It is that time in history when hacking and cyber-crime pays big time. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance(NCSA), most small business owners in America lack a formal cyber-security plan. It is no wonder then that these businesses lose thousands of dollars each year to hackers and other cyber criminals.

Imagine funding your business from savings, grants and payday loans only for a hooded computer wizard to steal it all over the internet. Organized cybercrime is one of the reasons a business may crash during its initial stages.  It involves the illegal acquisition of sensitive data such as social security and credit card numbers, confidential bank account information, passwords and addresses. This data is then used to create new fraudulent payroll accounts and embezzle businesses of a lot of money.

Here are few aspects to pay attention to so as to protect your business from lurking criminals on the internet:

  1. Software infrastructure

The main avenue that hackers use to penetrate company confidential files is software. This is through sending malware to the system in form of spam e-mail messages or websites. A business that cares about its cyber security should hire the services of a professional to see that all anti-malware, spyware detection, and anti-virus software are installed.

All software that the company uses should be regularly updated as hackers can easily penetrate old software. Apart from this, there is a need to own risk-assessment and data-loss prevention soft-wares such that in case there is a hit the files can easily be retrieved.

  1. Encryption

It is paramount that the business wireless network and data are strongly encrypted to prevent illegal access to information. Wi-Fi is a favorite for hackers through the process known as ‘wardriving’. Time to time, the service set identifier(SSID)broadcasting function of the router should be disabled. All active computer elements should also be subjected to regular updates to the most recent encryption standards.

Other sections that need encryption are sensitive files and folders, USB flash drives and hard drives. Some of the available full-disk encryption tools include Bit locker for Microsoft and File Vault for Mac.

  1. Training employees

Since it is difficult to tell where the next cyber-attack will hit in the organization, all workers must be put on high alert. The IT department can organize a workshop to teach the rest of the team on how they can contribute in protecting the system. This includes showing the staff how to create strong passwords, password recovery/reset and how to update the software on their computers. Other lessons could include how to configure the computer safely, manage browser history and protect downloaded emails and chat logs.

  1. Securing hardware

Much as software makes for the greater gateway for hackers, the hardware is another critical aspect. The electronic equipment used in a business setup makes up for a large percentage of the firm’s resources. These include the servers, laptops and cell phones among others.

If a hacker obtains physical access to the company premises and gets ahold of the above equipment, much damage will be done. In this regard, all businesses must ensure reliable security manpower to their offices while keeping their server rooms locked unless under supervision. The use of tracking software would also help the business in case of theft.