Online security is fast becoming a key issue for businesses of all sizes. In 2013 alone, McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies reported that cybercrime was responsible for between $375 billion and $575 billion in global losses.
Even worse, according to a recent report by the Securities and Exchange Commission, 65% of advisors have been targeted by cybercriminals. The most common form of attack was fraudulent e-mails, including phishing and pharming scams. Over a quarter of advisors reported having already suffered losses. With cybercrimes expected to become increasingly commonplace in the future, what are you doing to manage cyber risks?
Thankfully, the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre has outlined four easy-to-use strategies that will protect your business from up to 85% of all cyberattacks:
- Run application whitelisting to prevent unauthorized programs from executing. Software like Kapersky Endpoint Security for Business Select ($449.95) contains an Application Control feature, which will ensure that your computer only runs trusted, approved applications. This software can be purchased online or at a brick-and-mortar store like Best Buy. In addition to running on major operating systems like Windows, the software contains numerous other helpful security features.
- Update your security software routinely to ensure it protects you from the latest threats. Whether you’re running Windows’ proprietary security software, freeware like AVG, or software like Kaspersky Small Office Security, be sure to stay up-to-date on all security updates. Your software will automatically inform you of updates, and they should be approved immediately.
- Update your operating system’s proprietary software with the most recent releases. Unfortunately, your computer’s built-in software may have been released with bugs. Recent releases often address these bugs and contain updates to help protect you from new cyber threats.
- Limit administrative privileges to a small, trusted group of users on your operating system. Those with administrative privileges have the power to approve running specific apps, among many other things. Be sure that your network has only a few administrators to ensure tight control over your security settings.
We’ve assembled a list of our own to help you manage the other 15% of cyberattacks you may encounter:
- Create strong passwords that are 8 to 12 characters long, ensure that you use different passwords for your devices and accounts, and regularly change your passwords
- Use a strong firewall to defend your network
- Educate yourself, your employees and your clients about best online practices and keep abreast of the latest phishing and pharming scams
- Invest in cyber insurance
Online literacy will prove to be a key component in deterring cyberattacks, so make sure you’re ready to face what is becoming one of today’s great challenges.