Did you know that only one cyber attack can cost your business up to $3 million? Lack of knowledge and resources is the number one reason behind an increasing number of cyberattacks on businesses. Their number has grown four-fold in the previous year.
While fully providing your website with sophisticated protection admittedly isn’t cheap, a security breach is much more expensive. Apart from immediate damage and financial losses, a severe cyberattack can put you out of business in a matter of weeks. So how should you deal with this?
Start with this 101 guide to cybersecurity for businesses.
Lesson 1: Spare no expense on cybersecurity
If your business is handling any confidential users’ or partners’ data, cybersecurity mustn’t be an afterthought for you. It has to be an absolute priority.
If you are wondering just how much of your budget should be dedicated to cybersecurity, consider this – most small businesses allocate less than $500 annually. This number just doesn’t cut it.
The monthly or yearly cybersecurity budget cannot be arbitrary. You have to understand your unique business needs and find the most fitting solution. In the following sections, we will address cybersecurity needs for any business.
Lesson 2: Don’t skip basic security
The first step to ensuring your business is safe online is using HTTPS protocol. This protocol prevents hackers from accessing or changing information that flows between your website and end-users.
All you need to do is use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate, which usually comes in package with domain registration. Apart from protecting your online data from theft or abuse, an SSL certificate will also help your business website rank higher in the search engines and achieve greater loading speed. At the same time, the SSL certificate will boost website visitors’ trust in your business.
Another basic security move you should apply in the early stages of website and business network development is making sure data is compartmentalized, rather than stored in one specific part of the network. This will provide you with extra maneuvering space in case there is a security breach, containing the damage to a single compromised network segment.
As obvious and basic as this sounds, regularly update your software. It often feels like an annoying checkbox exercise, rather than something meaningful. However, keep in mind that software updates serve a specific purpose – they upgrade software features, functionalities, and its resilience to malware and hacking.
Lesson 3: Learn what you’re dealing with
If you want to protect your website effectively, you have to know the dangers you’re dealing with. Of course, you will probably hire professionals to take care of your cybersecurity in case you have a robust information system. But that doesn’t mean you should be oblivious to basics of cybersecurity.
As a business owner, you have to know that money and corporate espionage are the most common motivation for cyber attacks. Cyber attacks usually come in the form of:
- Hacking – compromising cybersecurity by exploiting vulnerabilities of digital devices, for example bringing down web pages or certain website features by flooding the system with requests it cannot respond in a timely manner
- Malware – software designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to your website or app
- Phishing – tricking users into willingly sharing their confidential information
- Errors or privilege abuse by employees
These cyberattacks keep getting more sophisticated. In the following years, hackers will employ machine learning to easily discover and exploit vulnerabilities in your system. Apart from understanding which security solutions are the right fit for your business, it is also important to understand that protecting your business is teamwork.
Lesson 4: Don’t assume your employees know security protocols
Irresponsible behavior or lack of awareness is a weak spot in every cybersecurity strategy, so take extra time to educate your employees about the importance of online safety.
Employees should be trained in keeping data safe and recognizing dangers online. They often don’t know it’s their responsibility to keep the professional correspondence confidential or not copy their work-related documents to personal devices.
Another particularly important task is to educate employees to recognize phishing attempts and malware and have protocols in place to prevent these cyberattacks. For example, every email or attachment should be routinely scanned with a “zero-trust” approach. This means that even if you are sharing data with a trusted partner, this process should go through a routine scan.
When you give your employees login credentials or access to critical network segments, avoid giving them too many privileges. Keep them confined to features and services that are relevant to their assignments.
Lesson 5: Rely on high-quality protection
When it comes to truly equipping your business to withstand serious cyberattacks, you’ll want to arm yourself with reputable, high-quality antivirus software.
For more robust systems and networks that include a high-volume exchange of information, this kind of software may not be enough. In that case, you may want to use Website Categorization API which enables you and your employees to:
- Investigate threats using nothing but a URL or domain name Identify malware, phishing, fraud, and spyware. For example, e-commerce businesses often deal with form jacking, which means implanting malicious code into forms filled by buyers. Cybersecurity teams can use website categorization to look for indicators of compromised security, identify the source of attempted attacks and blacklist those domains.
- You can easily block bad content within your application, appliance or company network.
- Prevent potential damage to your brand image by monitoring references in unwanted categories.
- Examine the content of a page to determine the context in terms of brands, topics or keywords, simultaneously providing a rich data source to buyers for reaching target audiences and to publishers for monetizing their inventory.
What makes website categorization so advanced is its three-level analysis in real-time, which includes page crawling, content analysis, and human verification. While it may sound hard to believe, laser-focused cybersecurity tools do exist and they are getting smarter by the day. Here’s an interesting blog on – How to verify website authenticity
The final point brings us back to the first one – an all-encompassing cybersecurity strategy is a serious investment in tools, education, and clearly outlined protocols. However, it’s an investment that will pay off in the long run.
In the following years, the importance of automated security solutions will increase, so now is the right time to choose the one that suits your business needs.