Six Ways Your Business Can Outsmart Cybercriminals

The ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu once said, “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.”

Although technologies and battles have changed, these words and their meaning are immortal. The same is true for the ever-evolving cybersecurity challenge. After all, the best way to combat hackers and cybercriminals is to understand your own vulnerabilities.

Here are six tips to outmaneuver digital threats and improve your cybersecurity.


#1 Defend Yourself with Passphrases

We’ve heard it a thousand times, but it continues to be a problem. Login pages are the gatekeepers to our personal, financial and business information, yet people everywhere rely on weak passwords to protect their valuable data. While many services require symbols, capitalization and numbers, it’s simply not enough to guard against automated brute force attacks which can guess passwords.

Rather than using passwords, cybersecurity experts recommend that employees protect their personal information using passphrases. These longer passphrases are often easier to remember, and much harder to crack. Getting creative with your sign-in information is a great way to outsmart hackers.


#2 Guard Your Secrets: Be Careful What You Send Over Email

Many employees mistakenly believe that their emails are secret and secure. After all, email is the most ubiquitous web service in existence! It is the center of most business communications and is required to sign up for any online service. But critical information, such as credit card numbers, can be intercepted by cyber attackers through email.

While email providers have bettered their security in recent years, it is still a good idea to encrypt your messages for greater assurance. While not foolproof, encryption may be enough to discourage hackers looking for an easy target.


#3 Always Have Backup

Hackers know they can derail your business with a cyberattack, and if it’s a fledgling small business, a data breach is more like a deathblow. Ransomware attacks, for example, lock users out of their computers until a ransom is paid or the harmful software is removed from the computer. The downtime and loss of business from attacks of this nature could cost your business an estimated $28,000, according to Business News Daily.

While your IT team is busy removing the malware, you can circumvent the hacker’s attack using previously backed up data. Saving your data on external hard drives or in the cloud is an affordable way to preserve your business during a data breach. This is a lifesaver in case your whole system needs to be wiped to destroy malicious software.


#4 Don’t Fall Behind: Update Software

You know those annoying update notifications from your apps and software? Well keeping those applications and plugins up to date minimizes the chances of a cyberattack. Malware architects often exploit vulnerabilities in popular applications. Thankfully, software developers are consistently patching these security gaps, but you will only benefit from their hard work if you accept the update.


#5 Stay Educated, Stay Vigilant

Phishing scams, malware, Trojans and worms have been around for years. Hackers trot out the same old tricks because people still fall for them. Being knowledgeable about security threats and educating your staff will greatly reduce the chances of a data breach at your small business. If you want to outfox cybercriminals, remember to avoid opening sketchy emails and unfamiliar downloads.


#6 Invest in Cyber Risk Insurance

Of course, no security policy is impregnable. And if you do experience a data breach, you’ll want a robust cyber risk insurance policy to cover your losses. Cyber risk insurance protects you from identity thefts, exploitation, loss of business and even helps cover the cost to repair damages.

Policies can vary according to the size of the business, with each policy specializing in a particular coverage area. But no matter what your specific needs are, your cybersecurity plan is incomplete without a robust cyber risk insurance policy.

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