A CYBER ATTACK CAN BE DEVASTATING to any business. And the threat is
growing. By 2021, the annual cost of cyber crime is expected to hit $6
trillion, a 200% increase over 2015.1 And that figure doesn't even begin
to calculate the cost of losing your customers’ trust if their
personal data is compromised. Clearly, it’s critical for every
business owner to implement a security program that protects against
the evolving risks from cyber crime. These six recommendations can
help you protect your business and your customers.
Put a cyber defense plan in place.
Be sure that you have rigorous policies, processes and systems in
place to detect and block cyber attacks. Cyber criminals use a
variety of highly effective schemes, including bogus email invoices
and impersonating a trusted individual in correspondence, to
convince employees to unwittingly help them commit cyber fraud. In
addition, emails that contain links or attachments, if clicked or
opened, can allow cyber criminals to gain access to your
Have a back-up data
strategy in place to help in the event that your corporate site is
the subject of a ransomware attack.
You can help to defend
against these efforts by educating your employees about the risks of
cyber crime, investing in antivirus software, and keeping all your
software programs up to date. It’s also a good idea to review the
security systems of the partners and vendors you work with. And have
a back-up data strategy in place to help in the event that your
corporate site is the subject of a ransomware attack—in which
malware infiltrates your system and cyber criminals hold your
business hostage until a fee is paid.
Keep employees up-to-date.
criminals uncover and target 480 new vulnerabilities every minute.2 Hold regular
training sessions to keep employees briefed on the latest scams and
how to identify and respond to them.
Review—and bolster—all processes related
to financial transactions.
Establish procedures for managing
unusual account or payment change requests, if you don’t already
have them. For instance, you could instruct employees to confirm all
unusual money requests in person or on the phone, using a phone
number on file—not one listed in an email. Another best practice is
to require two employees to initiate and approve financial
transactions or changes to customer or business accounts.
Limit system access.
company’s vulnerability by restricting who can access your
system—and what they’re able to see. If it’s not essential to their
job, don’t grant access. Use unique email addresses, logins, servers
and domain names for each user or user base.
Strengthen your passwords.
you’re using a simple, easily guessed password like “123456” or
“password” as a login, you’re putting out the welcome mat for cyber
criminals. Protect your accounts and devices with a strong password
and use two-factor authentication or biometric ID (such as a
fingerprint). And give serious consideration to using a password
manager, which can help ensure that you have a complex, different
password for every account without having to memorize them all.
(Search for “Password Manager” in your app store.)
Stay safe on the road.
traveling, back up your devices and update your operating systems.
That way, if your laptop or phone does become compromised, you can
wipe it clean and restore from a recent backup. While traveling,
disable your device’s remote connectivity as well as automatic Wi-Fi
and Bluetooth connections, and only connect to networks you know are
trustworthy. It’s a good idea to use a virtual private network (VPN)
at all times, but it’s even more critical on the road. Be aware,
though, that you may have difficulty accessing some financial firms'
websites through a VPN because of the anti-fraud protections they've
in place. In that case, you might prefer to wait until you can
access the site through a secure, trusted connection. A privacy
screen is also smart, as it prevents people from physically peeking
over your shoulder as you work at the coffee shop or on the