Protect your business from hackers, it’s a must – they just won’t go away. And in recent years, we’ve seen a shift from simple hacking involving breakages and infections, to cleverly constructed intrusions into people’s lives – extorting money or causing other personal damage and degradation.

Now cars can be hacked and even switched off during driving. Even commercial aircraft are at risk, according to this article.

We live in a world with ever-smarter devices. And those devices can even connect to and communicate with each other (this is called the Internet of Things or IoT). So every single day, we create even more vulnerable systems, and open up even more opportunities for hackers to infiltrate and wreak havoc.

The questions are:
What action can you take to protect your business today?
How can you keep hackers away from your business data and information?
What can you do to protect your business from hackers?

Try these top 10 tips to protect your business from hackers:

1 Be aware

As a business owner, you can’t afford to stick your head in the sand when it comes to business protection. So always be aware of everything you and your team do when using online services – and how it could compromise you or your information.

We have all received at least one official-looking email from a bank or trusted organisation, when in fact it’s been carefully crafted by a hacker. This is risky, because once someone has access to your email account and contact list, they can send email on your behalf and access other confidential information.

The golden rule here is – don’t click on links in emails that you can’t trust. If in doubt, contact the sender or go directly to their website from your browser.

2 Keep your passwords protected

Don’t share passwords with anyone. Don’t reuse passwords, and don’t use simple passwords that are easy to guess like ‘password123’. Password-protect all devices, and be sure to change the default passwords. Also consider using pass phrases, which are harder to guess.

3 Have a password policy

Create and share a strong password policy with your team. Educate your staff on password protection practices, and have them sign a contract stating that they won’t share passwords.

4 Use a password manager

If your team does need to share passwords, use a cloud-based password manager like LastPass. This keeps all passwords secure using one log in; you can even allow access without the other user seeing the password.

5 Prevent access by former employees

As part of your termination procedures, always change passwords when staff leave the organisation – or do it at regular intervals throughout the year. You can enforce this through your authentication or sign-on system.

You should also disable the leaving employee’s users account, devices, and other tools. Incredibly, after leaving an organisation, a user can still access an average of 10 systems and applications; sometimes it’s 100 or more!

6 Have a reporting plan

Create an action plan so staff know what to do – and who to tell – if they become aware of a potential threat or hack. Empower them to speak up if they click a link or open an email that seems suspicious, so they don’t panic about having done something wrong.

7 Keep systems up to date

Ensure all systems regularly receive the latest updates and hotfixes. These provide more functionality and protect your business from the latest vulnerabilities. Or have this managed for your business.

8 Add a firewall

Get a firewall for your network, and make sure a firewall is installed and enabled on all computers. For more, see our post Does my business need a firewall?

9 Update your anti-virus

Make sure all servers, desktops and mobile devices have the latest antivirus packages. Mac users aren’t exempt from this – just Google ‘Mac Malware’ and you’ll see that Macs aren’t as safe as we’re led to believe.

10 Get certified

If you have super-sensitive data, you might want to get certified or request network penetration testing. Ask your IT team or check out certification here.

Need a helping hand to protect your business from hackers? Just ask our expert IT team.