April 13, 2022

Common Cybersecurity Mistakes that Business Owners Need to Avoid

With so much business being conducted online now, entrepreneurs need to do everything they can to protect not only their business data but customer details, too.

While you may think that you’re doing it all right when it comes to cybersecurity, you could be like many others and be making some mistakes that could pose a risk to operations. It’s crucial to understand common errors in this area so you can avoid them as much as possible.

Not Keeping Software Updated at All Times

Firstly, do you and your team members pay attention to the pop-ups on your computer screens alerting you to update software programs throughout the year? Or, like many people, do you tend to ignore them and think you’ll come back to doing something about them later? It’s common for the latter response to be what occurs, but this cybersecurity mistake can prove detrimental.

While software developers do release new versions of their programs when they add features or fix glitches, they also often update their products when they find and attend to security gaps that hackers could utilize. If you ignore the mention of updates and keep running old editions continuously, you’re not keeping company and customer data as secure as you could be.

Failing to Place Credence on Email Security

Email security is another area that’s often quite lax within corporations and small businesses. It’s vital to ensure everyone within the organization is very careful about which emails they open and which links within emails they click on. Similarly, workers must be wary about opening attachments to such digital communications.

Don’t make the mistake of not letting your staff members know how they should proceed with potentially fraudulent emails and what to check with an IT person. Be sure to train people to only open messages from people they know or from email addresses that seem valid.

Educate everyone on the rise of phishing messages, where hackers create emails designed to look like they come from real, trusted companies, such as telecommunications providers, banks, insurance companies, and the like. While these messages can seem authentic at first, upon closer inspection, you can pick up on things like language that doesn’t seem quite right, logos that appear a little off, and sender addresses that don’t have the company’s domain name at the end, etc.

In particular, phishing messages tend to contain links that they ask readers to click on. These links could have malware embedded in them, or they might request personal detail updates and get sensitive information that’s used to break into or crash systems. Once your team knows what to look out for and takes steps to keep emails safer, your cybersecurity risks will decrease significantly.

Not Verifying Third Party Sites and Products

Another error to avoid is not taking the time to verify third-party websites and products. Cybersecurity problems stem not just from internal devices and choices but those relating to outside options, too. For example, everyone in the business should get into the habit of typing in website addresses rather than following links to them which could lead them to duplicate, fake sites, or contain viruses. The same goes for apps that you download for use. Always check that you’re choosing authentic products at every stage.

Be wary of plugging flash drives that you receive from external sources into your computers, as these gadgets could contain (often unbeknownst to the person who handed them to you) viruses and other malware. Similarly, don’t download unsolicited products such as antivirus software that gets recommended by a sudden popup on your screen. These and other third-party risk management strategies can go a long way to keeping hackers at bay.

Using Unsecured Wi-Fi

Another common mistake many business owners and employees make is not being more careful about their Wi-Fi usage. While the internet at the office and your home is no doubt secure, can you say the same for the cafes or hotels where you and your teamwork sometimes when on the road, or about your staff members’ homes if they log into business systems from their own abodes?

When using public, unlocked modems, you never know who could be watching on and recording keystrokes or embedding malware and the like. Instruct your entire workforce to be very careful about internet usage and avoid logging in to any accounts unless using secured Wi-Fi.

Not Consulting With Cybersecurity Experts

One of the most common mistakes is not seeking help and advice from cybersecurity professionals. It is essential to educate your employees on cybersecurity; however, this alone is insufficient for preventing cyber threats. Thus, professional help is needed. Cybersecurity experts can enhance the company’s defense system by performing many tests and evaluations. Even if you have an app, experts can provide application penetration testing services, where they simulate the actual cyberattack and uncover the vulnerabilities in the app.
A person using a computer Description automatically generated with low confidence

Other cybersecurity mistakes that you want to avoid include not backing up data to the cloud in case of hacks, failing to establish adequate passwords, and not paying attention to small red flags such as computers that suddenly run slowly. All it takes is changing a few habits and being more vigilant about online usage to protect your business interests more effectively.

About the author 

Elle Gellrich

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