We do live in interesting times. On the one hand, opportunities today are bigger than they’ve ever been. On the other, we live in a society where cybercrimes are equally enormous. And when your money and reputation are at stake, you do have to ensure your online privacy and security.
With these 5 solutions, you’ll be able to protect your business and yourself from most cyberattacks that happen every day.
- Strong passwords
Account security is important to everyone, not just entrepreneurs. However, there is a difference between having your account on a dog-lover forum hijacked and having a hacker get access to your company’s data.
Unfortunately, even in 2019, netizens still have some notoriously bad password habits. Using weak passwords is one of them but even it isn’t the worst one. That would be the use of passwords previously exposed in data breaches. Since those ones are available to any hacker or wannabe hacker, to use them again is a very bad idea, yet many people still do it.
To protect your business internet accounts, it’s necessary to both create strong passwords and store them in a safe and reliable manner. Alas, not everyone can remember twenty different passwords which are all 30+ symbols long and are composed of gibberish as good passwords should be.
But luckily, there are password manager software solutions that you can easily make use of. What they do is store all of your passwords and logins in the same place and even enter them for you in the corresponding apps or websites. All you need to remember is just one single password to the manager itself and you’re good to go.
Even better, password managers keep your passwords protected by encrypting them. Encryption is supremely important because it protects your data even if somebody gets unauthorized access to it as they still have to decipher it somehow.
- Multi-factor authentication
But sometimes, even the strongest password isn’t going to cut it. If you write it down not to forget it (and research shows that around half of adult American netizens do write their passwords on paper while around 24% save them in digital form on their devices), chances are, someone may get a hold on it.
That’s why an extra layer of protection is never a bad idea.
And today, many websites, services, and apps allow you to take this extra step in ensuring the cybersecurity of your business and personal data. It is called multi-factor authentication.
Using this technology, a website or an app requires you to provide some additional proof of your identity before logging you in. You have most likely encountered it with your Google Mail account that asks you to enter not only your password but also a one-time code it sends to your phone.
However, such codes are not the only thing you can configure multi-factor authentication to ask from whoever is trying to log into your account. It can also be a passphrase or some physical object that belongs to you (think of your credit card and its PIN code).
The best second factor, though, is something you can never lose and something that can’t be faked. It’s your biometric data: your voice, fingerprint, iris, or face.
Wherever possible, enable two-factor authentication and any hacker will have a much harder time getting to you.
- Virtual private networks
To be successful in today’s business environment, it’s hardly enough to work 9 to 5. No, you have to be accessible and active all throughout the day not to miss any significant news or messages that may affect your strategies or profits.
And what’s a better way to stay in touch than via a smartphone? With it, you can assess the situation and make decisions from anywhere in the world – well, as long as there’s internet access there.
But cybercriminals do not rest often just like you. And hacking the internet traffic of an entrepreneur is a gold mine to them because of how much invaluable info it contains: business communication, billing information, names and contacts of your acquaintances… you name it, they steal it.
The worst thing is, it can happen in a seemingly harmless place like your favorite diner where you use a free Wi-Fi. That’s where the baddies can intercept your traffic by sharing a public access point with you.
So yet another good privacy tool to have is a virtual private network (VPN). This technology allows you to encrypt your traffic and, thus, make it impossible for cybercriminals to actually steal any valuable data from you.
There are many different VPNs for Android and iOS as well as other smartphone OSs. It’s only sensible to make use of one and always turn it on when in a public network!
- Employee training
All of the already mentioned solutions are good and well but when you run a business, you have to worry not only about your personal cybersecurity skills but also about those of your employees. After all, a lapse of judgment on part of any person involved in your business can be equally harmful if it causes a data breach or a leak of sensitive information.
That’s why you need to ensure that all of your workers are as well-versed in internet security as you are and never forget to adhere to the best practices.
Depending on your business size, you can do the training yourself, dedicate someone from your cybersecurity department to do it, or hire third-party professionals.
- Pen testing
Penetration testing is basically a fire drill for your organization’s cybersecurity systems. It is aimed at finding vulnerabilities that potential hackers can exploit and giving you the idea of how your business reacts to a cyberattack and what needs to be improved.
Interestingly enough, the best people to perform a pen test of your company are hackers. Of course, you need to find ethical or so-called white-hat hackers. They know where to look for vulnerabilities and how to bypass security so such contractors are your best bet.
Pen testing is an incredible tool for assessing how strong your lines of defense against cybercriminals are. An important thing to keep in mind, though, is that it should be performed regularly. Cyber threats evolve constantly, and so should your cybersecurity measures.