Data privacy is one of the hottest topics of the moment. With cyber attacks happening on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, it’s more important now than ever to protect your company’s info. Read on to discover how to prepare for a cyber attack and how to recover from one as well. It’s not always fun trying to find new ways to keep your info safe, but it’s one of the most important things you can do for your company.
9 Ways to Prevent Cyber Attacks
1. Invest in a Firewall
One of the most important ways to stop a breach is to invest in an excellent firewall. Many companies simply go with a substandard firewall or a factory installed firewall. These firewalls might work for home computers or personal devices, but they won’t cut it when it comes to your business. Try to find a firewall that will fit your needs as a company. You’ll want to get a firewall that can protect you. If your company deals with large amounts of private data, you’ll definitely need to look into a more secure system.
2. Share Your Security Procedures
Share your procedures with everyone. You might even want to consider posting your procedures in a place where all employees can see it.
⌈“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”- Benjamin Franklin⌋
Should the worst happen, your employees and contractors need to know exactly how to deal with data breaches. The first step is to create a procedure to prepare for the worst. It should include steps such as determining the damage, figuring out the point of entry, alerting customers to the breach and possible consequences, and restoring your systems.
3. Don’t Share Information
You should never share passwords with anyone. All of your systems require each user to create a different password. Make it clear that your employees should never share passwords with each other. It’s easier to discover the data breach when employees aren’t sharing passwords. The person who shares passwords might end up taking the fall should a data breach occur.
You should also never share any private company info. All info should be shared securely. Don’t ever send private info through unsecure channels like Gmail or text.
4. Keep Passwords Up to Date
Keeping your passwords up to date is just as important as creating good passwords. Your passwords should be changed on a regular basis to ensure complete security and to protect against a cyber attack. Passwords should be long and complex. They should include a variety of letters, numbers, and/or special characters. The more obscure the password, the better it will be. Encourage your employees to update their passwords as much as possible. Make password updates mandatory at least every six months.
5. Spread the Word to Users
Ensure all your users understand the importance of data privacy and protecting your network against attacks. You can post this info up with your data breach plan and privacy plan. You may also want to hold a seminar or a class to help your employees understand the importance of cyber privacy. It only takes one cyber attack to completely bring your company down to the ground. Employees need to understand the importance and consequences of their actions.
6. Backup Your Data
Even though you may not want to imagine the worst happening, you need to have a literal backup plan. Make sure your company backs up all data on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Make sure your data backup system is consistently backed up as well. You wouldn’t want your information to become compromised if your data cloud storage didn’t have a sufficient backup plan.
Backup plans are not only helpful for data breaches, but they are also beneficial for any type of catastrophe that could happen around the office. If you don’t back up your data, what would you do in the case of a natural disaster or system crash? It seems silly to worry about those events, but you wouldn’t want to lose everything in them.
7. Create a Recovery Plan
No one wants to think that the worst could actually happen. Yet creating a recovery plan now will increase your chances of recovering from a cyber attack down the road. How long do you expect it will take to get your system back up and running after an attack? It might take longer than you think.
Document and create a recovery plan, then share it with your employees and tech support. It’s not a bad idea to create a training session with your IT and other departments to ensure everyone is on the same page.
8. Alert Customers
One of the most important parts of keeping your company protected, in case of an attack, is alerting your customers after an attack has happened. You might not want to alert your customers, but it’s important to do so.
Your customers have a right to know that their information has been compromised. They also need to know your action plan going forward and to minimize impact. They also have a legal right to know if their info is in the hands of dangerous people.
You want to make sure you cover all your bases when it comes to an attack. You don’t want to worry about any of your customers suing you because you didn’t alert them to the attack in sufficient time.
9. Determine the Impact
After an attack, you need to know the full scope of impact. You can’t do anything to fix the situation until you’ve gauged how bad the situation is. You’ll want to start the recovery plan first. Once you have your initial recovery plan stages in place, start assessing the situation.
4 Ways to Recover from Cyber Attacks
1. Learn from Mistakes
One of the best ways to prevent further data breaches is to learn from the mistakes of your last data breach. This is the way most companies ensure their data is safe from future attacks. How did the attackers get into the system? What can you do in the future to ensure this doesn’t happen? There’s also software to help you analyze your data breaches and discover what future attacks are more likely to affect your company.
2. Install Updates on Your Systems
Your system is only as good as your security measures. In order for your measures to work properly, you need to install updates on your systems as recommended. Many of these updates include patches for breaches. You may have heard about the “Meltdown” and “Spectre” breaches. Similar breaches can be avoided if you download the patches for both.
“Meltdown” and “Spectre” were extreme cases of cyber attacks, but there are hundreds of attacks every year you don’t necessarily hear about. Keeping your systems updated can protect you from these little-known attacks.
3. Continue to Educate Yourself
The educated systems administrator is the safe systems administrator. Make sure your company knows about possible cyber attacks by asking them to attend continual trainings. Make sure your IT department knows how to prevent attacks by requiring them to attend trainings and classes on a regular basis. Ask your IT department to hold their own trainings to pass along the info they gleaned from the trainings.
Stay abreast of the current attacks and their effect on your systems by setting a Google alert for attacks that might affect your company. Try to keep ahead of the hackers and attackers, so you can keep your company info safe.
4. Assume Your System Will Be Compromised
The best way to stay ahead of the hackers is to assume your information will be compromised at some point. If you can prepare for the worst, you’ll already be a few steps ahead of the attackers.
Operate as though your systems might be attacked at any moment. This way, when an attack happens (because an attack will happen at some point), you’ll be prepared and ready for it. You’ll also be able to be up and running much faster than you would if you failed to prepare for it at all.
Preparing for an attack isn’t easy, yet it is a necessary evil in the business world. The more prepared you are for an attack, the easier you’ll be able to recuperate after the attack is over. Staying educated is one of the best ways to do this; the more educated you are, the safer you’ll stay overall.
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