In today's world, some threats just feel more real than others. As a business owner, you're probably worried about someone breaking into your store or office and running off with all your equipment. That's a valid concern. But there are other threats you should be worried about too, even though they don't feel as pressing.
Cyberthreats are dangerous because they're often hiding in the background. They seem distant, some even far-fetched, and worrying about them can make you feel paranoid. You might think, "Why would anyone target little ol' me?" But the statistics tell another story. Phishing attacks increased by a whopping 55 percent last year, and experts estimate that cybercrime will cost businesses more than $2 trillion by 2019.
The unfortunate reality is that cyberattacks threaten every business, whether it's a small company or a Fortune 500 corporation. If you're doing these things, you're sabotaging the security of your records, finances and even the private information of your customers.
1. Failing to backup your data
One of the largest cyberthreats of 2016. If you don't know what ransomware is, it's a virus that encrypts all of your files so that you can't access them. The only way to get your files back is to pay the fee or "ransom." But, even if you pay up, there's no guarantee the crooks will live up to their word. Sadly, many victims never see their files again.
That's why we recommend that you backup all of your computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones with IDrive. One of the main things we love about IDrive is that it allows you to backup all of your devices to a single account, and all for around $6 per month.
IDrive's Universal Backup covers all of the operating systems including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android and Windows Mobile. Plus, you can take advantage of the social media backup tool, and create a safe archive for the posts, photos and videos you've shared on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. And as a Kim Komando listener, you can protect all of your devices at an extremely low cost! Click here to save 50 percent on 1 TB of cloud backup storage. Just be sure to use promo code KIM at checkout!
2. Believing in a firewall is enough to keep hackers out
In the early days of the internet, a strong firewall was typically enough to keep your network private. But that's not the case anymore. Hackers have developed increasingly sophisticated attacks designed to infect your system with malware.
These days, the vast majority of breaches occur because an unwitting employee opens a malicious email attachment. These emails are called phishing attacks, and they're designed to fool the email recipient into unleashing the malware hiding inside. This malware can then spread throughout the network and spy on the victims, or worse, encrypt your records with ransomware.
If you'd really like to lock down your company's network, it's a good idea to hire an IT professional. However, there's one thing you can do to ensure your financial records are at least protected against any breaches of your system. Click here to see how setting your accountant up with two computers could save your business from disaster.
3. Treating passwords as optional
Let's be honest: No one wants to enter in an 18-character password each time they need to log into their computer. Especially, when you're at work and need to meet deadline after deadline. But, no matter how many complaints you receive about the inconvenience, you need to step up your password game if you really want to improve the security of your business. Here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Complexity matters: The length and complexity of your passwords are more important that you realize. While you may not be using ABC12345, if your accountant's password is ACCOUNTING and your sales manager's password is SELLIT, then there's really not much standing between you and a serious breach. Click here for a list of common password mistakes that make you a prime target for hackers.
- Turnover means change: This might sound obvious, but you'd be surprised how many business owners let this slip by. Whenever an employee leaves your company, it's time to update the passwords to any systems they had access too. Again, your current employees might groan and complain that they have to memorize a new login, but you never want anyone to have access to your network if they don't work for your company.
- Skip the sticky notes: As you implement the process of using super tough passwords, employees will be tempted to write them down. This is because they may find their new passwords more difficult to remember. However, storing passwords on a sticky note is like leaving your car door open with the keys inside and engine running. Instead, your entire staff should be using a password manager like Keepass to keep their login information safe.