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Important Cybersecurity Considerations for Businesses

Running a business is tough. There are many things you need to keep in mind, from important deadlines to machinery maintenance, to customer satisfaction. It is imperative to stay on top of all the demands of running a business — letting even one thing slip can result in catastrophic consequences for your entire organization. The internet has helped immensely in improving efficiency and solving various problems in the business world. While its contributions to improving business operations cannot be denied, our newfound connectivity also comes with a fair share of risks. If managed incorrectly, the internet can quickly become a business owner’s worst nightmare.

It’s Dangerous Out There, Protect Yourself!

Unfortunately, business owners do not always do their homework when it comes to vulnerabilities associated with the internet. Digital interactions can open the door to viruses and hackers, which can wreak havoc on your business if you do not take the right precautions. The nature of such havoc is realized in things like data theft, fraudulent activities, and the stagnation of your business’ growth.

A lack of cybersecurity measures can lead to a loss of customers and negatively affect a brand’s reputation.

Finally, the monetary cost of cybercrime can cripple businesses, launching them into debt that is often impossible to recover from.

Thus it is essential for you as a business owner to take appropriate measures in order to prevent a cybercrime disaster. Basic precautions include installing antivirus software, prohibiting employees from unstable sites, using a secure file sharing system and putting cybersecurity support teams in place to call on in case things go awry. Here are a few of the current issues revolving around cybercrime and cybersecurity, that you as a business owner should be aware of:

Customer Safety

Customer data safety is one of the biggest cybersecurity concerns of today. Thus, it is in any business’s best interest to not only consider securing their own data, but also securing the data of their customers. This is especially true for services that involve the use of websites, network services, and data storage.

Today all your clients are aware of the threat of cybercrime. In turn, what they expect from your business is an assurance about the safety of their data and private information. The first rule of customer service is to keep the client happy, and so ensuring your customer’s peace of mind when it comes to the protection of their information in an issue of utmost importance. With this in mind, you should try to implement measures that protect customer data from malware threats as well as phishing sites and scams. To do so, experts at Atera recommend taking a three-pronged approach towards customer-related websites.

First, it is key to install good antivirus software that can recognize malware threats, and detect suspicious websites and phishing scams. Second, you must institute a secure web browsing policy. As stated by Atera, “seemingly reputable sites may contain spyware traps, or the sites themselves may be counterfeit — phishing sites posing as the real thing to lure you into their scams and debacles.” Using web protection services allows you to customize web access policies and prevent regular internet usage from becoming a threat to customer data. Finally, ensuring that each device has the latest patch management protocols in place is integral to secure against crimes.

Internal Risk

Perhaps one of the most daunting cybersecurity risks is that which could arise from within your business itself. Internal risk is a pressing cybersecurity concern. When cybercrimes are committed from within a business, they have the potential to do the most harm. Hackers from within tend to have the easiest access to data. Insider attacks also do the most damage when it comes to company reputation. Thus, considering and guarding against internal risks is something you as a business owner need to heavily prioritize.

If you’re wondering where to start, protecting your business’ precious data against misuse from internal threats begins with thorough employee training. Your employees should first and foremost be trained on how to correctly handle company-related data and information. Secondly, you should have strict policies in place when it comes to handling company data. For example, you could insist that employees only use approved and encrypted USB drives to transport data if necessary. Additionally, consider two-factor authentication and revalidation of employees’ login credentials for privileged access procedures. Identity management solutions, safe BYOD policies, and regular system updates are other effective solutions to safeguard against insider threats to cybersecurity. Finally, a happy employee is less likely to leak company data and put a business at risk. With this in mind, try to put forth measures that keep your employees satisfied and content in the workplace.

Industrial Internet of Things

With the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, technology like the internet of things (IoT), 3D printing and artificial intelligence (AI) have become more prolific. These developments allow for businesses to find new ways of optimizing production. The industrial internet of things (IIoT) is one of these recent technological evolutions that has significantly affected the way businesses run. As defined by FSG, “The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is comprised of a vast network of interconnected machines and devices that work alongside an industry’s communication technologies to provide greater efficiency and optimized processes.” Essentially the IIoT is comprised of any device within a specific industry that is connected to the internet. The IIoT exists to improve a particular industry, and so, all the internet-connected devices within an industry are also connected to a central server, where all the data can be read by employees. The opportunities this sort of technology allows for include the use of smart buildings, predictive maintenance, and remote asset control.

However, all these benefits come with strings attached. Data security is a major issue with the IIoT as the more devices that are connected to central servers, the higher the number of hackable entry-points for cybercriminals. Once even one entry-point is compromised, a cybercriminal can take down all the IIoT connected devices with ease. These interconnected devices present no small threat to businesses, as every device that is connected to the system becomes a part of the botnet, which, when maliciously recruited for a botnet arm, has the power to have hugely negative repercussions in the online and physical world.

Considering these potential risks, you need to be careful before investing in the IIoT. If you choose to turn to the IIoT to improve your business, ensure that the IIot smart platform you choose has multiple layers of inbuilt security. Liaise with cybersecurity experts to safeguard your platform from external intrusion, and if necessary, hire a dedicated team to constantly keep your platform impenetrable. Cybersecurity experts should consider investing in enterprise endpoint security software to keep all devices on your network secure.

With the rapid advancement of technology and its quick integration into the business sector, businesses must stay current and updated about issues concerning cybersecurity and cybercrime. While the rise of the internet has proven to revolutionize business in a number of positive ways, business owners must not forget that it also brings a host of new threats with it.  Thus, it is critical that businesses are aware of the risks associated with technology, and take appropriate steps to safeguard themselves in the best way possible.

Brooke Faulkner
Brooke Faulkner
Brooke Faulkner is a mom, writer, and entrepreneur in the Pacific Northwest. She loves all things literary, doggish, and plant-based. Of those, words are her favorite. You can find more of her work on Twitter @faulknercreek.

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