5 Ways to Protect Your Small Business from Cybercrime

Cybercrime currently costs the global economy $500 billion per year and will cost $6 trillion annually by 2021, according to CSOonline.com. Today, no person or company is safe from cyber attackers. In fact, about 50 percent of adults were victimized by acts of cybercrime in the past year, according to Microsoft, and 20 percent of small-sized and medium-sized businesses have been targeted. On average, one large company is breached per month.

Cybercrime is at an all-time high for one very simple reason: it is incredibly lucrative. A group of blackhat hackers recently breached the financial information of 100 million individuals and 12 companies, including J.P. Morgan and Dow Jones. The blackhats yielded over $100 million from these attacks, according to Microsoft.

These numbers are only going to increase, so take some time this Cybersecurity Awareness Month to protect yourself, your company, and your customers.

While there are dozens of ways company leaders and IT professionals can protect their businesses from cybercrime, here are five to consider:

Attack-proof computers  — The best way to mitigate a cyber attack is to prevent one from happening in the first place. Small-business owners can do this by shoring up their computers’ defenses. Keeping firewalls on at all times, updating software regularly, and installing legitimate anti-malware are ideal ways that you and your employees can make computers less vulnerable to cyber criminals.

Avoid downloading malware – Avoiding malware is critical to keeping company data and identities safe. Malware, a term short for “malicious software” is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It often presents itself as an update or desirable software. Before you click on a pop-up, ensure the message you are being baited with is legitimate and safe. You and your workforce can learn how to detect malware symptoms on Microsoft’s Safety & Security Center.

Guard company data and financial assets – Another way small-business owners and IT professionals can prevent cybercrime is to guard company data and financial assets. Do this by encrypting confidential information, teaching employees to properly deal with scams and fraud, and using rights management solutions to handle sensitive data. Don’t forget to educate users about socially engineered cyber attacks and how to dodge them.

Teach employees proper password protocol – Creating a password for work should be pretty easy, right? Yes, but it should not be a thoughtless process. If every IT specialist, company leader, and employee remembered one simple rule, there would many less breaches each year: keep passwords private, strong, and never reuse them (keep them unique to each website). This is one of the simplest ways to prevent major cyber attacks on your business.

Keep data and devices secure when on the road – Do you or your employees ever travel for business? If so, it’s essential that you guard all data and devices while on the road. Do this by quickly reporting phishing, abuse, and other problems. If a device goes missing, change all related passwords and wipe mobile phones.

Learn More About Preventing Cybercrime

Are you interested in learning more about preventing cybercrime? Whether you are an IT pro or a business owner, we encourage you to attend our virtual cybersecurity expert discussion panel, The Most Important Component in a Secure Infrastructure, on October 26, 2017. Learn how you can help your business become less vulnerable to cyber attackers.

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