Could your business withstand a cyber-attack that resulted in theft of data or money? Before you decide that protecting your business is a hassle, consider the answer to this question. Here’s a list of the things that you can do to protect your business from cyber theft. Run Background Checks Before Hiring Hackers aren’t the only criminals trying to access your data. Potential employees can be shady, and too many companies, especially small to medium businesses, fail to run background checks before hiring. You may find out too late that an employee isn’t trustworthy. It’s not just employees that you have to worry about. Ex-employees and on-site contractors also run the risk of trying to access sensitive data. Create Password Policies Create a policy on how passwords should be created and how often the passwords should be changed. If possible, use software that automates this by requiring employees to change their password every 60 to 90 days and requires that passwords are complex (i.e. eight or more characters with uppercase, lowercase, number and symbol). Some of these policies go even more in depth requiring that expired passwords can’t be used again for a year, that the password can’t contain any part of the user’s name, and that it not have any repeating characters. The more complex the passwords are, the harder they are to hack. Because employees often use the same passwords for work and personal websites, it’s possible for these passwords to be stolen, either by a hacker or co-worker. Once the password is unveiled, it can be used to steal a person’s identity. For those concerned, check out Identity Theft Protection to find companies that offer online identity theft protection. Educate Employees on How to Keep Data Secure Along those same lines, employees should be educated on what they can do to protect the company’s data. This training should be held at least once a year for all employees and should include topics regarding what the company’s policy is if there’s a threat, as well as how to handle the situation. The training should also include signs that a computer may have malware and what they should do if it’s suspected, as well as the company’s Internet security guidelines and Internet safety protocols. Educating your employees is essential to protecting your business. Encrypt Confidential Data If you deal with proprietary data from clients, it’s essential that the data is kept safe and away from hackers’ eyes. One of the best ways to do this is through data encryption. Wherever data is stored—whether on the business’s network, removable data, computers or laptops—encryption technologies should be used to protect that data. According to a survey conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance and Symantec, 66 percent of small and medium businesses are not concerned with cyber threats and 77 percent believe that their business is safe from cyber threats (which include threats such as viruses, malware and hackers). The fact is that many of these businesses are vulnerable to attacks. According to Visa, more than 90 percent of payment data breaches are from small businesses. Have a Computer Dedicated to Banking To decrease the chances of threats to business bank accounts, consider having a computer that is use solely for banking. According to the Business Banking Trust Study conducted in 2011, 56 percent of businesses experienced some form of payment fraud within the previous 12 months. By using the computer for only banking activity, companies are less open to breaches. Despite the fact that this fraud is through the banks, the business is responsible for the consequences of such attacks, and many companies are not able to financially survive these attacks. Insure Your Company Even when everyone follows the best practices for cyber security, there’s the possibility of losing valuable data or money through cyber-crimes. Because of this, all small and medium business owners should look into insurance policies that protect their companies from cyber-crimes and computer fraud. When it comes to your business, don’t leave it up to chance. Follow the above steps and you’ll add another level of security that will help prevent theft of information or money from your business. Images: ”Cyber Attack Concept. The Word of Red Color Located over Text of White Color. / Shutterstock.com“ __________________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Tweak Your Biz: Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz? 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