All businesses are vulnerable to online attacks and the consequences can be incredibly damaging. If you lose a lot of sensitive customer data, you will have to inform them and you will lose their trust. It’s likely that you will see a big dip in sales in the aftermath of a cyber-attack and it can be very hard to come back from, so you need to protect yourself properly. Investing in the right security software is obviously very important, but a lot of businesses become complacent and assume that they are safe because they have security in place. But the reality is that you are never safe from an attack and if you don’t follow good practice, you put yourself at risk. Unfortunately, a lot of people get into bad habits which make them a bigger target. These are some of the biggest mistakes that open you up to cyber-attacks. 

Opening Malicious Emails 

Phishing emails are one of the most common tactics that people will use to gain access to your data. They work by posing as a legitimate source and getting you to reveal important information or click on a malicious link that opens you up to an attack. They can be incredibly hard to catch because they look very professional, but there are still ways to spot them. It’s important that you give your employees good training and make sure that they always exercise caution with emails from unknown sources.

Using Outdated Operating Systems 

Updating the operating systems on all of your computers can be expensive, which is why a lot of businesses put it off. However, you need to be careful because the manufacturers will eventually stop offering support and updates for older operating systems. If you are using Windows 7, for example, support will be withdrawn soon (You can read more about this here to find out about the deadlines). Your risk of cyber-attack is increased if you are using an outdated operating system that is not being regularly updated because the weaknesses are not being fixed on a regular basis. Even though it is an expense, it’s vital that you update your operating system regularly. You will also benefit from the improved features, so it has an impact on productivity as well. 

Open Access To Information 

A lot of businesses are using cloud storage systems because they are more cost-effective, the security is better, and your employees have easy access to files. However, there are some downsides and it’s important that you manage the flow of information properly. A lot of people make the mistake of giving everybody access to everything, but that just increases your risk. When it comes to sensitive information, you should limit access to employees that actually need to use it. The fewer people that have access to data, and the fewer devices it is accessed on, the lower your chance of cyber-attack. 

If you are making these mistakes in your business, you are increasing your risk of cyber-attack by a long way. 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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