Is your Company Information Vulnerable to Hackers?
Small businesses are a prime candidate for hackers around the world. This is primarily because small businesses tend to lack the extra IT fortifications that larger enterprise-based businesses employ. This doesn't make enterprise-level businesses exempt from hackers though. CNET and other news agencies have reported that 2014 was the "year of the hack." Target, Snapchat and even Hollywood have all witnessed attacks that have cost their respective interests significant amounts of money. Kelly Spors, a writer for Open Forum at American Express, has noted three ways you can protect your company from hackers. However, there is much more you can do as well to ensure your company and client data is secure.
Start Storing Less Information
Customer convenience is important, but you must also take care to protect your customers. The fact is, if a hacker is motivated to steal information from your company, with enough time they will be able to do that. Don't store credit card information, personal customer data, usernames and passwords on your website unless it's absolutely necessary.
Build up Your Infrastructure
Keep your client, company and application data in separate areas. Connecting all of your data makes your business a more likely candidate for an attack. A bug in an application may let a hacker gain access to the more sensitive portions of your network's server. By keeping customer and company data on-site, and application data in the cloud, you can find a good balance between speed, cost and efficiency.
Train Your Employees
Social engineering is very real and effective. It can come in many forms, but typically someone working for you gives a hacker one piece of information that leads to additional information about the inner workings of your company. Once an individual has asked enough questions, they can determine who to target in your company to get the data they need. Since they know about the inner workings of your company by now, they can appear knowledgeable to higher level executives and may get access to crucial company areas. When it comes to hiring and training new employees you will want to look for candidates who have experience with security and have an information assurance degree or similar education. Be sure to instruct employees to keep a record of any unusual requests for information, and require all visitors to log in when entering secure areas. The bottom line is that employees with good experience will be able to help better protect your company data from prospective hackers.
Conduct Security Audits
Symantec, a leading security company, recommends regular security audits to protect your company. A security audit should send your IT staff looking for ways to infiltrate your system. Another good option is to hire an external company to come in and test the security of your systems. Fix any weaknesses to protect your company and clients from hackers. Ultimately, the security of any company is up to the people that work there and the policies put in place by management. Devise strict protocols for protecting your company, and instruct your employees in how to handle requests for information to protect company assets from hackers and thieves.
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