Your data is pivotal to running a successful company. If you don’t have proper security measures in place, hackers can easily steal your data and take you out of business.
Cyber-criminals are one of the biggest threats facing any business. Besides gaining access to financial accounts, they can also take over critical software, preventing operations and working with clients.
Any organization can fall victim to hacking. We hear about it almost every day in the news. However, small and medium businesses are particularly at risk.
Too often, their owners don’t always address cybersecurity from the start of the business. Sometimes, they just hire the first IT service provider they see. They also don’t know how to shield themselves from online attackers, making them low-risk targets.
As a result, many organizations often go out of business due to the loss of sensitive data. It isn’t a risk you can take.
To help mitigate it, this article will introduce you to the various types of hackers and explain how to protect your business from them.
The 5 Types of Hackers to Watch Out For
Here’s a quick list of potential hackers, depending on what they’re after:
Hackers After Your Personal Information
Many hackers are after the personal information of your clients and employees. That includes names, birth dates, financial accounts, credit card information, and social security numbers.
Social security numbers might be the most valuable asset they want to get since cyber-criminals can exploit them in a variety of ways. For instance, they can pivot into tax fraud, open credit accounts, and make other significant identity breaches.
In addition, financial data can be utilized for fraudulent activities and purchases, especially if it lacks robust digital security systems.
Hackers Who Want Access to the Digital Infrastructure
Storage and data servers are expensive – and hackers know that.
In order for them to cut costs, hackers may aim to store their applications and data on your infrastructure instead. The better your infrastructure, the more likely they are to target it. This can strain your network to the limits and have devastating effects on your business.
Unsurprisingly, tech companies are some of the most common victims of this type of hacking.
The common indicators that a hacker has tapped into your digital infrastructure include:
- Running out of storage faster than usual
- Massive, unexplained network slowdowns
- Random, unknown devices appearing on the network
Hackers After Confidential Information
Few business aspects are as important as your intellectual property (IP). Your products and services enable you to stand out from the competition and strike a chord with the target audience.
A huge problem arises if hackers steal the design of your upcoming product before you launch it or submit your patent. A competitor may obtain the information, allowing them to hit the market first and undercut your sales.
Industrial espionage is real.
Hackers After Account Data
Sure, you and your IT service provider might have done enough so that hackers might not be able to obtain financial data. But are your employees’ accounts secure?
If hackers compromise them, they may let them run scams and gain information to disrupt your operations.
For example, CEO’s frequently request to be allowed to be exempt IT policy in the interest of ease of access to critical business data. As a result, we see lots of executives get their accounts breached, which can be absolutely devastating.
Besides granting hackers access to sensitive information, it also helps them impersonate the CEO. In return, they can solicit information from employees or clients and halt your operations. The same principle applies to all employees in an organization.
This type of data breach can lead to widespread confusion, permanently tarnishing your reputation.
Hackers Who Want Full Network Control
In some cases, hackers aren’t after data. Instead, they want to gain control of the entire network. And to make it happen, they launch ransomware attacks.
These activities enable them to lock you out of the system and make data inaccessible until you pay a ransom. They’re typically initiated through spam, phishing emails, and online ads.
According to Palo Alto Networks, the average ransomware payment climbed 82% since 2020 to a record $570,000 in the first half of 2021, but the loss caused by business disruption can be much more significant. Sometimes, it can mean the end of the business.
How to Protect Your Business
Now that you know how hackers can compromise your company, let’s check out 5 effective ways to protect yourself:
Invest in Security
A key factor ignored by many owners is the amount of money and time devoted to cybersecurity. Avoid this mistake by allocating enough resources to set up solid defensive measures. Make sure to invest in a reliable IT service provider to help you out.
This way, your online accounts, hardware, and network are more secure.
Train Your Team
Most security systems have weaknesses. And their employees are usually the biggest ones.
For this reason, HR managers and CEOs should ensure their staff follows standardized security measures, both in-office and at home. They must all remember that any phone or laptop they use for work can be a weak point and entryway for hackers.
To introduce your employees to the best security practices, consider arranging security education and training at least once a year. You can talk about different aspects of your company and the steps necessary to deter cyber-criminals, for example.
Sound education can go a long way in promoting a healthy security culture.
Configure Two-Factor Authentication
There are many valuable tools you can use to fend off hackers. One of them is two-factor authentication (2FA) – a simple yet effective weapon against scammers.
This measure requires each user to verify their identity to access your system. You should have it configured on all business-related accounts to reduce the chances of cyber-crime. Here at Hermetic, we ensure each and every business user account has two-factor authentication set up.
Furthermore, encourage your team members to activate 2FA on personal accounts. This way, they’ll be more likely to follow appropriate security practices, reducing the risk of compromised devices and data breaches.
Improve Your AV Deployment
Computer viruses are another go-to tool for hackers. And a great way to deal with them is to incorporate antivirus software.
Make sure your built-in antivirus software is up to date. Additionally, adding a Managed Detection and Response (MDR) system to your arsenal is a great way to stay ahead of the curve. All of our Hermetic Networks Managed Services plans include MDR software out of the box.
Each machine that can access work resources should rely on this software. Plus, you should configure regularly scheduled automated scans to lessen the chances of computers getting infected by a virus.
Perform Regular Security Audits
Checking your system is vital for optimal cybersecurity. Solid antivirus software is practical, but you shouldn’t disregard additional verification. It’s crucial that your IT service provider does this periodically. Each of our Managed Services clients receives regular Vulnerability Assessments as well as security policy practice audits.
More specifically, check who’s accessed your network and make sure each point of access is authorized. Any suspicious activity must be reviewed and rooted out. Otherwise, these red flags can prove fatal for the company.
Stay on the Safe Side
Battling hackers may not be the most exciting part of running a business. However, neglecting cybersecurity turns your company into a sitting duck for scammers. You may lose money, data, and your reputation might suffer irreparable damage.
While there isn’t a bulletproof solution, adopting the outlined tactics should be a strong starting point.
Contact us today if you want to discuss your cybersecurity in greater detail and pinpoint potential risks. We can arrange a quick, non-salesy chat and figure out ways to help you.