Three Steps New York and New Jersey Businesses Can Take to Protect Themselves from Cybersecurity Breaches
Businesses must maintain constant vigilance against the threat of hackers, who can compromise not only a business' own sensitive information, but that of its customers. Several high-profile cybersecurity breaches, such as the incidents at Target and eBay that gave hackers access to millions of consumers' personal data, have brought significant attention to this issue. Business owners and entrepreneurs must take care to protect their own sensitive information, such as financial data and trade secrets, for the sake of their business' survival. They must also have measures in place to safeguard customers' personal information. Here are three principles business owners should consider.
1. Avoid Unfamiliar E-Mail Attachments (and Almost Anything Else Unfamiliar on the Internet)
Benjamin Franklin once wrote that "a small leak will sink a great ship." He did not have cybersecurity in mind, but his words are relevant to how businesses should organize and manage their computer networks. Hackers are adept at exploiting weaknesses, and they are finding ever-more obscure ways to access business networks. According to the New York Times, the hackers who breached Target's payment systems, allowing them to obtain millions of credit card numbers, got in through the heating and cooling system. Almost any networked system, including printers and vending machines, can be a point of entry for hackers who are clever enough.
Many hackers, though, still prefer to use relatively old-fashioned methods, such as email attachments and spyware. Unfamiliar email attachments may carry malicious computer code that can spread from one computer, or even a smartphone, to an entire network. Unfamiliar websites can infect computers with spyware. Companies should train employees about cybersecurity and, when practical, restrict access to unnecessary or unfamiliar parts of the internet.