Cyber crime is a clear and present danger. Most, if not all, organizations take precautions to avoid loss from traditional robberies or theft, but may not give cyber security a second thought. However, getting hacked could put your proprietary and/or confidential business information, your customers' private information and assets, and your organization's reputation on the line.
According to Chubb, in 2011, a typical data breach resulted in a $5.5 million loss for the company. This doesn't even take into account the cost of a company's reputation and brand. Businesses are starting to take cyber crimes more seriously as regulations and laws regarding data security evolve and increase in number and as they learn how prevalent and costly a cyber security breach can actually be. To help you safeguard your business, here are a few things you can do to keep your business' and customers' data safe from hackers:
- Employee Training and Education
Not all employees are aware that the little things they do, or don't, do can put your business and your customers at risk. For example, do your employees know that if they don't set strong, complex passwords, they could make your organization vulnerable to acyber attack? Are they aware that every time they choose to download something online, they could potentially be introducing malware to their system and your network? Do they uderstand all of the reasons why they shouldn't open or click the links within an email from someone they don't know? A comprehensive employee education plan and well-defined policies can give your employees all of the necessary knowledge so they are aware of the important job they have of protecting your customers' and your business' private information, as well as your company's reputation. Likewise, employee education and training should be ongoing, keeping the importance of data security top-of-mind.
- Secure Devices
Electronic devices should always be secured and locked—both electronically and physically. If employees make a habit of walking away from their computers without locking them, or leave their company-issued mobile devices and/or laptops in their cars while they go out to lunch, your business becomes vulnerable to data theft. Ensure that your employees always secure their electronic devices and that access is limited to only relevant parties. Also, when devices are no longer needed, they should be disposed of properly.
- Limit Remote Access
There may be some instances where certain employees need to access your organization's information remotely, but that access should be limited. When employees are accessing your organization's sensitive files from a non-secured wireless network, it can leave you vulnerable to an attack, therefore, access should be limited. If you foresee an employee needing to routinely work remotely, have your IT department or resources ensure a secure connection on the device the employee will be using.
- Invest in IT
Installing firewalls and encryption technology, and updating security software to prevent malware are some of the things that an IT professional can coordinate and manage. Firewalls are installed to block hackers from accessing your electronic devices and private data. A knowledgeable IT professional or department is an investment that could potentially save your business from a financial loss and from the incalculable loss of a damaged reputation.
- Third-Party Evaluation
There's a reason why all serious writers hire an editor. Sometimes no matter how many times you read a document, you're bound to miss something that a second pair of eyes will catch. From the inside, your security measures may appear sound, but a third-party, unbiased expert may find areas where your organization is vulnerable to exposure. Investing in a periodic review from an objective third-party could help your organization avoid a breach, ultimately, protecting both you and your customers.
With the advancement of technology and our interconnected world, it may be impossible to completely avoid a cyber attack, but you can take steps to protect your business. Firewalls, encryption, thorough and proactive employee training, and keeping software up-to-date are just a few things you can do to protect your data.
Although there is no surefire way to stop cyber crime, each of these measures will help you protect your business from a cyber security breech. But in case one happens, it's important to have the right protection in place to help you bounce back from this type of disaster. With cyber liability insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing you have the coverage in place to protect your business when you need it most.