Cyberspace is constantly evolving. With this comes many opportunities for businesses, but also many unanticipated risks. Cybercriminals are always looking for ways to infiltrate companies; steal financial information or interfere with services in other obstructive ways. So is your business effectively protected against cybercrime and what do you need to know in order to protect it?

What do you need to know about cybercrime?

1. It isn’t cheap

Unfortunately, there is no cheap way to protect your company against cybercrime. There are costs involved at every level of protection from identifying risks, re-building safer operating procedures and acquiring software and hardware. If you company deals with highly sensitive information on an ongoing bases then you may even need to hire a cyber-security consultant. Also bear in mind that this doesn’t only include once-off set up costs, but also ongoing maintenance and testing. This is so you always stay one step ahead of the bad guys.

2. There are new threats

Cyber-crime is not only made up of thieves. In the past few years a new type of cyber-criminal has emerged: Cyber activists. These are like real-world protesters who commit crimes motivated by a cause. Here they shut down a company’s online presence in order to communicate a message about the company’s so-called questionable dealings. In the past two years, major businesses, including PayPal and MasterCard, have been attacked in this way.

3. You may need to re-think data policies

It is vital that you protect your business by re-thinking how you collect and store information. You must ensure that sensitive information is in no way vulnerable. In some cases companies may avoid storing unnecessary personal and sensitive information altogether e.g. company cards, birth dates, ID numbers etc.

So how can you protect your business?

It is simply impossible to avoid adopting cyber-protection. This includes finding a balance between cyber-security and risk management. The latter focusses on achieving high security through managing and controlling known risks. You will also need a rapid response capability as well. The following key actions will help you achieve this:

1. Create a cyber resilience team

This team will be in charge of keeping the communication channels open so that in the event of an incident, all the main players are clear on the facts of the incident. These are essential for a collaborative recovery plan. If you think ahead you and have an action plan before the strike, will be always at a considerable advantage.

2. Invest in a reliable VPN

A VPN (virtual private network) creates a secure connection over a less-secure network between your computer and the Internet. A VPN ensures your company is invisible to hackers. If they can’t see you then they cannot steal your passwords, financial information or track your activities. There are lots of options available and your VPN should be selected according to the unique needs of your business.

3. Train and educate your staff

Even if you use the latest firewall and antivirus software, you will never be fully protected. Unless of course if your employees follow the rules of digital security. According to IBM, over  90% of security breaches happen not as a result of hackers overcoming the network’s protection, but because a member of staff has unknowingly fallen victim to a hack. Say, for example using a weak password or opening an enticing phishing email. Investing in cutting-edge security software but failing to educate your employees in cybercrime prevention, is like locking the windows but leaving the doors wide open.

4. Set up strict limitations on business software

Don’t allow your team to install unauthorized software on your company computers without approval. This will prevent infectious malware from infiltrating your network. Which will not only put your company at risk but will also waste unnecessary time.

The bottom line

In this day and age, cybersecurity can’t be treated as an afterthought. A breach in security can be catastrophic for any business. Including those lacking a strong digital presence. The only way to protect your business is to plan, prepare and then be ready to act. For more information on accessing working capital to fund your cybersecurity set-up or upgrade, contact Merchant Capital today.

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