Now, we don’t want to alarm you, but your business growth might be at threat. And it’s not because of the current economic factors. It’s not even because of your ideas or how you implement them. We’re talking about spammers, who have grown much more sophisticated in recent years and who are targeting businesses of all sizes. Last year in the US alone, some 7000 businesses were targeted by scammers, resulting in more than $700 million losses. Nearly half of these attacks were against small businesses, who are mostly unprepared for attacks. Here’s how you can protect yourself.
When it comes to business, it’s important to maintain a balance between optimism and skepticism. Be optimistic that your business will do well; be skeptical when it comes to figuring out what people want from you. Don’t shun yourself off from the world too much, but have a healthy dose of doubt, is all. If something is sent to you in an email that doesn’t look realistic or sounds too good to be true, then it is. It always is. Hit the delete button and keep your company safe.
Company Best Practices
You might be wise enough to know when you’ve been sent a scam email, but just because you have some technical proficiency, don’t think that all your staff members will be as capable of spotting potential attacks. It’s usually well-meaning staff members who don’t know any better than let spammers into the network. As part of your company training routine, make sure every member of staff is briefed on the best practices when it comes to using company computers, such as choosing difficult passwords and bringing any suspicious emails to the attention of their superior.
First Lines of Defense
Of course, while staff can do their bit, the real first line of defense is your hardware. If you’re using old machines with outdated software, then you’re making yourself vulnerable to attack. Make sure your company has a high capacity hosted anti-spam/anti-virus service to help protect your company’s computers, and then regularly perform scans do make sure everything under the surface is running smoothly. Also, you need to have a secure Wi-Fi network, with a strong password attached. Never use a company computer on an open Wi-Fi connection.
Review Your Security
Fifteen years ago, people were being fooled by a pretend Nigerian Prince who had $1 million to transfer to people’s bank accounts. Nobody would fall for that. People are smarter, but so are the hackers, and the game is always changing. It’s good practice to always review your security, possibly by bringing in an outside expert, and then patching any potential holes you find in your network.
Keep Business and Pleasure Separate
One last simple tip that is often overlooked: don’t use your business email address or your work computers for personal use. If you’re signing up for a website or buying things online, use your personal, non-work address. This catches out more people than you might think, who have revealed their work business email to the world.