Cyber espionage is increasingly prevalent and, contrary to what most business owners would like to think, is a danger to your business’s success. Mounting reports of breaches businesses and government network security should be chilling to anyone with valuable digital information.

As a business owner, you may not consider yourself an expert on the cyber technology you use everyday – email, payment card networks, and your website. But in many ways, you can’t afford not to be. At the current pace of technology, it’s essential to stay current on the threats to your network security and how best to protect yourself from them. These tips will give you an idea what you need to know and who can help you to protect your business from cyber-attacks.

No one is immune to cyber attack

There’s no such thing as a company that’s too big to be hacked. Ask the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States,, or Cisco Systems, both Fortune 1000 companies.  Neither is there any such thing as a company that’s too small to be noticed by hackers. Many criminals target smaller companies because they know these businesses are less likely to have dedicated network security personnel or rigorous safety protocols.

There are ways to protect your business

We know that hacking is going on all the time, but that doesn’t mean you’re helpless against it.Attackers must stay ahead of security updates to succeed. Software manufacturers frequently update their products to close the vulnerabilities hackers use to steal information. You can protect yourself by keeping your software up to date and maintaining malware and virus protection. It’s also advisable to contract with company that provides penetration testing. This entails “ethical hacking” where a third party searches your systems for vulnerabilities so you can fix them before they are exploited.

Use strong passwords

All computers, email accounts, and shared drives should be secured with strong passwords. This means at least 8 characters in length and a variety of lower and uppercase letter, numbers, and other symbols.

Be wary of emails from unknown sources

This is VERY simple. Tell your employees once a month to NEVER download a .exe file, unless authorized by management.

Download only from trusted websites

Investigate generic websites before you download anything from them as well, even if the software you’re seeking is well known. Try to download only from professional, on the level websites that ensure your protection. You may want to designate who can download files and updates in your business as well.

Audit entry points

Your network is a fluid, changing creature. It is vital to monitor who can access them and from where to ensure safety. Limit offsite access to only people and IP addresses you absolutely trust.

Put systems critical to business on a different network

Have those systems needed for day to day business and your other systems on different networks. When a network goes down that’s needed to put your business forward, it can really put a stint in progress.

Disable unused ports

There’s no reason to keep unused ports up and running when closing them down is much safer and provides one less entry point for hackers to access.

Considering how widespread and dangerous cyber espionage is today, it’s essential that you make your network security a priority for your business. Set aside a budget for security. Make sure each employee is trained on and is following security protocols on a daily basis. It’s easier to assume an attack will come than try to recover after the fact.

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