Cybercrime is prevalent in both the business-to-consumer and the business-to-business space. It is not only customers who are at risk of cybercrime but also suppliers. Businesses can suffer reputational risk if their customers are affected by cybercrime.
Criminals target businesses by looking for vulnerabilities in software and in operating procedures. Though it is usually straightforward to avoid vulnerabilities in software, it is often the human factor that creates the biggest risk to businesses. Follow these tips to protect your business against cybercrime.
1. Always use strong passwords
Hacking attempts are often of the brute force nature, meaning that criminals try to gain entry into a system by trying multiple combinations of known usernames and passwords. Common words and sequences will provide no barrier at all, so use creative phrases (including special characters) and avoid any common dictionary words or names.
2. Install firewalls at points of exposure
These same brute force attacks can be caught in time if you implement a firewall in front of your systems. Whether it is a firewall for your internal company network or a firewall for your website, these systems are designed to sniff out rogue activity and to block it from causing any damage. An attack is often recognisable by repeated attempts at access – firewalls will detect and block this.
3. Train your employees
It is important for employees to understand that they should take care when using company information systems. Personal business should not be conducted using company systems, and employees should take care when corresponding with external parties – it is common for rogue software to arrive as an email attachment masquerading as an invoice. Instead, before opening any email attachments, employees should know how to evaluate the likelihood of it being malicious.
4. Hire qualified contractors
Few companies have the internal resources to deal with the technicalities of information technology, so it is common to employ contractors to assist in developing and maintaining systems. Contractors who are reputable and well trained can greatly reduce your exposure to cybercrime. In addition, hiring a contractor through an umbrella company makes it substantially easier to deal with invoices and tax matters, as an umbrella company will take care of paperwork for the contractor.
5. Always update software and hardware
There is an operating system or software system behind every functioning product. When these are developed, they inevitably contain loopholes that can be exploited, but once loopholes are detected, they are plugged with updates. Cybercrimes occur when software and hardware updates are not applied in a timely manner, letting criminals use vulnerabilities to gain access. Update all of your systems on a regular basis.
Mitigate the risk of cybercrime
Cybercrime is not completely preventable. However, the risks can be greatly mitigated with the correct course of action. Key to getting this right is the ability to stay informed regarding the latest security trends and risks. However, a vast number of risks can be completely eliminated by simply performing regular systems updates.