber crimes have been on the rise in a post-COVID world. This is a typical trend following national or international calamities, such as terrorist attacks, mass shootings, pandemics, and natural disasters. When people feel vulnerable and scared, they're more susceptible to scams or hacking.

Cyber criminals largely target businesses with Business Email Compromise (BCE) scams. A BCE scam looks to trick employees into transferring sensitive corporate data or funds into an external account. Or, they may be looking to steal credentials so that they can infiltrate an organization. BCE scams can result in the loss of company funds, the exposure of customer or employee personal data, or the temporary shutdown of company operations. Having a concrete understanding of cyber crimes can help you and your business stay protected. Keep reading for six essential tips every business owner should know to improve their cyber security in Buffalo.

Cyber Crimes on the Rise in 2020

Cyber crimes against businesses have seen a dramatic spike in 2020, and COVID-19 seems to play a significant role. Coronavirus is blamed for a 238% rise in cyber attacks on banks. Some interesting statistics that show an evident increase in attacks this year:

  • Phishing attempts rose 600% since the end of February

  • Ransomeware attacks rose 148% in March

  • Attacks targeting home workers have increased by five times six weeks after lockdown

  • Approximately 5% of coronavirus-related domains are 'suspicious'

  • Visits to hacker websites have risen 66% in March

Coronavirus has left people feeling helpless, which might make them more susceptible to scams and hacking attempts. On the other hand, it's essential to understand that cyber security has been an increasing issue for businesses for years now. A reported 68% of business leaders feel their cyber security risks are increasing.

It should be an organization's priority to understand how cyber attacks happen and how they can minimize their vulnerability.

Common Causes of Data Breach

First, start with the root of the problem. Hackers and cyber criminals are always looking for unprotected systems to attack and infiltrate. Some of the most common causes of data breaches are:

cyber coding attacks
  1. Back Doors and Application Vulnerabilities

  2. Too Many Permissions

  3. Weak or Stolen Credentials (usernames and passwords)

  4. Malware

  5. Improper Configuration

  6. User Error

  7. Insider Threats

  8. Social Engineering

Ensure your organization is proactively working to address any existing cyber vulnerabilities.

Top Six Tips for Preventing Cyber Crimes

Educate Employees

Your employees are like your frontline warriors when it comes to protecting the business from cyber crimes. This is especially true in a COVID world, where more and more people are working from home. Employees should understand basic cyber safety tactics, such as:

  • Having secure passwords

  • Recognizing a suspicious email or website

  • The steps to take after suspecting they've had a security breach

You can educate your employees with regular training sessions, webinars, emails, and newsletters. If the employees don't work in IT, sometimes they don't understand the gravity of a cyber security breach to the business. It can be helpful to educate why cyber security matters and the potential consequences of an attack.

Limit Access

A common practice for organizations today is to limit an employee's access to the data they exclusively need. Gone are the days when an employee with a username and password could access any file or system they want. Limiting user access helps to reduce the risk of human error. The fewer people that have access to data, the less likely there will be a data breach.

Take this one step further by being proactive when employees change departments or leave the organization. Anytime there is a chance, the old username should be deleted so that person can no longer access the content. This process is especially crucial if a disgruntled employee is ever fired.

Install and Activate Software and Hardware Firewalls

Firewall systems are preventative in two ways: they stop employees from browsing inappropriate websites and also prevent malicious hackers from accessing your systems. Ensure you have installed and activated firewalls on every single employee device. This includes networked devices, smartphones, desktops, and laptops. Even off-site employees that use a virtual private network (VPN) can (and should) have a firewall installed.

Encrypt and Back-Up Data

Employees sharing or saving sensitive data (such as payment information, billing, company data, legal contracts, etc.) should always use encryption. Secure passwords should be required to access this data, and passwords should never be sent via email.

We've all received the dreaded email from a company informing us that our private information has possibly been breached. It's a nervewracking experience and often destroys your trust with the company. You want to encrypt and back-up essential customer data to reduce the risk that you ever have a customer information breach.

Dispose of Old Computers, Phones, and Devices Safely

All old work devices should be disposed of responsibly. A hacker can quickly get into a donated device and access important private information. Before giving or throwing out any devices, hardware should be wiped completely.

Conduct Regular IT Audits

The faster a business responds to an IT threat, the less damage will be done. Unfortunately, most companies take a long time to realize they've been compromised. An IBM survey found that it usually takes 280 days to identify and contain a breach. And, the average total cost of a data breach is 3.86 million.

Even with all of the preventative measures on this list, you might miss a cyber attack. You can do your best to protect yourself, but you can't eliminate the possibility of cyber crime on your business. Consider hiring regular IT audits to inspect your cyber security and identify any issues. Companies like MVP Network Consulting specialize in cyber security in Buffalo.

Schedule regular audits either semi-annually or annually. These audits can save you more money at the end of the day if they prevent even one cyber attack on your business.

MVP Network Consulting Offers Cyber Security in Buffalo

MVP Network Consulting offers the premier cyber security services in Buffalo. With MVP Network Consulting, clients receive help managing their entire business, not just their network. Need malware protection and firewalls installed on your network computers Buffalo? We can do it! Need an IT audit that you can actually understand? Unlike the other IT companies Buffalo, our audits are understandable, comprehensive, and actionable. We offer IT consulting, network security services, managed IT services, and more.

Contact us today to see how we can help you protect your business against cyber crimes.