Enjoy Treats not Tricks - Institute Safe Online Practices
October is best known for scary costumes and devilish antics but this autumn, turn your sights to the creepy crawlies and menacing ploys online to avoid "tricks" with serious consequences.
As more companies turn to the internet to get new business, communicate with customers and vendors, and avoid mailing costs, criminals also are finding more and more ways to commit "cybercrimes."
The same kind of unethical behavior that's found offline is finding its way to the Web, but don’t let this prevent your company from taking advantage of the technological innovations that can help grow your business such as sending faxes by way of email, creating an extra income stream with e-commerce sales, or automatically sending statements through email. Instead, find ways to secure your internet presence, just as you find ways to secure your building and your offline business practices.
These three steps can protect your business from cyber threats according to StaySafeOnline.org:
- Assess your risks – what practices might put your business at risk
- Monitor threats to the business – continually review these risks and adapt to new ones
- Devise a security plan – think ahead for prevention, resolution, and restitution
Preventing Security Breaches
Most computer users are now aware that spam (or unsolicited) email and email from friendly sources can contain viruses and spyware but less are aware that websites can all contain similar malicious programs.
- Anti-virus software is a must have for any computer, regardless of the capacity in which it operates, as a first line of defense against hackers, phishers and spyware.
- It is also important to ensure that all sensitive information is password protected and those passwords are strong ones. Use a password evaluation tool like Microsoft's.
- Keep firewalls on your router and local computer on at all times.
- Keep your anti-virus, operating system, and browser software updated to protect against the latest threats.
Resolving Security Breaches
If you do have a computer security breach, how will you fix it and resume normal operations?
- Make sure you have backups of your system that are available onsite (and offsite for disaster recovery).
- Know who to count on and when they are available. Can you contact your in-house IT staff or on-call service company in a crisis? A printed list of phone numbers and business hours will come in handy.
- Be prepared to notify customers if their information has been compromised. Sketch out a preliminary draft of this notice so it's readily available. Although this may be an uncomfortable topic, your customers will appreciate your honesty, your reassurance that you are doing all you can to remedy the situation, and the warning that they may need to enhance their security.
Restitution after a Breach
After the breach has been fixed, it's time to prepare to address the potential repercussions of affected employees and customers. Honesty and preparedness will do much to lessen the impact on your business as well as the trust your customers and employees have put in you, the company.
Don't Let Your Guard Down
Long after the scary costumes are put away, these are procedures and policies that should be in effect year round to protect your reputation, your business and your assets.
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