Cyber Attacks
Industry experts have predicted that the cost of cybercrime will exceed $6 trillion by 2021. Cyber attacks can not only cost you large amounts of money but can erode your customer's faith in your business, resulting in reduced sales and potential liability for costs incurred by customers whose information has been exposed by your data breach. These seven tips can help you avoid the severe consequences of cyberattacks.

1. Create a Cyber-defense Plan

If your company does not already have a plan for detecting and blocking cyberattacks, you need to implement one immediately. If you do already have a plan, make sure you are regularly updating it. It is important to understand what is a cyber attack because cybercriminals are constantly changing their tactics and you will need to develop new methods of defending against them. Your defense plan should include training your employees to spot common attacks, such as phishing schemes, installing antivirus and antimalware software, reviewing the security protocols of vendors you do business with and having a backup solution that protects you against potential ransomware attacks.

2. Secure Processes Related To Financial Transactions

Your business will fail if your customers can not trust you with their financial information. You need to have procedures in place to detect unusual account or payment activity. It is also a good idea to implement two-factor authentication and other safety protocols to prevent unauthorized transactions or access to your customers' secure data.

3. Require Strong Passwords

At a minimum, all of your accounts and devices should be protected by a strong password. Easily guessed passwords provide easy entry points to your system for cybercriminals. Require all users to choose a password that is at least 15 characters long and contains upper and lower case characters, numbers and special characters. Consider adding an extra layer of protection by implementing two-factor authentication or biometric identification, such as fingerprint scanners. Password managers can help your employees manage their strong passwords without having to memorize them.

4. Restrict Access to Your Systems

Each employee should only have access to the systems that the employee needs to perform her job. This can be accomplished by physical restrictions, such as putting a locked door on your server room, passwords and permissions. Have your IT team restrict access to applications and files by setting up permissions that only allow employees who need access to have it.

5. Protect Your Systems While Traveling

Any time an employee is planning to use a laptop, smartphone or other mobile device away from the office the employee should take steps to protect those devices. Any data stored on the device should be backed up to prevent data loss should the mobile device be lost, damaged or stolen. If a mobile device becomes compromised, you should remotely wipe any data stored on the device. Disable any automatic Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections and only connect your devices to trusted networks. Privacy screens and virtual private networks can provide an added layer of security when working on the road.

6. Do Not Allow USB Devices To Be Used With Company Computers

USB flash drives once were a popular medium for transferring files that were too large to share via email and other transmission methods. However, the security risks associated with flash drives outweigh the benefits of using them. Cybercriminals can use flash drives to introduce malware and viruses to your systems. Implement other means of file sharing, such as storing files in the cloud, and set up protections to prevent users from connecting USB drives to your equipment.

7. Require Employees To Report Suspicious Emails

Phishing scams are one of the most common ways cybercriminals trick employees into providing sensitive data. You should train your employees to spot suspicious emails and immediately report them to the IT department without responding or clicking on any links. Security threats cost businesses trillions of dollars every year. These seven tips can help you avoid your business becoming another statistic in the war on cybercrime.