You only have to read a few lines from IBM’s 2015 Cost of Data Breach study to realise how much businesses are losing to cyber criminals and online offenders. The average consolidated total cost of a data breach now sits at $3.8 million, which represents a 23 per cent increase since 2013. But owing to the fact hackers can attempt to steal sensitive financial information and confidential customer data through a variety of different attacks, how can you ensure your business is protected online? 

1. Upgrade To The Latest Web Servers

A DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, which shuts down your website by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources, is a common tactic among many cyber criminals. But if you upgrade to the latest web hosting solution, such as 100TB Bare Metal Servers, your site will remain resolute in the face of DDoS attacks and always be available for users to visit. 

2. Use Encryption Software

If customers are handing you their credit card information to complete purchase online, you should always use encryption software to guarantee this data cannot be accessed by external threats. However, encryption is also a good idea for safeguarding your company’s internal information too, such as personnel files and financial accounts. Even if a hacker manages to breach your infrastructure, they won’t be able to decipher the information.

3. Put Tight Controls On Access

In order to prevent any unauthorised individuals from accessing your company’s computer system, implement security measures that ask for more than just a username and password, such as two-step authentication. You should also recognise the treat that smartphones, tablets, and any other employee devices pose when it comes to access. Private devices are much more vulnerable to a hacker attack, so think about introducing software that encrypts traffic or monitors suspicious activity.

4. Keep Everything Updated

Sign up for automatic updates that install the latest operating system and anti-virus software security patches onto your organisation’s machines, as manufacturers and vendors are constantly addressing weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Hackers will be on the lookout for systems that don’t have up-to-date patches as well as computers with no firewalls or spyware installed.

5. Educate Your Employees

“You shouldn’t be the only one vigilant about protecting you and your customers’ information,” says Steve Cullen, senior vice president of worldwide marketing SMB and .Cloud at Symantec. “Your employees should all be on the lookout.” Therefore, keep members of staff informed about the threats your business faces and make a formal company Internet policy available for them to reference. This should set out acceptable and prohibited online activities for your entire workforce.

6. Backup Data & Documentation Automatically

Just in case your business does suffer from an online attack, which compromises customer or company information, you will need to make sure that this data isn’t lost forever. For this reason, make sure your files, folders, and documentation are being backed up automatically at regular intervals. This should be part of a bigger disaster recovery plan, which can be implemented for other unforeseen circumstances such as fire and flooding.