Most businesses operate extensively online these days, which can save money, time, and headaches and bring benefits such as selling to people around the world and utilizing human assets, whether internal staff or external contractors, located anywhere.
However, one of the downsides of all this digital work and interactions is that it opens an organization up to potentially being hacked. All entrepreneurs should keep cybersecurity top of mind and continue focusing on it to protect their business and their staff, themselves, and other assets.
Whether you have a new business you want to protect with network security management tools or a well-established venture you think you’re already securing adequately, it’s wise to consider the choices you and your staff make. You might be unknowingly increasing risk by making one of the common cybersecurity mistakes many people make. Read on for top errors you need to try and avoid.
Forgetting to Update Software
Many of us hardly pay attention to the pop-ups arriving on our computer screens telling us that updates are available for various software programs we run on our devices. We might think they’re just a nuisance or plan to come back to them later, but it’s easy to forget to install the newest versions of tech tools as they release.
Unfortunately, though, being lax in this area sets us up to become more of a hacker target. Developers release new editions of their products not just when they have extra features to showcase but also when they plug security gaps that arise in their wares over time. If we’re not running the newest offerings, then, we’re leaving more of an “in” for cybercriminals who know the gaps to exploit.
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring updates. Instead, download them ASAP or set up your computer to automatically update programs whenever new versions get released.
Using Unsecured Internet Services
If you or your team members don’t worry much about whether the internet services you use are secured or not, you’re also opening yourself up to more hacker attacks. It’s vital to be careful with your Wi-Fi usage as, while the internet you use in the office or at home is likely password protected to keep others out, public Wi-Fi doesn’t work the same way. If you log into accounts or do other business work on unsecured internet, such as that found in hotels, coffee shops, airports, malls, and the like, you don’t know who might be watching your every move.
Hackers might have embedded malware in public Wi-Fi systems or be watching and recording keystrokes or otherwise obtaining sensitive details when you use non-password-protected internet. As such, instruct your workforce to avoid logging into business accounts or completing other tasks that involve data you want to protect when they use unsecured Wi-Fi.
Being Remiss in Verifying Third-Party Websites and Products
Another common entrepreneur error related to cybersecurity is being negligent in verifying third-party websites and products. We often think that the key elements we work with that we need to keep secure are internal devices and accounts, but outside options can leave us vulnerable to hacker attacks, too. For instance, anytime you or your staff use third-party websites and log into accounts there or provide payment details, etc., you don’t know how secure the systems are. The same goes for using third-party products like apps, plugins, flash drives, etc.
Get into the habit of always typing in website addresses for sites where you need to log in or make payment instead of following links from search engines, social media platforms, etc. This way, you know you’re not on duplicate, fake sites or those containing viruses. Check that you’re using authentic apps and other software, too, and don’t install flash drives and other external data devices into work computers if you don’t know who has used the storage products previously or where they came from.
Furthermore, don’t download unsolicited programs that might be recommended by sudden pop-ups on your screen, such as those advertising antivirus or graphic design products.
Failing with Regards to Email Security
Lastly, a top error many people make in the workforce is failing regarding email security. We all tend to receive many email messages every week, and while these communications are handy, not all are authentic and safe to open. We must be wary about opening emails from people we don’t know or messages that purport to be from legitimate businesses (especially banks and telecommunications providers) but seem a little suss.
Plus, don’t open attachments without care or click on links in emails if you’re unsure about the sender or the viability of what’s included in messages.
These are some common mistakes made relating to cybersecurity, but there are others. These include not backing up data to the cloud or other secure external sites in case of hacks, failing to train staff properly in cybersecurity measures, and generally not taking cybersecurity seriously enough in the first place.
If you change a few habits and become proactive about keeping hackers at bay, you’ll significantly reduce the chances that an attack compromises your venture and that you lose time, money, energy, and sleep as a result.