Businesses used to protect themselves against theft by installing an alarm system, a few cameras and some really good locks. Today, theft and similar crimes can occur at any time of the day or night, no matter how well your physical property is secured, thanks to the meteoric rise of cyber crimes like identity theft, phishing and other “virtual” crimes.
While cyber crime used to be relatively uncommon, today it’s a billion dollar industry affecting businesses of all size, from small mom-and-pop shops to big, multinational corporations. The damage a single attack can perpetrate can be overwhelming, especially for small- to medium-sized businesses. That’s because cyber crimes like phishing and identity theft don’t just wreak havoc on your business’ finances; they also take a tremendous toll on your brand and the trust you share with your customers. Learning how to prevent phishing, hacking and other types of cyber crime is critical to ensuring your business is protected from what can turn into devastating losses.
The first step in protecting your business from a phishing attack or other cyber crime activity is to have a plan for prevention that’s customized to your business’ risks. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Change your passwords often, and make sure they’re secure. Use a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters for good measure.
- Manage who sees what by using your administrator security settings on your computer or server. Every employee doesn’t need to have access to all your data. Security settings let you decide who has access to sensitive information, including customer data like account numbers, payment information and other personal information.
- Involve your employees. Too often, small- and medium-sized business owners take on the task of computer security themselves, or involve only one or two key employees. To be truly effective, you need to develop a plan that includes all employees and involve them in its implementation.
- Keep your anti-virus and anti-malware software updated. This is no place to cut costs. Investing in the highest-quality security software and then keeping it up to date is one of the best ways to prevent cyber crime and protect your data.
- Invest in cyber liability insurance. Having adequate insurance coverage ensures your business is prepared and protected, covering a wide array of costs associated with identity theft and other types of cyber crime activity.
If you haven’t developed a cyber security plan for your business yet, now is the time – even a day’s delay can result in an attack that can wreak havoc on your business and your customers.
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