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Sensitive information is stored and accessed digitally by businesses every day. While it’s a lot more convenient for companies to have data stored digitally, unfortunately this also means these files are more vulnerable to attacks from hackers. Malicious users can gain access to a company’s data in several ways, including phishing, a method which takes advantage of unsuspecting employees as a gateway.
Our founder and managing partner, Terry Tateossian, gives her take on the subject as well. You could read her opinion under number 4. Use Different Passwords For All Accounts
However, there are also a number of ways companies can protect themselves and their data from such attacks. Below, nine professionals from Young Entrepreneur Council discuss how companies can guard against these attacks and why every business should make their digital security a priority.
1. Communicate With Your Team
Communicating regularly with your team about phishing attacks is critical. Most people in an organization learn from these mistakes, but it takes one compromised incident in order to put them on high alert. Having regular meetings about what a phishing attack might look like helps prepare your team in advance of a breach. You can reinforce these meetings by highlighting the consequences of these attacks not only for the company’s reputation, but also for the security of customer information. Phishing sites regularly use similar-looking domains that mimic popular online sites your company may be using. Encourage the use of password vault programs like LastPass, which can store complex passwords and only works when the URL matches the stored URL. – Robert De Los Santos, Sky High Party Rentals
2. Change Your Passwords Regularly
My team likes to switch them up every four months. By this point, we all know the switch dates by heart so we know when to expect them and change our documents. Regularly changing your passwords is one of the best lines of defense against hackers and bad actors looking to steal your information. – Amine Rahal, IronMonk Solutions
3. Update Your Software
A basic and simple method that many businesses neglect is to simply update their software. This can be your content management system platform, cloud-based tool or any other program you use. Software and technology companies are always adding security protocols to their products, but they won’t work if you aren’t updating your apps and tools. You can choose an auto-update feature in your tools’ settings that will automatically update the solutions you use. If you’re more tech-savvy, you can create manual updates too. But the key is to stay on top of these changes and to update your entire suite of tools to keep your data safe from hackers. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
I always tell clients, “You cannot prevent a hack or cybersecurity attack. It will inevitably happen to you at some point. You can only defend against the damages by being one step ahead of the attackers.” One easy way is to never use the same password for all your digital access points. From your computer password to your email password to your hosting and website dashboard, make them all different. That way, if someone gets a hold of that one phrase, they won’t have access to all your customer data. Then, store those passwords in an encrypted password vault so the likelihood of a breach is as reduced as possible. – Terry Tateossian, Socialfix Media
5. Use Multi-Factor Authentication
The best way to keep your company safe from cyberattacks is to have your employees use multi-factor authentication. In other words, new sign-ins require a phone, email or code verification before account information is provided. Use this strategy to stop hackers in their tracks since it’s unlikely that they will have access to the secondary device. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
6. Install Software You Trust
There are hackers who create applications and software that look trustworthy but are actually not. When you install them on your computer, you actually end up installing malware that can create a lot of damage. Beware of such malicious elements. One way of doing that is to check the number of active installations and read the reviews before downloading any software. Once you know that it isn’t a look-alike app and is actually trustworthy, go ahead and download it. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
7. Use A Password Management Tool
A password management tool can help you boost the security on your website or plugins that you use. We use such a tool in our business since we need multiple team members to access different platforms. It makes it easy for us to share passwords without actually revealing what they are. We also have control over who can use a password by enabling or disabling access or by changing the password itself. A good password management tool will auto-generate complex passwords that are unlikely to get hacked. It will encrypt your username, email and password so that it can’t be accessed by outside parties. This is a simple tactic that any business can use to protect their business data right away. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
8. Limit Employee Access To Sensitive Info
Far too often, vulnerable systems and information are left exposed to the possibility of human error. To reduce your chances of a system breach, I recommend making sure that only the most trusted team members have login credentials to access any sensitive data and ensure that all company accounts for outgoing employees are deleted after they’ve left. The worst thing you can do is forget to change access codes for an unhappy outgoing employee who might be able to turn around and jeopardize sensitive documents. – Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets
9. Use An Anti-Phishing Toolbar
Companies that want to protect themselves from phishing attacks and hackers can use an anti-phishing toolbar. An anti-phishing toolbar is a web browser extension that protects against these attacks when you visit a malicious website. Anti-phishing toolbars check everything that you click on in real time and block any possible threat or attack. They’re especially useful for people who aren’t knowledgeable about cybersecurity and want to ensure that their information and data is protected no matter what site they visit. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms