When it comes to the security of your business, you wouldn’t dream of leaving your doors unlocked at night or handing out your bank account details to strangers. However, many business owners are taking risks which are just as serious by not investing in a comprehensive IT security system. Cybercriminals are developing new techniques and strategies and attempting to find weaknesses in IT networks 24/7, and just one breach could spell huge financial and reputational losses. If you are concerned that your IT systems may be vulnerable, here are seven tips that will help you protect your business from hackers and other cybercriminals.
1. Hire a managed security service provider
To provide your business with the strongest level of IT security and relieve a lot of the burden on you and your staff, consider hiring an MSSP security specialist company. These companies provide security solutions which include the day to day management of your IT security, including penetration testing, real-time monitoring and incident response.
2. Use 2-factor authentication
Setting up 2-factor authentication or 2FA means that you will need two forms of identification when accessing a device. For example, in addition to a username and password, you can be sent a unique, one-time code to your phone.
3. Have a guest network for visitors
You may not be aware that many internet providers enable you to set up multiple networks on the same router. This enables managers to control what their employees can access and how businesses set up visitor networks. Also, you can keep your internal devices separate from visiting devices as it prevents them from being able to pass information back and forth, minimizing the opportunity for hackers to access information. When choosing a network for your business, remember that the best encryption method is WPA2 rather than WPA.
4. Keep software up to date
Software developers are very clever people, but they are capable of design flaws which can leave devices vulnerable to cyberattacks. When the software developer realizes their mistake, they will release a software update to correct it and improve security. So, when you ignore the latest prompt to update the software on your device, you’re not just missing out on a small design change or a new feature – you could be missing vital security improvements. When your device or software tells you an update is available, download it as soon as you can.
5. Get rid of unnecessary features on devices
The smart devices we buy usually come packed full of features which is great, but often a lot of them are not necessary for what the average user needs. For example, remote access functionality is often enabled on a lot of devices by default which makes it vulnerable hackers. If you don’t use features on your device, disable them.
6. Only buy from trusted manufacturers
When you buy devices, try to avoid the brands which offer low prices but very little in the way of accreditations or reviews. Do your research to ensure you are buying from a reputable brand which prioritizes security, has responsive customer service and will encrypt your data.
7. Improve your passwords
It might sound like old news, but a surprising number of businesses still ignore the advice about password security. Some people do not even change their password from the default set by the manufacturer. To protect your devices and network, you need to change the password on every account to something unique. Passwords should be long and include numbers, letters and special characters. It’s best to avoid using full words, codes or phrases. Simple passwords can be broken with what are known as ‘brute force’ attacks when a hacker will use a program to gradually check common patterns and words until it comes out with the correct combination.