Security · June 24, 2020

Cyberattack Prevention Strategies to Protect Your Business

The cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving, with hackers developing new methods to breach businesses' technology systems every day. That's why cyberattack prevention efforts need to adapt just as fast.

This is particularly true for smaller businesses, which are often seen as an easy target for cybercriminals. Smaller companies don't have the same cash reserves that large ones do. Their limited resources and tighter budgets often make it tough to invest in the cutting-edge security systems that big corporations can, leaving them more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

While the digital age brings new risks, there are some simple best practices you can implement to keep your business protected. Positioning yourself to respond quickly in the event of a breach may go a long way toward minimizing its impact.


Invest in firewalls

Firewalls have long been considered the first line in cybersecurity defense. They're designed to block incoming traffic and network requests that originate from insecure sites or malware. All computers and other devices—including payment terminals, smartphones and tablets—should be equipped with the most up-to-date firewall and anti-virus software.

Also, consider daily backups of important business data and transactions onto a separate hard drive, server or the cloud. This step can provide an additional layer of protection to your online activities and accounts, and it may help you bounce back more easily from a breach. You might also consider using separate networks and authentication processes for your payment terminal and the rest of your business operations.

Enable existing security features

Consider adding a layer of protection with two-factor authentication. Many financial institutions and online payment services have settings that allow you to authenticate your account activity by entering a single-use code that's sent to your phone or email.

You can also request text alerts from your bank to alert you of any suspicious activity, including anytime your email address is changed or your login and password are reset. And be sure to choose a financial institution that uses industry-standard security. Ask your banker about any additional safeguards and security features you can add to your online accounts.

Educate your employees

Businesses of any size can implement technology to protect themselves, but at the end of the day, processes and systems are only as good as the people who use them. Your employees are the front-line responders who are most likely to deal directly with cybercriminals or be approached by hackers, so they should all be included in cyberattack prevention efforts. Make sure employees are aware of the threats and the security measures you've put in place, and give them clear directions for how to report suspicious activity, no matter how seemingly small or innocent.

And make certain and your employees use passwords that are complex, unique and difficult to guess. Change usernames, logins and passwords every 90 days, and use a secure password manager app to store them.

Taking steps to invest in new technology and educating your employees on proper procedures will help you protect your company from today's ever-changing cybersecurity threats. That means you can focus on what matters most—running your business.

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This information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal or tax advice. First Citizens Bank (or its affiliates) neither endorses nor guarantees this information, and encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.