We’ve all experienced it before: you’re in the middle of typing up an email, and suddenly, everything freezes. You try to open a new browser window, but nothing happens, and then your computer starts making that weird noise again.
You know what we are talking about—the blue screen of death. There are hundreds of viruses out there that can do this, not to mention malware like ransomware. But unless you work in IT (in which case, lucky you), this probably isn’t something you worry about on a daily basis.
But just because these types of attacks aren’t common doesn’t mean they don’t happen. They do—and if your company is hit with one, it could spell disaster for your business! So how can we protect ourselves? How can small businesses protect themselves against these threats? Here are five ways:
Use a Proxy Server
A proxy server acts as an intermediary between your computer and the internet, essentially masking your IP address. This makes it almost impossible for hackers to access your private information. One of the best benefits is that it protects you from viruses and other malware attacks. The way this works is simple: every time you try to visit a website, your request goes through the proxy server first before going directly (or indirectly) to the site itself. Your computer then gets the data that’s returned by the site, but all of this happens in such quick succession that what comes back isn’t readable by hackers. It only makes sense to use a proxy server if you truly value your company’s security.
Don’t Leave Yourself Exposed Online
There are no limits to what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to the internet, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have our own moral code. As you advertise your business online, for example, never post information that could potentially be used against you in some way. This includes sharing too much personal information about yourself or any of your employees on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. It also means not posting anything controversial while representing the company, whether it’s something you shared during a drunken tweet or while representing the company on LinkedIn. If someone was looking for information to exploit or blackmail you, these are all avenues that would be available to them.
Never Use Public Wi-Fi
Believe it or not, public wireless internet is actually far less secure than your home network. Hackers can use this open connection to track what you’re doing online and gain access to any unsecured data you might be sending out, like passwords and credit card numbers. So never conduct sensitive business operations using an unsecured wireless connection because once they gain access to these things, they won’t think twice about hitting you where it hurts—in the pocket! Businesses should implement virtual private network (VPN) technology instead because this provides encryption for all of your incoming and outgoing data so nobody can see it except for you and those who need to know.
Have a Backup Plan
Everyone knows the consequences of not having a backup plan in case something goes wrong with your computer or device. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to these types of things, so make sure you have all your essential files saved in an external hard drive that you can quickly pull out when disaster strikes.
If your company data is lost after someone attacks your system, there isn’t much hope for recovery because companies that hackers hit rarely get their information back. And if these happen to be essential business records that are lost, then all this headache might just spell disaster for your business. This goes double if you’re working with sensitive financial documents. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it will also keep you out of hot water.
Utilize Monitoring Software
A lot of the software available to small businesses is monitoring software, which enhances security without impacting productivity. Most of these are made for employees who work remotely through VPNs, allowing them to connect with their company network anywhere around the world safely. This will enable you to monitor all employee activity, ensuring protection against potential leaks or any other problems that might arise down the line.
Small businesses should look for micro-segmentation solutions to improve their company network security. This involves creating separate virtual networks for different business functions and purposes, which helps to isolate any potential threats. Using monitoring software, you can keep track of all employee activity and protect your data from possible leaks.
The Bottom Line
You want to ensure that your company network is secure and safe from threats like hackers or cybercriminals. From using VPNs instead of public Wi-Fi to never posting anything controversial while representing the company on social media websites or networking platforms, these tips will help keep your business information private and out of reach for anyone looking for a way in.