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COVID-19 has forced companies large and small to rapidly retool the way they do business, with even the smallest businesses making remote work arrangements for employees. But while the pandemic has inspired an unprecedented surge of cyber attacks, including a heap of new security challenges for business, many small companies aren’t rewriting cyber security policies or implementing new security measures at the same rate as larger companies, and it seems the smaller the company, the fewer the changes.

With the economy beginning to contract, many small businesses may be struggling to find the funds or staff to address evolving cybersecurity concerns. Small businesses already make up 43 percent of cyber crime targets in the U.S., and in 2019, data breaches cost small businesses an average of $200,000, with 60 percent of those attacked going out of business within six months.

Improving cyber security might cost some money, but it’ll surely be worth keeping your business afloat — and it might even be cheaper than the cost of a data breach. Protecting yourself is often as simple as implementing a few smart policies, and using the right security tools.

Update Your Policies to Address the Realities of Remote Work

If you have employees working remotely during the crisis, you need to implement some policies that acknowledge the unique security risks of working from home. First of all, employees won’t be behind a company firewall, and might not have company security software running on their systems.

Require that employees access company data over a private network — anyone who doesn’t have access to a home network should be required to work onsite, where they can access a secure connection. Public connections, like those in coffee shops or libraries, might not be available anyway, and if they are, they’re not safe — hackers can jump on them to access your data. Clarify that employees shouldn’t save company data to their personal devices, including storage like flash drives, personal cloud storage, or personal email. All of these are insecure places to store data.

Use the Right Tools

Software solutions are available to give you and your employees the tools you need to stay secure while working in a challenging situation. Employees can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access your company’s internal network and even use a virtual desktop there, which provides both storage solutions and an extra layer of security.

Employees will also need endpoint security, including anti-malware protection and firewall protection. Advanced threat protection will include security for endpoints and other network devices and email, as well as malware protection. The best advanced threat protection offers real-time monitoring to catch breaches and other attacks before they do too much damage.

Train Your Employees

Of course, employees will need regular security check-ins to make sure their security features are optimized. However, they’ll also need additional training in cybersecurity, especially as everyone is on-edge and stressed-out at the moment — in other words, employees are more likely than ever before to be in the perfect state of mind to fall for a phishing email or other social engineering tactic. Regular training, even if it’s just videos and online quizzes, will help keep employees on their toes, and will maybe help you single out individuals who need further attention.

Supply Devices

If you can, it’s safest to supply your employees the devices they need to work from home. It’s more fair to the employees, who may otherwise have to use old or underpowered equipment, or scramble to come up with what they need on their own. But it’s not just about fairness — you have much more control over what happens on company devices, and you can, at least in theory, keep employees from using them for personal stuff. This can help keep hackers from compromising your company data, since you don’t know what emails your employees are answering in their downtime, or which questionable websites they might be visiting. Their personal devices could already be compromised.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been dangerous in all kinds of ways, some more predictable than others. Make sure your company is aware of the dangers COVID-19 poses for your cyber security, so you protect yourself on every front.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from smallbiztechnology.com  SOURCE

Cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to steal data and make a buck at the expense of someone they’ve never met. They don’t care if they ruin someone’s life or destroy a business in the process. This is why it’s so important to stay up-to-date with the latest technology.

Cyber security threats are constantly evolving. If you let your software or hardware – or both – fall behind the times, then you put your business at serious risk. Five years ago, your malware protection might have been the best on the market. If you haven’t updated since then, you need to change that. Here’s what you can do right now to protect everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Stay updated. After a while, developers and manufacturers stop supporting their old hardware and software. Many of them simply don’t have the resources to keep updating older products. They need to make sure their current products are supported and secure. After five years, they may stop sending out security patches for their software. Or they might not offer help-desk support for a seven-year-old router.

If you run into this situation, you may need to invest in new equipment or software. It can be a tough pill to swallow, but it doesn’t compare to the cost of dealing with a hack or data loss. Data loss can be devastating for a business. Some never recover and have to close their doors because the cost is so high – and customers don’t want to give their money to a business that isn’t going to keep their data secure.

At the same time, you need to update your existing equipment and software. Make sure everything has the latest security patches. Most hardware and software come with an option for automatic updates. If you’re concerned that you’ll miss an update, then keep this option on. It is a good idea, however, to check everything periodically to make sure the updates are being applied, just in case.

Say yes to proactive monitoring. Proactive network monitoring can be your best friend in the fight against cyber-attacks. Many IT security firms now offer proactive services. Basically, they watch your network 24/7. If a threat is found, they can stop it before it does any damage. They act immediately to stop those threats.

You can sign up for real-time reports or just get updates once a week to stay informed so you know what’s going on with your network. Proactive monitoring can also make sure your systems are up-to-date (coming back to our first point). If they detect a vulnerability, then they can work to patch it. This means you have so much less to worry about so you can focus on what really matters: growing your business and taking care of customers!

Back up everything. If you don’t have data backups for your business, it’s time to change that. Setting up a data backup system – whether it’s local or cloud-based – can sound like a lot of work. You might have a ton of data, especially if you’ve been in operation for long. But not having a backup system can tear your business apart.

If a piece of hardware fails or a hacker gets into your data, you may have to dig deep into your pocket to recover it or you may just lose it all. There are a lot of scenarios where data can be lost.

Investing in a backup system, like a secure cloud backup, solves this. You can set up a secure system that backs up data daily (or nightly), weekly or whenever you need it. It’s good to keep backups off-site just in case anything happens on-site (electrical surges, flood, fire, theft, etc.). If data is lost or your network falls victim to ransomware, then you can restore your data and continue operations!

These tips can seem like a lot, but when you partner with a dedicated IT services company, you can overcome a lot of hurdles. Working with IT specialists is how to keep your business safe in a world where cybercriminals are actively trying to break in. You want someone with the expertise to secure your network watching over your shoulders.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

In the past couple of months, just about everyone has been forced to shift priorities. If you’re like many business owners, you are intently focused on pivoting your business to accommodate today’s “new normal.” In fact, you are probably investing so much of your time in trying to retain your customers and generate new cash flow that you barely have time to even think about cyber security.

The problem is that cybercriminals and hackers know there’s no better time to strike than during a global crisis. In fact, they’re probably working overtime to craft new malware while the rest of us are trying to manage how our lives have been turned upside down. While you are so focused on your business, these cyber thugs are finding new ways into your IT network so they can steal data and passwords, compromise your clients’ private information and even demand large ransoms.

Cybercrime is already on the rise and is expected to cause $6 trillion in damages by 2021! But, if history repeats itself, you can bet hackers are already out in full force right now. We’ve already seen how headlines are changing from stories about COVID-19 to accounts of a frenzy of cyber-attacks on corporations and small businesses.

Here are solutions you can implement during these crazy times to help protect your business data, money and productivity:

  • Be more suspicious of incoming e-mails.

Because people have been scared, confused and not really focused for a while now, it’s the perfect time for hackers to send e-mails with dangerous malware and viruses. You probably have received a bunch of COVID-19-focused emails. Always carefully inspect the e-mail and make sure you know the sender. There has already been a CDC-gov e-mail address out there that’s not legitimate and has spammed inboxes across the country.

Avoid clicking links in the e-mail unless it’s clear where they go. And you should never download an attachment unless you know who sent it and what it is. Communicate these safeguards to everyone on your team, especially if they are working from home.

  • Ensure your work-from-home computers are secure.

Another reason to expect a rise in cyber-attacks during these times is the dramatic increase in employees working from home. Far too many employers won’t think about security as their team starts working at the kitchen table. That’s a dangerous precedent.

First, make sure your employees and contractors are not using their home computers or devices when working. Second, ensure your work-at home computers have a firewall that’s turned on. Finally, your network and data are not truly secure unless your employees utilize a virtual private network (VPN). If you need help in arranging or improving your new work-from-home environment, we would be happy to get your entire team set up. Our goal is always to help your business to thrive with greater cyber security and superior technology that improves efficiency.

  • Improve your password strategy.

During crises like this one, your passwords could mean the difference between spending your time working to grow your business and trying to recoup finances and private data that’s been hacked. Make a point now to reevaluate your passwords and direct your team to create stronger passwords.

Also, while it’s so convenient to save your passwords in your web browser, it also lessens your security. Because web browsers simply require their own password or PIN to access saved passwords, a skilled hacker can bypass this hurdle. Once they access your saved passwords, they can steal as much as they want – credit card information, customers’ private data and more!

Instead, you should consider a password manager to keep all of your passwords in one place. These password managers feature robust security.

You, your team and your family have enough to concern yourselves with at the moment. There’s no need to invite in more problems by letting your computer and network security slide during these times.

While this coronavirus scare has negatively affected countless businesses, we are proud to say we are open and continuously servicing our customers. If you need additional security advice or would like to have a consultation to discuss how to keep your data safe or how we can help you work more effectively, simply connect with us today.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE