nexVortex BLOG

Six Ways to Protect Your Business from Cyberattacks

Chuck Harris

Whether you realize it or not, your business is at risk.

In 2017, 9.3 billion malware attacks were launched, and 184 million ransomware strikes were made against companies – 46 percent of which were in the United States.

With those numbers, if you haven’t already, it’s time to invest in a cybersecurity strategy.

What to be on the lookout for

Malware has taken on a number of incarnations over the years. Spearheading the modern era are point of sale (POS) Trojans, Banking Trojans, and Ransomware. Here’s a snapshot and definition of each:

  • POS Trojan. These cyber-spies zero in on electronic payment systems. A POS Trojan is capable of mining customer data such as debit and credit card numbers, both online, and in stores.
  • Banking Trojan. This nasty little collection penetrates and then lurks inside computer systems eagerly gathering up usernames and passwords, along with vulnerable banking data. One of such programs, Zeus, cracked into 3.6 million computers in the United States back in 2010.
  • Ransomware.  Ransomware digital terrorists invade computer systems, pull sensitive information, and then lock it up in encryption. Under threat of publication, or permanent encryption, a ransom is then demanded.

How to protect your business from cyber thugs

While each of these threats is crippling, the following countermeasures can help business owners sleep better at night.

1).  Know your enemy. It’s important to investigate which types of malware your industry faces most frequently. Understanding the threat is a productive first step toward security.

 2).  Assess your firewall. Firewall protection should encompass all company internet activity, including email, media streaming, etc. Effective firewalls surveil threats from a variety of sources.

 3).  Implement a company cybersecurity policy. Everyone on your staff should be aware of security risks. Employees should be educated on the dangers of opening suspicious emails and attachments, which can introduce malware to the computer network. Of course, accidents can and do happen – your staff should also know what to do if they think they might have downloaded a threat.

4).  Be password savvy. Another element employees should be aware of is which types of passwords are the most secure. While special characters are commonly thought to add security, long sentences – a minimum of 12 characters – can not only be easier to remember, they’re also secure.

 5).  Disconnect. The first response to a cyber threat is to cut off their path to your data. Shutting down the network – including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi – can hinder further infection and communication with the malware’s source.

 6).  Keep everything backed up. Hard drives crash, files get deleted, and then there’s ransomware. If you’re infected with a ransomware program, and you have a backup completely off your network it will limit their power over your company.

Implement and Enforce Policies

One area in which to be specifically diligent is the use of personal devices on your corporate network.  The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend is growing and policies must be put in-place and followed.

As with any good policy, one which targets BYOD must be written, clear, and comprehensive.  While no one-size fits all, a good policy will address the concerns of the employee and the company.  Read our blog from earlier this year on BYOD.


Are You in Compliance with Kari’s Law for Emergency Calling?

Kari’s Law requires multi-line telephone systems (like those found on campuses, hotels, or office buildings) to enable users to dial 911 directly, without having to dial a prefix to reach an outside line.   Congressional Bill H.R. 582 of 2017, better known as Kari’s Law, became a legal requirement on February 16, 2018. The Act was a response to the murder of Kari Hunt by her estranged husband in December 2013 while she and her daughter Brianna were at a Texas hotel.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

When disaster strikes, will you be able to maintain contact with your customers and support their needs? Business continuity can be the difference between your company surviving or shutting its doors after a disaster.   Many businesses aren’t prepared to deal with a disaster. And unfortunately, many kinds of  disasters close small businesses for good every year. If you can’t maintain contact with your customers through the worst times, your company could be in jeopardy.