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Five Ways to Recognize and Protect Against Cyber Crime

The constant threat of cyber crime is a new reality for businesses, and it’s only growing. 61% of small and mid-size businesses experienced a cyberattack within the last year, and research further shows that data breaches cost SMBs almost $3 million per cyber incident. Cyber crime is defined as “criminal activities carried out by means of computer or the internet” with the goal of stealing data or infiltrating a business’s infrastructure.

Cyber crime is a threat to businesses everywhere of all sizes — in fact, small businesses make up 43% of cyber crime victims and are often targeted by criminals due to low-security thresholds and protections. With 60% of SMBs going out of businesses within six months of a cyberattack, businesses need to have cybersecurity top of mind or risk losing everything. Here are five ways to recognize and protect your business against cyber crime.

1. Train Employees on Security Awareness

Did you know that 88% of data breaches are caused by human error? Cybercriminals often target employees with phishing attacks as an easy entry point into your infrastructure.  Your employees can and should operate as your first line of defense, provided they have the proper training. Employee security awareness training helps team members understand cyber crime and how to protect themselves against it. Awareness training helps reduce costs and minimizes the risk of phishing attacks.

2. Keep Systems Regularly Patched

Almost 60% of data breaches are due to poor patch management, meaning your systems have not been kept properly updated and repaired. Poor patch management can lead to devastating downtime and risk to your reputation, but having a consistent patch management system can help protect businesses from vulnerabilities cybercriminals are just waiting to exploit. This means routine scans, automation, leadership buy-in, validation testing, and proper planning.

3. Use Strong Passwords and MFA

Having strong passwords consistently across your organization is a baseline defense against cyber crime. Common password mistakes include making passwords personal, not storing passwords correctly, or using the same password for multiple accounts. However, secure passwords are only one part of the equation. Enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) into your login and authentication process makes the big difference when it comes to protecting against cyber crime. MFA makes it harder for cybercriminals to hack into your account even if they have access to your password.

4. Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi at the coffee shop or airport might be tempting, but it opens the door for criminals to access your data. When on public Wi-Fi, you could fall victim to a man-in-the-middle attack, a cyberattack where a cybercriminal can intercept data and other secure information. Make it a best practice to always use secure networks or VPN instead of Public Wi-Fi.

5. Backup Your Environment

If your business is hit by a ransomware attack, one of the costliest forms of cyber crime, you could be at risk of paying out large sums of money your business can’t afford. With a solid backup plan like housing backups in a location separate from production, you can return environments back to a specific time prior to the attack. Regular backups help maintain consistency and business continuity.

For more information on how your business can recognize and protect against cyber crime, check out our cybersecurity e-book and take five minutes and calculate your cyber risk using our free cybersecurity risk calculator.

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