Can Hackers Affect Your Business?

30 November 2016

Hardly a day goes by when there doesn’t seem to be a statement from a major company announcing that their website and online business have been hacked.

Hackers target any online business or individual but hitting a well-known target can create havoc and frustration, as well as fear. For example, hearing that a giant webmail provider has its security breached with emails addresses and passwords falling in the wrong hands sends shivers down everyone’s spine.

Hackers are after information – customer data, customer payment details, your banks details – you name it, they want it. Sometimes, the details are incredibly personal with hackers attempting to hold the moral high ground, such as the hack of ‘Ashley Madison’.

The fallout from a hack can be catastrophic.

Not just big business

If you believed the headlines, you would assume that the only businesses to suffer this dreadful fate at the hands of hackers are large businesses, those with a global reputation. But every business is at risk and small businesses are hacked all the time – it just doesn’t make headlines.

No doubt you will have given all kinds of cyber hints and tips to keep everything as safe as possible in your online world. But we think it’s worth re-capping, making sure that you and your employees, if you have any, follow these three basic but essential online security measures;

#1 Don’t store more customer data and information than you need

Do you really need to keep credit card information on file? The answer is no, you don’t so why hang on to it?

By keeping hold of sensitive customer information, you instantly place yourself in a more vulnerable position to hackers who are constantly trying to breakdown your security and get to this information.

The answer? Make it a policy that on a regular basis, there is a purge of customer information because if there is nothing to steal, you won’t be robbed.

#2 Have the right technology in place

Just like burglars, hackers are opportunist. They want to gain access quickly, steal what they need and leave. They don’t want to have to spend hours attempting to gain access and when they do, find that there is nothing there.

Passwords must be strong, even systems with two-stage authentication. You need a robust firewall and cyber-protection software that continually hunts for viruses and malware. Always ensure that these are up-to-date and any software patches are updated regularly.

#3 Training employees and yourself

Sometimes, hackers walk right in the front door. They email, ask for sensitive information and because it looks genuine, and you have no reason to doubt it, we give them the information they are hunting for.

Best practice policies are important but training around these policies, the do’s and don’ts is simply essential. Learn what to look for and how to avoid scams and hacks.

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