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November 2, 2016

Guest Post :: Protect Your Business from Cyber Attacks

By: Melissa Davidson

One of the many bad things about cybercrimes is most companies don’t know they’ve been hacked until it’s too late. Meanwhile, cybercrimes are one of the most commonly reported types of fraud (44%) and also one of the top “man-made” risks businesses face, according to statistics by Boston University.

With that being said, October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, what is your business doing to ramp up data security?

Almost half of all U.S. organizations have been affected by some type of fraud, including industries you’d think would be ahead of the cyber security curve, such as auto makers, the education sector and even the U.S. government. It would behoove large and small businesses alike to proactively protect their investment against cyber attacks.

Here are three potential ways to guard your business:

Migrate to the Cloud

The debate on whether data is safe in the cloud is lessening after a decade or so of cloud systems being a readily available, effective and less expensive cybersecurity tool for small- to mid-sized businesses.

A study with input from 10,000 IT professionals from across the globe showed that nearly 70% of respondents said their company is currently using cloud-based cybersecurity services and see security threats as largely dramatized and misrepresented. Instead of spending tons of money on hardware, software and updates, businesses are securing their data in the cloud because it’s safer than storing it on desktops.

Encrypt your Data

One of the ways to protect cloud storage, your emails, and basically any information you don’t want people to see, is to encrypt it. When you use your credit card, for example, your computer encrypts your data so no one can steal it as it’s being transferred. Credit card accounts, social security numbers and bank routing digits are the types of ‘held information’ used by hackers to steal money.

“Anytime you’re storing important data, when the data is at rest–which means it isn’t being transmitted over the internet somehow–you want it encrypted,” says Steve Cullen, senior vice president of worldwide marketing SMB and .Cloud at Symantec, which puts out the Norton anti-virus software.

Educate Employees

Don’t sit back and wait for an attack to happen. Employees need a basic understanding on the security measures they can take and the value of protecting customer and colleague information. The biggest risk to the security of a business can be an employee who doesn’t know how to protect themselves. Provide training classes to keep everyone up to date.

Customers’ personal information can be compromised when there’s a weak link in the systems that store and collect data. In some cases, companies are not always aware of every supplier in the chain, which is why more visibility should be demanded.

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