Cybersecurity is one of the most important factors in any business. Yet many entrepreneurs still struggle with the basics of digital hygiene.
Worldwide, the cost of cybercrime tipped $6 trillion in 2021, so it’s safe the assume that your company is a target and work to mitigate the potential risks.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your company’s security, we’ve got seven tips that all businesses should implement:
Avoid Common Passwords Like The Plague
According to recent research, most of the world’s common passwords can be hacked in under a second.
Even C-suite executives who should know better are guilty of bad password habits; the Daily Mail reports that ‘123456’ is the most common CEO password, for instance.
In addition to avoiding insecure and easily compromised passwords, you should:
- Make sure your passwords are different for every account. Don’t use your name or birthday, common words like “password”, or any other information that can easily be guessed by others (like facts about yourself).
- Make sure your passwords are complex enough to be difficult to guess but still memorable enough so that you can remember them easily when it’s time to log in.
- Don’t use the same password across multiple accounts—especially sensitive ones like email addresses and banking apps; this is one of the easiest ways hackers get access to sensitive information!
Use Two-factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication offers a second layer of protection. This can be done in a variety of ways: via SMS, phone, email, biometrics, or a dedicated authenticator app such as Microsoft Authenticator.
Another option is to add an extra layer of security for some accounts only. For example, you might require employees who access sensitive information on company servers (such as financial data) to use two-factor authentication when logging in from outside the office network on their personal devices.
Use A VPN
Virtual private networks (VPNs) allow you to connect to the internet securely and shield your online activity. VPNs are used by individuals and businesses alike, and they can be used in a variety of ways.
In general, when you use a VPN, you encrypt your data so it’s harder for hackers and other malicious actors to access.
As such, VPNs have become popular tools for protecting personal data while browsing the web or conducting business online — particularly in countries where governments restrict access to certain websites or online services without offering an acceptable explanation or cause for doing so.
Get A Firewall
Firewalls are software or hardware used to protect servers from attacks. Firewalls can be either network or host-based and have several different types, including:
- Packet filtering – This type of firewall filters packets based on certain characteristics (such as the source, destination, and port).
- Application layer – In this type of firewall, all applications that access the network must pass through the firewall first before reaching their destination. Firewalls that block specific ports are considered application layer firewalls.
Use False Answers To Security Questions
When you go to sign up for a new service, you’ll likely be asked to provide security questions and answers.
These are meant to be red flags for anyone who gains access to your data, but they can also be easy for someone with some basic information about you (e.g., name, birthdate) to pass.
Instead of using your real personal details like your first address or a pet’s name — which could easily be guessed by someone who knows you — use false answers that are not related to anything personal about yourself.
Update Your Software And Devices
Make sure that you’re updating all of your software as soon as new versions are available, whether it’s an operating system (OS) or an application like Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Also, keep an eye out for updates to third-party applications and plugins that come with your OS — you may need to manually install these updates after they’ve been released by the developer or another party.
Use automatic updates when possible so that unnecessary security patches aren’t missed when they’re released by developers because they could cause issues with certain functions of your programs if not installed correctly.
Limit BYOD Culture As Much As Possible
BYOD stands for bring your own device, and it’s a common strategy in cash-strapped startups because it alleviated some of the financial pressure on companies to provide dedicated devices.
However, what your employees do on their personal devices can significantly impact your business’ security.
For example, if an employee inadvertently downloads a malicious program that has a keylogger, hackers can gain access to your company’s systems. For that reason, it’s best to avoid BYOD culture as much as possible.
Hopefully, these tips will help you stay safe and secure as an entrepreneur. If you want more information about how to protect yourself from hackers or other cyber threats, check out our privacy section for more info.