Business How businesses of all sizes can protect themselves from...

How businesses of all sizes can protect themselves from cyber-attacks


When it comes to corporate cybersecurity, there’s no such thing as “too small a target.” If your company uses bad cybersecurity practices that put sensitive customer or company data at risk, hackers can exploit those vulnerabilities to achieve their goals, no matter how big or small your company is.

However, in the same way, cybersecurity need not require large capital to implement. Below eight members of Council for Young Entrepreneurs each shares a practical, affordable way a business of any size can protect itself and its data from hackers and phishing attacks, and why these methods are so effective.

1. Set strong password guidelines

A practical defense would be to establish strong guidelines when employees create passwords. This includes requiring all staff to use strong, unique passwords for every account they have access to. Password managers are another option for businesses looking to protect employee credentials and reduce the likelihood of data loss due to compromised passwords. A company’s data can be largely protected by training staff in cybersecurity best practices, such as avoiding questionable emails and websites. – John Hall, Calendar

2. Update your software routinely

Regularly update your software, including operating systems, applications, and security software. Software updates often include important security patches that address known vulnerabilities and protect against emerging threats. By keeping their software up to date, companies can significantly reduce the risk of being targeted by hackers or falling victim to malware and other cyber-attacks. Regular software updates can be easily scheduled and automated, and many software vendors provide alerts and reminders to notify users of new updates. In addition, companies can take advantage of free or low-cost vulnerability scanning tools to identify potential security vulnerabilities in their systems and determine which software updates to apply first. – Devesh Dwivedi, Devesh Dwivedi

3. Train employees in cybersecurity best practices

One of the most effective ways to protect against hacking or phishing attacks is to teach employees how to identify and avoid them. Employees should be taught how to recognize suspicious emails, links and attachments and how to report suspicious activity. Employees should be taught to understand the benefits of regular software updates, strong passwords and anti-virus software. This can be done advantageously through regular online training, workshops or courses. By training all of their employees, a business of any size can significantly reduce the chances of falling victim to hackers and phishing attacks. – Eddie Lou, CodePet

4. Implement two-factor authentication

One of the most affordable ways for a business to protect itself and its data from hackers and phishing attacks is to implement two-factor authentication across the board. This adds an extra layer of security when stakeholders inside or outside the company have access to the necessary information and prevents any form of unauthorized access. This authentication process requires users to enter an additional password or code that is sent to their personal devices or emails immediately after they attempt to log in. So even if hackers somehow get access to users’ credentials, it would be difficult for them to get the extra layer of security because they need the real-time system-generated code to do it. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable shapes

5. Determine your ‘normal’

At my company, we have established a communication protocol that is our ‘normal’. Anything out of the ordinary is immediately brought to the attention of the entire company. For example, we use Slack all the time to communicate. Once, a phisher emailed an employee with an email address similar to mine, so it was immediately suspicious. We have spoken about this in our company and made everyone aware of such attacks. This simple communication strategy and the openness and willingness to talk about security make a huge difference to us – and it’s free! So look for simple ways to educate people and communicate in a consistent way so that everything else gets noticed quickly. – Blair Williams, MemberPress

6. Protect cardholder data

Do not store credit card information at home. Cardholder data stored in a company’s own database is exposed to a variety of internal and external risks, with potentially devastating consequences. If a company fails to protect cardholder data, they risk losing customer trust and creating a slew of legal problems. Instead, store everything in a merchant gateway vault. For example, even your employees do not have access to the full credit card numbers. They may have access to a security token, but not the full card number. Check for updates regularly and always enable two-step verification on all employee accounts for added security. – Shu Saito, All filters

7. Schedule regular backups

Schedule regular backup and recovery times to ensure that data can be fully recovered in case of disaster. Hackers are becoming more creative every day when it comes to cyberattacks, devising ways to bypass defenses such as spam filters and infiltrate vulnerabilities. A good idea is to back up your data to the cloud. Platforms like Google Drive File Stream can help you save files stored on your computers in Google’s cloud backup system. Having an external backup hard drive also provides enough space for these utilities to work properly. – Brian David Crane, Spread great ideas

8. Use an encrypted file sharing system

A practical and affordable way for business leaders to protect sensitive company data is to use an encrypted file sharing program. Hackers and phishers can access this information much more easily if it is shared via email or text message. You can reduce the chances of this happening to you by investing in a tool that allows business data to be transferred and stored securely. Most programs are extremely affordable and can pay for themselves if they prevent just one cyber-attack. – Daman Jeet Singh, FunnelKit

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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