When you start a company or a business, you commit yourself to tons of work and logistics. Many hours are spent planning, getting permits, building an online presence/marketing, organizing staff and hired workers, getting supplies or preparing services, and so on.
On top of all the steps that already go into beginning this, security is also a question that needs answering.
Without an online presence, it’s impossible to have a real-life presence, unless you are going for a niche sector with lesser profits. Having your company online can lead to a larger audience range, increased interest in your products and services, ease of access to your company, clearer communication with customers, and much more.
Though the online presence is necessary, it comes with its own risks that can trickle down to even the consumer level. The internet is a blessing and a curse, and that becomes apparent with two things.
The first is that data is now worth more than oil, which we will expand on shortly. Every click, every footprint you or anyone leaves on the internet of things, has some amount of value. The second is that cyberattacks are increasingly common, with estimates being at about one every 39 seconds.
Unbeknownst to common belief, data is now ruled as more valuable than oil thanks to the power it holds. Most internet users face lots of naivete regarding how important what they are doing is because the common folk doubt they’d be important enough for any attacks, but it isn’t just the attacks that should be on the main stage.
In this era of information, your data is what’s important. Your habits, preferences, interests, credentials, and so on, are all things that can be sold to third parties and are all things that are extremely valuable for many corporations to sell you things, gain information on population, stay on top of trends, and so on.
As a company, this is something that affects you, because on one side you are the one trying to gain information on users so you can sell your products or services adequately, and on the other side, you are in competition with other companies and even at the risk of cyber harm.
No one is exempt from these cyberattacks, an example being the government of Ukraine receiving countless cyberattacks currently.
As the name suggests, it is security being realized within the digital world, defending computers, mobile devices, networks, data, and so on. There are different types of security that are all worth mentioning since they can all connect to your online presence as a business.
One of the more important types is operational security, which is based on protecting data assets as well as handling them. Operation security also involves the access users can have on networks, where data can be stored, and how data can be stored, all depending on the permissions and procedures of these actions.
Information security is what protects your privacy and data integrity whilst in transit or storage.
Network security works as the name implies, it is the protection of your networks from any ill will and malware.
Application security, on the other hand, keeps your software intact and free of any malware, in turn also protecting your data. All these forms work synonymously to each other to ensure that you and your digital movements remain safe to different extents.
The level of protection you want to ensure depends on what kind of interface you want to create, but for companies, you usually need higher levels of cybersecurity. Within the past decade, medical services and other public entities were the most attacked with malware, including retailers, governmental organizations, and so on.
There are some differences between the types of malware or attacks that can infiltrate systems. If it is a politically driven offense meant to gather information, it is usually considered a cyberattack.
Those attacks to aim to cause harm or have some financial gain are considered cybercrimes since they tend to be done either by individuals or groups.
Lastly, overtaking or destroying an electronic system counts as cyberterrorism and is meant to birth fear.
Malware is the most common type of attack and is targeted towards user computers in an effort to pursue cybercrime or a cyberattack. These come in many shapes and forms but are usually seemingly legitimate downloadable content that can contain a virus, a trojan, spyware, ransomware, botnets, or even adware.
Other, less common attacks are SQL injections, which overtake and steal data, phishing, where people are cheated their personal information, man-in-the-middle attacks, where data gets intercepted in transit by a third party, and denial-of-service, where third parties overload servers with information so the targeted computer cannot complete requests.
There are so many of these attacks and technology is changing so quickly that Lensa’s article on technology being a good career path underlines the upcoming future and gives you a present idea of current events.
Your programs usually use cryptographic protocols to encrypt your processes and data. The way encryption works is that it transforms plain text from a process and converts it to ciphertext using complex mathematical algorithms, which is like a singularized code that can only be decrypted by the holder of the key.
End-user protection is what maintains a secure place within your digital space by scanning code, separating it, and then disposing of it. These programs essentially also learn from these “encounters” and can develop better security post-analysis as well.
The main question is, how can you further protect your business’s online presence, as well as your customers’?
As mentioned above, encryption is critical in maintaining a safe space for your business and its customers, but there are many other ways to keep your company safe as well, so let’s dive into them.
Backing up your data regularly is a way of avoiding total disaster after already getting attacked. This isn’t just narrowed down to data, but your business website, accounts, and so on. The best way to do this is through various methods in various places, such as daily cloud storage backups, weekly, quarterly, and yearly server backups, and so on.
Backing your data up for such a long period also means your company needs servers and you should also check the backups can be restored regularly.
Using external hard drives to store data is always a surefire method to stay safe. Remember to not leave your external hard drives plugged in, this makes them vulnerable to attacks. Keeping said hard drive off-location is also a safer idea, especially if your building is at risk of getting robbed.
The best way to educate your employees is by telling them the risks and also setting protocols for them to follow regarding such situations. Giving fewer employees admin access also is a way to maintain security.
The things you should teach your employees are to keep strong passwords, identify any threats that may reach them, what to do if they experience a cyberattack, and how to report said attack.
The best way to keep your networks and devices secure is to keep operating systems up to date since those updates usually have security patches as well.
Another way is to use a proper firewall for your internet habits. These firewalls work in a way where they serve as a barrier between your device and the internet so no communication can be made between the two without consent, especially if any security threats are detected.
Ad blockers and spam filters also help you and your employees avoid any malware, saving you from even accidentally clicking on anything unruly.
MFA stands for multi-factor authentication and essentially grants users extra steps when wanting to sign in to an account. This authentication ensures your account from easy access, though not fully guaranteed.
Making strong, complicated passwords for service access and your employee accounts will help in thwarting any attacks. The biggest underlier for such cyberattacks is persistence and if it is harder to breach, it usually turns such malicious intent off.
The way to make strong passwords is by making them about 14 characters long, with upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Making passwords nonsensical and unique to each account also makes your space much more secure, since one breach won’t allow the same entity to breach every other account.
You should also change passwords frequently. As an example, some companies change all passwords daily, ensuring top security.
Keeping track of transactions, networks, devices, logins, and so on, are all steps you can take to keep everything that goes on in your business safe. This allows you to notice any backdoors that may still be active in your network of things, such as an old unused server that still has somewhat sensitive data on it. Keeping such things up to date also ensures safety.
Your business reputation is a pillar that holds your business up, and if customer accounts get breached, it can lead to scandals, loss of customers, and even lawsuits.
Using the above-mentioned advice, your business should enforce a secure online environment for its customers to use when connecting and transacting with your business. This expands beyond customer accounts to safe online transactions that should all be heavily encrypted.
If your customers interact with your interface, make sure to let them know what data you are collecting, why you are collecting it, and how you are maintaining their and their data’s safety. Assuring customers that they won’t need to give extremely official credentials such as ID numbers or bank account information so they too cannot be scammed by impersonators.
The type of insurance you would be looking for is cyber liability insurance, which will cover your business’ cost of recovering all the lost data and ruined hardware.
Hiring cybersecurity professionals with good credentials and trustworthy companies is a guarantee for your business that you will be adequately protected and will have an employee who can hop in during emergencies such as targeted constant cyberattacks.
Cybersecurity is an often-overlooked element, but now that we’ve revealed all the reasons why it can cause utter carnage for your business, hopefully, it allows you to make informed decisions on keeping your online presence afloat during these increasingly trying times in the cyber world.