Edited and prepared by Oscar Michel, Masters in Journalism, DCU

Maxwell Donovan is interested in writing about technology and business related topics. He has a deep knowledge of this field. He also writes for bestonlinereviews offering online reviews on various products.

How do you protect the sensitive information stored on your company’s smart devices? Cyber attacks are everywhere, and if you don’t invest in cybersecurity, chances are you’ll have a lot more to lose than your clients’ data. Data theft has increased to a whooping 650% in 3 years, according to the FBI. At last organisations understand the risks involved. Corporations can’t afford financial and proprietary leaks; as a small business, you shouldn’t let that happen to you either.

The best approach that you can take is prevention. Why risk a cyber attack when you can use software that keeps your brand and business safe? Here are 5 crucial steps every business should abide by to avoid threats that might decrease your reputation, and implicitly your ROI.

Prioritise and protect confidential information


 Most companies have no idea that confidential information is not really kept confidential until the data is secured. Categorise the data by confidentiality level and value; start with employees record and customer information systems. Finite areas like social security numbers, personal IDs and credit account numbers are the easiest forms of data that hackers chase.

Unstructured information must be secured, so that you can make your clients, employees and customer to feel safe when interacting with your business. Craft a plan to secure financial releases and statements, contracts, and customer correspondence.

  1. Assess the information your company holds & perform a risk assessment analysis

Before investing in the newest, trendiest anti-virus software suite, get some guidance and understand your business’s current workflows. Identify businesses processes that are linked to confidential information, and determine the level of risk. To assess leaks, you need to consult with the IT department for a more thorough examination. When you analyse the flow of the information your company stores (whether on a hard drive or in the cloud), organisations should focus more on targeting potential vulnerabilities.

  1. Settle on an information-based policy

Following a risk assessment analysis, you can craft the best policy to help keep your data safe. The most suitable set of rules that match with your business mantra will help you decide on policies that actually pertain to your business. For example: do not allow your employees to access free wi-fi connections. Limit their access to the web, and ask them to pay close attention to the type of messages their read when logging into their email or social media account.

Cybersecurity at HCC

  1. Monitoring

 Now that you know what’s at stake, the next step is to enforce and monitor the adherence levels to your company policy. Do not allow employees to cheat as this might cause your business a lot of money; an infected virus wrapped nicely in a catchy email can do irreparable damage to your reputation.

Because there’s a lot of digital information spread across the web, keeping the content of that information safe is more challenging than meets the eye. We hear about government websites being hacked every year. Savvy hackers can get passed any sort of firewall; but they can’t violate your privacy if you take precaution measures.

  1. Check review progress every couple of weeks

For an antivirus software to render results, businesses should review progress consistently. Regular scans of every smart device in the building is an excellent idea; make sure to update passwords every couple of months too, and perform antivirus updates to get the more recent versions and steer clear of sudden cyberattacks.

Monitoring systems can be used to review failures in case your database gets hacked. The best tools flag suspicious activity, thus helping you tackle an issue before it get “un-tackable”. Protecting confidential information is not a one-size-fits-all approach. First, you need a systematic approach to identify the data. Make sure you understand the processes entailed by your business. Craft usage, distribution and access policies to prevent employees from clicking on fishy links!

Garmisch 2010 Cybersecurity Meeting

There are some costs involved when aiming to tighten the online security of your business. If you do it smart, you’ll have a lot to win. Search for an antivirus package that is known to do amazing jobs; be warned though as the most expensive antivirus is not necessarily the one your organisation needs.

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