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Cybersecurity refers to the protection measures taken to strengthen internet-based systems and computers from unauthorized and unintended access, obliteration, and information modification. Many companies today use web-based tools and technology to carry out their daily functions. Whether you are doing research, marketing, buying or selling, communicating with suppliers and customers, or doing banking transactions, the cloud and the internet has become an essential part of most companies’ daily operations. However, conducting business online leaves most companies vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Below are the cybersecurity measures every company must put in place to protect itself from cyber-attacks:

1. Have reliable anti-virus software

A good anti-virus from a reliable provider is a must-have for any online-based system. The anti-virus software works as the frontier for defending your systems from unauthorized and unwanted attacks and access. They also help to detect and get rid of malware, computer viruses, spyware, and adware. A reliable anti-virus should also scan and filter out any potentially dangerous emails or downloads.

2. Use intricate passwords

Today, almost every web-based application and computer needs a key to access it. Whether it’s a password or an answer to a security question, ensure your key to accessing critical information is a complex one and is more challenging for a hacker to crack. Try translating answers to security questions into another language. You can also use a space before and after the password- this will throw the cyber-criminal off.

3. Have a firewall

A firewall is an essential must-have for many businesses as it protects your inbound and outbound network traffic. It can block certain websites, thus protecting you from cyber-criminals. A firewall can also be programmed to ensure that sending out confidential emails or proprietary data from your computer network is restricted. This will protect you from spyware and other tools hackers use to gain access to your information.

4. Have an encryption software

If your company deals with data pertaining to social security numbers, credit cards, and bank accounts, it’s essential to have an encryption program in place. The encryption software will keep this information safe by altering it on the computer into an unreadable code. This way, even when hackers steal this information, it’s useless to them as they wouldn’t have the key to decrypting it.

5. Don’t open suspicious emails

Make it a habit to never reply or even open an email that looks suspicious, even when they appear to be from a known and trustworthy sender. If you open a suspicious email, ensure you don’t click on any links or download any attachments. Doing so could make you a victim of a cyber-crime pertaining to identity theft of financial fraud. Remember that mist phishing emails look like they were sent by trustworthy individuals or organizations such as banks or bosses. A hacker may attempt to gain access to your passwords, critical company information, credit card number, or financial details through a phishing email.

6. Limit access to critical data

If you are a business owner, ensure you limit the number of people who access critical data. Keep this number to a minimum- just trusted employees. Formulate a plan that mentions who has access to which sensitive company information for accountability reasons.

7. Secure your internet connection

Say goodbye to Wired Equivalent Privacy- WEP network if your company is still using one. Instead, switch to Wi-Fi Protected Access Version 2- WPA2; it is more secure. To protect your internet connection from hacks and breaches, change the name of your router or wireless access point- also known as SSID- Service Set Identifier. Ensure you use complicated PSK- Pre-Share Key passphrase for an extra security layer.

Hacking and cybersecurity threats are very real. Every day, a hacker is trying to steal money or confidential information from a business somewhere- this could be you. While you can’t completely be safe, the above security practices will help you reduce the hacker’s risks of penetrating your system.