Smaller companies should protect themselves against hackers
June 18, 2012
There have been multiple stories in the media recently about companies being virtually attacked by hackers who have stolen corporate information. Though many small firm owners may believe larger companies are more vulnerable, because they are often worth more, that is not the case. Administrators of any firm should go to great lengths to protect their data.
Business owners particularly need to guard against attacks because most companies now handle their finances on the computer using accounting software. Should a PC that stores financial records become compromised, that could spell disaster for a smaller company. Though most programs include security features, there are some additional easy-to-complete steps leaders can take to ensure the safety of their corporate information.
To appeal to a wider range of customers in different locations and those that prefer to make purchases online, many smaller companies develop a website. While profitable and often crucial for businesses, websites provide a potential access point hackers could exploit to steal company data.
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, most password thefts are caused initially by infiltration of a firm's webpage. The source suggested scheduling regular virus protection scans of software and coding vulnerabilities.
One of the most common ways data becomes compromised is through the loss or theft of a device with records stored on its memory. Whether the hardware is stolen by an anonymous criminal or a former employee that feels wronged, the results could be disastrous. Fox Business suggested owners consider remote video surveillance of the office. If the company is broken into and devices are stolen, this may provide police with the evidence to catch the criminal before damage can be done.
"If you have video, people often admit on the spot any wrongdoing," Fredrik Nilsson, Axis Communications' general manager, told the source, noting approximately 50 percent of thefts that occur in a retail setting are committed by employees.
Many companies invest in wireless networks now, partly in an effort to host the use of more portable hardware, like smartphones, tablets and laptops. However, many experts believe a large number of breaches can be caused by a lack of password protections.
Biztech Magazine recently reported it is fairly easy for an entrepreneur to password protect their wireless network. Encryption is key - the often relied-on Wired Equivalent Privacy method is outdated, so leaders should choose Wi-Fi Protected Access or WPA2 protection, the source detailed.
If the network is relatively small, Biztech reported, the owner can choose to install a single, shared password that all employees can use to access the internet. However, the access code should be changed from the preloaded password that comes along with the router to avoid potential compromisation.