Simple Steps to Protect Your Company from Cyberattacks or Hacking

Businesses responded to COVID-19 by implementing work-from-home policies to reduce the risk of spreading the disease. Most companies adopted these arrangements quickly without adequate cybersecurity preparedness.

Whether you have remote workers or not, cybersecurity is more important than ever before. According to the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, the number of cybercriminals is increasing, and the threats are becoming more sophisticated.

Use the following steps to prevent your Vancouver company from becoming a victim of a cyberattack.

Secure Your Computer Networks

Enable automatic updates to ensure your security software and operating system are flawless. Use a firewall to monitor all incoming and outgoing traffic.

Be sure to install robust anti-malware software to safeguard your system from the latest malware and viruses. Turn on spam filters to reduce the number of phishing and spam emails that hackers use to infect computers and steal sensitive information.

Use Strong Passwords or Passphrases

Protect user accounts that hold critical information with secure passwords. A strong password should be at least eight characters consisting of numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters, and special characters.

Better still, use passphrases that are 14 characters or longer. They should contain unrelated words, numbers, and symbols to make them unpredictable. Ensure every account has a unique password or passphrase.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication

Another way to protect your data is by using multi-factor authentication (MFA) to verify legitimate users. This method requires two or more ways to prove the identities of persons intending to access user accounts.

For instance, you can have a system that sends a unique code to the user’s mobile device or email once they enter their password. They must enter the code to complete the authentication process, adding an extra security layer.

Monitor Your Systems Comprehensively

Your company should maintain a record of all the devices and software it uses. Disconnect from your network any equipment you no longer use and remove any information it might have.

If you want to dispose of old computers and storage media, wipe all sensitive information from them. Destroy such hardware or take it to a company that shreds them.

This is because outdated software and unused devices that remain connected are an excellent loophole for hackers to penetrate your system. Delete user accounts of past employees and workers who no longer need access to your system. Additionally, destroy paper information using an incinerator or a crosscut shredder.

Offer Cybersecurity Training

Your employees should know the importance of cybersecurity and how to protect business data from security threats. Train them on how to treat company information at the office or home and respond to cybersecurity incidents.

Clarify the purpose of business emails and the things employees can do or not do on your network. You can use ongoing training and newsletters to strengthen your cybersecurity. Teach new employees how to protect data and ask them to sign your company’s information policy.

Secure All Wireless Access Points

Enhance security on your wireless networks by changing the default administrative passwords on new devices. Configure your wireless access point not to reveal or transmit its service set identifier (SSID).

Ensure your router uses Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA-2) and supports Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Do not use WEP (Wired-Equivalent Privacy). If you offer your customers and visitors Wi-Fi, ensure the connection is separate from your business network.

Limit Access to Data and Information

According to the 2020 Insider Threat Report, 68 percent of businesses feel vulnerable to insider threats. There’s a good reason to feel that way, given the number of confirmed insider attacks in recent times. Big brands like Amazon, Shopify, and Tesla were victims in 2020.

The best way to minimize this security risk is by limiting access to valuable business data. Employees should only access the information and systems necessary for them to perform their duties.

If an employee quits or transfers to another company location, delete their accounts and passwords and collect any badges or keys they might have. It helps to prevent disgruntled or malicious ex-employees from exploiting your network and other IT resources.

Nurture a Cybersecurity Culture

A cybersecurity culture can encourage your entire workforce to prevent bad actors from attacking your organization. Develop a comprehensive data use policy that differentiates between authorized and unauthorized actions.

Your team should know how to identify suspicious activity and respond accordingly. An individual who compromises your network security or mishandles company data should face the consequences for their actions.

Back Up Your Data

The most effective way to recover information after a cyber incident or computer problem is by backing up your data. Consider daily incremental back-ups to cloud storage or a portable device and periodical server back-ups. Be sure to check the data from time to time to ensure it’s working correctly, and you can restore it.

If you use a portable device, store it separately to prevent infection, theft, or physical damage. Cloud storage should use high-level encryption and multi-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access.

Conduct Regular Security Audits

You cannot eliminate the risk of cyberattacks entirely. However, you can put security measures and review them regularly to evaluate the efficacy of your cyber protection.

Audits help you identify any weaknesses that hackers might exploit to access your IT systems and data. With a thorough understanding of your cybersecurity posture, you can heighten your defence to prevent possible attacks in the future.

Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan

A well-thought-out and effective disaster recovery plan enables an organization to take swift action when a cyberattack occurs. It should emphasize proactive communication and have a clear escalation path.

The Takeaway

Companies hold ample and complex information that can be hard to trace and manage. Your business should have a comprehensive Information Security Management System (ISMS). It should have technological controls like intrusion detection and prevention systems, firewalls, and ingress filtering.

However, you cannot achieve complete protection if your employees are vulnerable. Train all workers about social engineering and phishing attacks so that they don’t blindly share sensitive information with hackers.

If you want full-time cybersecurity monitoring for your business in Vancouver, partner with Compunet InfoTech Inc. We swing into action once we detect a cybersecurity issue to prevent hackers from performing malicious activities on your network.

Contact us to schedule a no-obligation discussion about your IT needs.