Businesses have had to make a lot of changes in the last few months due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Many have had to shut down their businesses, while some have had to send their employees home to work remotely. This new mode of working from home can bring about all kinds of security problems for businesses, especially if employees don’t have the robust security software installed on their home computers or mobile devices. And if the business themselves haven’t implemented security protocols to protect themselves from various cyber threats, it could mean the loss of profits and client trust.
If you run a business and you’re not sure what the cyber threats are, here are some security issues you need to look out for.
Phishing and Malware
Phishing is a form of cyberattack that uses emails disguised as well-known institutions that deceive users into disclosing their private information for malicious use. No longer a simple case of a Nigerian prince offering to transfer millions into your bank account, phishing has become more sophisticated and hard to notice if you’re not careful. Some emails pretend to be urgent messages requiring you to log in to a legitimately-looking website. As soon as you log in, you have allowed the cyber-criminals to access your credentials or even discreetly downloaded malware from an attached link. And more recently, the news of ransomware attacks on small businesses, large corporations, and government offices should motivate you into upgrading your cybersecurity. If you suspect an email is malicious:
- do not open the email, or click on any link
- inform your IT security specialist
To enhance security, install anti-malware software, and keep continuous updates from trusted sources. Perform system backups and store them offline and test your backups to make sure they run without any problems.
Passwords should be unique and not reused for more than 30 to 90 days. If you were unable to secure the passwords of your remote-working employees at the start of the pandemic, your business must implement a multi-factor authentication system as soon as possible. This move is not just to secure their accounts but also to avoid reusing passwords on different accounts, which can be vulnerable to hacking.
A system or software that is not updated regularly is prone to cyberattacks. It is imperative for your business that all devices are configured securely and updated regularly. These include computers, laptops, phones, and routers at the office and at home, not just for you, the business owner, but also for your employees. This will reduce the threat of cyberattacks, as software updates help keep track of any new threats that may come your way.
Because of social distancing, much of the new normal is remote working, and employees nowadays have to meet face-to-face via video conferencing, and, as such, require secure passwords and network security. These network connections can be vulnerable to cyberattacks if not secured. These meetings must be kept password-protected and private.
An employee opening a phishing email and clicking on an infected attachment file can be a disaster! A cybersecurity plan, including security protocols and security compliance training to all your employees, will provide them with cybersecurity awareness. That alone can help prevent data breaches and other security incidents from occurring.
Some businesses, especially car dealerships, have recently become the target of cyberattacks as their systems are outdated and contain vast amounts of customer data that includes bank account information, credit applications, credit scores, and social security numbers. These attacks can be devastating, and the business can face civil penalties, fines, legal fees, loss of revenue, lawsuits, loss of reputation, and so on. Most of the cyberattacks came in the form of phishing emails with attachments infected with viruses or malware. Some were even ransomware. In fact, in December last year, a ransomware attack in the city of New Orleans cost financial damage of at least $7 million. The cyberattack affected government systems and more than 4,000 government computers, shutting down the city temporarily.
One of the best ways to protect your business against cyberattacks is to partner with a reliable IT service to help maintain data security compliance.
Whether you’re hiring IT services for car dealerships, restaurants, or retailers, the important thing is you minimize the risk of a data breach. Doing so also helps you keep track of current threats and make sure counter-measures are in place. In this day and age, having a secure business network could make a difference between thriving or closure.