Going online has helped countless businesses grow and prosper like never before. The internet has helped foster collaboration, innovation, and personalized outreach. Unfortunately, there also exist digital bad actors who seek to use the internet and business networks to infiltrate businesses for nefarious purposes. No one can make these bad actors disappear; however, everyone can increase their own digital security to stop bad actors in their tracks. With this in mind, here are three online safety tips to utilize at your business.
Many modern businesses utilize the cloud for data storage, offsite computing, and file sharing. The cloud can contain some of the most vital data a business maintains. For that reason, you will want to ensure that it is safe and secure, especially because it exists offsite. You may find yourself wondering just what is cloud security exactly? Cloud security simply refers to the set of policies and security applications an institution utilizes to maintain the integrity of its cloud-based operations. There are typically three kinds of cloud security: public, private, and hybrid. Public cloud security is managed by a third-party provider that maintains the public cloud being used. A business’s data is stored with other data on the same server; however, cloud providers ensure strict access privileges are in place so that only those with permission can access the appropriate data. Private cloud security refers to security solutions that are implemented and maintained by a single private entity. This is commonly seen in businesses that manage sensitive data. Private cloud security offers the advantage of server exclusivity. This means that only those within the business (and those that the business permits) have access to the cloud server. This exclusivity helps minimize external threats and makes it easier to spot them if they attempt to access the business’s cloud. Hybrid cloud security combines elements from both public and private cloud security and is largely dependent upon how the business prefers to construct their own solution. Hybrid cloud security can be a bit more complex to create and maintain, but it allows for great flexibility regarding data accessibility and overall security. If your business uses the cloud for data manipulation of any kind, it is certainly worth looking into the custom security options available for businesses.
Phishing is an attempt by an unauthorized user to gain access to a network by having someone inside of the network install malware. This is very commonly seen in spoofed emails in which an unwitting employee may be tempted to click a suspicious link. Recent years have seen the evolution of phishing tactics. One particularly effective tactic is spear phishing. This is when the email of a specific person, such as a boss or manager, is spoofed, and the content of the email is a request that the original person might make. It is easy to fall into these traps when moving throughout a busy day. Luckily, some simple methods of identifying phishing attempts exist and can be taught to employees. First, closely inspect the email address that was used to send the message. Spoofed emails will often look very similar to a real email, but they usually include one small difference. For example, the number one in place of an “l.” If the email is spoofed, the message is fake and should be reported immediately. Another way to check a suspicious link is to hover a cursor over the link to see if it expands into a full website name. Often, a malicious link will expand into an unrecognizable website or will end in a “.exe” extension. Either of these are clear giveaways that the message is a phishing attempt. If one is unable to use these two methods but still feels that the email is suspicious, it is always appropriate to ask the sender if they sent you the email. A quick message is all it takes to prevent your entire business network from becoming infected with malware. These small tips will make all the difference in protecting your network from phishing attacks.
Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Monitoring
Viruses and malware can come from many different entryways at any time, so it is important to do regular scans for these threats within your network. There are many enterprise-grade scanners available, so assess your needs and compare your options with different providers. You will likely want to run these scans at night so that they do not interfere with data accessibility. You will also want to ensure that they are consistently updated because new types of malware are always being developed and discovered. If an intrusion is found, these scanners will often have tools that can extract and delete malware entirely, or at least quarantine it before it spreads throughout your network and beyond. Overall, these tools are indispensable both for monitoring your network and for taking action if a threat is identified.
Many threats to a business originate in the digital sphere. Thankfully, competent security monitors, appropriate cloud security, and employee training against common threats will help to keep your business safe. No matter the potential threat, manage it by following these tips!