With all of the press about the latest Petya attack on the heels of the WannaCry attack businesses are scrambling to figure out how they can avoid getting hit next. The latest statistics show that 43% of cyber attacks happen against small businesses and 60% of those attacked go out of business within 6 months. With these staggering statistics, its understandable why business owners are trying to do all they can to protect their organizations. While there is no magic bullet to avoiding a cyber attack, here are a few things that you can do to help yourself be more secure:
- Patch your systems – Make sure that you have updated all of the systems that touch your network with the latest software patches released by the software manufacturers. Most attacks happen by exploiting a failure in a piece of software like the Microsoft Operating System. When a vulnerability is discovered and the software vendor releases the patch, attackers try to exploit it before you can get the patch installed. So install patches early and often.
- Train your employees to understand how to protect your organization. They should understand what malicious emails and content look like and how to handle them. They should also understand ways to protect your company data and what their role is in the war against cyber terrorism. Employee training is not a one time event. This should be a regular topic in the organization so it stays top of mind.
- Do fire drills – Just like when you were a kid and had to do regular fire drills in school so you didn’t forget what to do in an emergency, you should test your employees reactions to cyber attack situations. This can be done with social engineering techniques that send fake malicious emails to see what the employees will do with them or even phone calls seeing if someone can get them to give up some valuable company information such as passwords. This will help keep employees on their toes for when the real attack happens.
Most important to note is that no single thing can save your business from an attack. Having the right security infrastructure in place, training your employees, and staying diligent every day are critical.
Michael Giuffrida from Southington CT has been operating businesses since 1997. He is an experienced entrepreneur in business management, profitable growth, business valuation, mergers and acquisitions, and information technology managed services.