As small-medium company owners we may not even know that the hackers of today comprise a successful industry that is growing at unprecedented rates.  Once we find out that this is the case, we are shocked to learn that the industry is estimated to be a $450 – $600 billion industry.

Hackers are in the business to steal money, spread viruses and malware and compete with other hackers to increase their own financial gain.  In today’s economy EVERY company is a target.  What’s worse is small to medium size companies across all industries are a PRIME target since many of us are not taking the steps we need to ensure our own cyber security measures are effective.  We need to take ownership of our security measures and their success to protect employee and client data and our company’s intellectual property – not to mention our money!

The good news is there are several simple strategies that we can implement to help with cyber security and try to ward off hacking attempts.

  1. Password Complexity – Ensure the passwords you are using and requiring your employees to use are more complex in nature. Requiring capital and lower-case combinations and/or numbers or characters is best practice.
  2. Password Duration – Require employees to change their passwords after a certain amount of time. In most cases, 30 – 60 days is appropriate.
  3. Email Threat Protection – Spam protection is a no brainer when it comes to email protection but advanced threat protection so that links and attachments that come through email are screened appropriately is an even bigger step towards thwarting email attacks. Really, both types of security measures should be implemented.
  4. Employee Training – This is an easy way to mitigate some risk. Simply having a discussion with employees on what phishing is and the importance of not giving out security information or data to unknown sources can go a long way.
  5. DON’T use Free WIFI – Please don’t use free WIFI when sending classified business information. VPN and/or using your cell phone’s hot spot to connect will also go along way to improve your security measures.

Hackers are looking for companies that are easy targets so let’s not be one of those.  By incorporating even a few of these simple approaches you can mitigate some of the risk your company has related to cyber-attacks.