Data Breaches are a common part of our lives in 2018. Last year, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center there were 1579 Data Breaches in the United States alone. This is a 44 percent increase from 2016. Both of these years represented the highest frequency of data breaches ever. Because this is now a fact of live, it is extremely important for people and businesses to protect their finances from cyber criminals. Here are six ways to protect you and your business from hackers.
Be wary of any email you receive from an unknown source.
Most email service providers have very good systems in place to weed out spam and phishing emails. But hackers are getting very clever when it comes to sending out emails that are designed to infiltrate your business. It is important to examine any email that you are not certain where it came from. Many will come from an email address like irs.com, but everything else in the email looks like an official email sent from the Internal Revenue Service. Some hackers attempt to pretend to send an email from an email address similar to a coworker. The headline is usually urgent, attempting to get the receiver to click on something in the email before inspecting the email thoroughly.
Be careful of everything you click on
Before you click on anything with your computer, you should either know for certain what it is and where it came from. It is important to get another coworker or a member of your IT Department to look at anything that you are not certain of the source of the email. No matter what you are suspicious of on the device you are working with, it is always important to be careful what you click on.
Do not use the same password for everything.
Passwords need to have a bare minimum set of requirements. It is best to not use the same password for all of your accounts. It is also important to give your employees solid examples of what good passwords look like. Here are some examples of strong and weak passwords:
This would be an example of a password that is extremely secure.
This would be an example of a password that is a little less secure, but easier to remember.
BillyBob or password
These are examples of terrible passwords that should never be used.
Many people use some version of the second example. When your employees have to change their password periodically they can change the special character from _ to = or to +. They can also change the word S0cC3R to Ba53ba11 depending upon the season. Giving them concrete examples and helping them find ways to change the password in a way they can remember the password over again.
Only purchase things online from websites that use https
Shopping online is very common place in today’s marketplace. It is important to be careful which website you are purchasing from. You will be giving them both your personal and financial information. For that reason, it is important to be extremely careful who you do business with online. One way to determine if the site you are shopping with is legitimate is whether or not they use https. In the past many sites used only http or simply www. What this stands for is: Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. If the site does not have the S added to the end of the website, it is not as secure as it could be. This additional S means the session between the web server and the browser on the mobile device you are using is encrypted.
If you own a small business, make sure you purchase adequate cyber insurance.
There are several types of insurance that carriers offer to protect your business from the damages suffered from a data breach. What many small business owners need to realize is that data breaches are no longer only a concern for big businesses. Large organizations have caught on to the risks they face in the realm of cyber security. Because of this reality, most large corporations are now investing in adequate protections. Because of this many hackers are now looking at attacking small businesses because of the ease of access to many of these organizations. Many of these organizations have vendor relationships with big businesses and hackers gain access to the larger database through these partnerships. Two of the largest data breaches in history, Target and Home Depot, started just this way. Proper insurance can help protect your business when a data breach does occur, but these coverages are additional to a bare minimum package of coverages. This is something to speak with your agent the next time you are looking for a general liability insurance quote in Texas.
Shred all sensitive documents
Shredding all sensitive data your business has of customers, employees, and vendors is essential to protecting your business over the long term. There are outside businesses that can help with the proper disposal of the shredded material. Some businesses may be required by law to keep a physical copy of some information for a certain amount of time. Financial institutions and medical facilities are a few of the industries that are required to keep some documents for a certain amount of time. There are many ways to keep these documents safe and many of the ways your business goes about securing this information depends on many things unique to your business. Shredding as many documents as possible is extremely important to protect your business.