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Corporations and government agencies have been bracing for cyber-attacks. While there are numerous types of cyber-attacks, they generally involve a “deliberate exploitation of an organization’s systems or network.” Once cybercriminals breach a system, they gain access to a myriad of data the company has stored, such as their processes, and sensitive information about their employees and clients.

Unfortunately, preventing cyber-attacks has proven to be difficult. Even organizations with large security budgets struggle to thwart cyber threats. That being said, if you are an owner or manager, you can take certain steps to ensure your business is less susceptible to cyber breaches.

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Install Cyber-security Software and Endpoint Protection Platforms: 

If you don’t already have cyber-security software and End Protection Platforms at the office, now would be the time to install them.

Cyber-security software is designed to scan your devices for malware. Endpoint Protection Platforms ensure all devices connected to the company’s network are secured. Endpoint Protection Platforms generally also detect online threats, and encrypt data to prevent unauthorized access. They can usually be updated remotely.

Advise your Employees to Use Unique Passwords and Change Them Often: 

Sure, it’s annoying for employees to remember multiple passwords. However, it makes your system more secure. If possible, also use multi-verification methods and passwords that include upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. They’re harder for cyber criminals to guess.

Train Your Employees: 

Cyber-criminals frequently use a method called social engineering to gain access to information. Social engineering involves using publicly available data to finagle others into sharing confidential details about themselves or the company. How is that done? Oftentimes cyber-criminals send an email impersonating one of the other employees asking the recipients for files, sending them files, or requesting personal information. Because the email seems to come from someone familiar, employees’ defenses are down. Social engineering is an easy way for cybercriminals to gain access to your system.

Training employees to avoid risky clicks, refrain from opening emails or attachments from unfamiliar addresses, and of course, to use common sense before responding to a request that seems odd or unusual can prevent security headaches.

Keep Systems Up-to-date: 

Systems that aren’t up to date are more vulnerable to attacks.

Install a Firewall: 

A firewall system is supposed to block attacks on your system before they do damage.

Encrypt Data: 

When possible, encrypt your data or use a cloud storage service that offers end-to-end encryption. This helps prevent cyber-criminals from intercepting your data during transfers or online uploads. You can often encrypt your network through the control panel settings.

Restrict Admin Rights: 

Most programs and systems allow you to manage who has admin rights. When possible, be selective in granting admin status to employees and restrict employees from downloading software.

Sure, it may be off-putting to some employees, which is why companies refrain from doing so. However, by allowing office employees to download software, you risk compromising your systems or network should the downloaded software be infected.

Back Up Data: 

Always back up your data. In the event of a system or network breach, you always want to ensure you have a copy.  

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Bracha Halperin is a business consultant based in new York City. To comment on her Jewish Press-exclusive tech columns -- or to reach her for any other purpose -- e-mail her at brachahalperin@hotmail.com. You can also follow her on Instagram or Twitter at: @brachahalperin.