There’s nothing like the heavy feeling of dread when you realise you’ve fallen victim to a cyber attack. It can be a costly event that’s hard to come back from. It can even ruin your business’s reputation if sensitive customer data is leaked.
According to Cyber Security Ventures, the annual cost of cybercrime will reach US$10.5 trillion by 2021, a 15% yearly increase from $3 trillion in 2015.
SMBs aren’t exempt from security risk either—nearly one third of data breaches in 2020 involved small businesses. Without the money or resources to implement dedicated security measures, malicious attackers see SMBs as easy pickings compared to large enterprises.
Most companies are aware of these risks, but taking proactive steps or actions to help safeguard sensitive data can be viewed as expensive and laborious. However, for those who want to play it safe, there are several options effective against hacking attempts that are cost-effective and straightforward.
Simple security measures to protect your business
Preventable account breaches have seen the downfall of many companies. You can reduce your security risk and ensure your business doesn’t fall victim by following these clear-cut steps.
Five tried-and-tested security measures for your business
SMS OTPs are a type of Two-Factor Authentication that adds a second security layer to account logins, payment verifications, and other online activity.
Many corporations rely on SMS OTP APIs in their security infrastructures, such as banks and insurance agencies. SMS APIs enable these businesses to offer an additional security layer for their online accounts by automatically triggering one-time passwords to a user’s mobile device.
OTP APIs are relatively simple to implement, especially if you use an off-the-shelf API ready to plug into your software. With an SMS OTP API, you can integrate this robust security protocol into the applications you and your customers use every day.
SMS OTP vs Email OTP
Some businesses offer the option of email OTP. However, there are several reasons why OTP via SMS is the best way to go:
- According to Google research, SMS authentication codes blocked 100% of automated bots and 96% of bulk phishing attacks, compared to email OTP, which only blocked 73% and 68%, respectively.
- Sending an OTP via SMS is more secure and reliable than email as 34% of users don’t remember their recovery email address or password.
- If the password on an email account is compromised, you’re giving hackers easy access to your other online accounts.
- Receiving an OTP via text is highly convenient. Around 90% of people read text messages in the first three minutes!
Strong password management
If you use a password that is easy to guess, like your name or birthday, you may be handing over the keys to hackers. Verizon’s data breach investigations report revealed that around 81% of hacking-related breaches were linked to poor password security.
It may be tempting to use a password that’s easy to remember or the same password for multiple accounts. But is the convenience of a memorable password worth the risk of identity theft or losing hard-earned money? Probably not.
Given that one of the most commonly used passwords in 2021 is ‘password’, it’s no wonder breaches are so prevalent. Creating a strong password goes a long way to protecting your online activity.
How to create a strong password
- Come up with long-phrase passwords that are at least eight characters or more.
- Include a mix of characters, numbers, symbols, and a combination of upper and lower-case letters.
- Test your password’s strength with an online testing tool and adjust accordingly.
- Use a different password for all your accounts. Yes, all of them.
- Record your passwords in a secure place such as an online password manager; they’re a convenient and safe method for individuals and companies alike.
Install the latest security updates
Ever ignored a flashing notification on your phone or desktop that says ‘install the latest software update’? You’re not alone. Most of us ignore software security warnings around 90% of the time.
Old and out-of-date systems reportedly caused the high-profile Equifax breach in 2017. The attack resulted in the breach of hundreds of millions of customers’ records—one of the most significant breaches of its time resulting in identity theft.
Software providers often release free updates for their products to patch security flaws and improve functionality. No system is perfect, so they require regular updates to fix newly-discovered vulnerabilities, add new features and remove outdated ones.
Software updates help keep hackers out of your system and away from accessing sensitive data. It’s that simple. By installing the latest security patches, you limit your exposure to cybercriminals and lessen the amount of time cybercriminals have to find system vulnerabilities and use them against you.
Whether you’re using a personal device or work computer, it’s vital to install updates as soon as they pop up. A simple system update could mean the difference between a few minutes of inconvenience or an expensive data breach.
Handy hint: If you want to avoid the fuss altogether, we’d suggest setting up auto-updates for programs that allow it.
According to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, 90% of data breaches in 2019 were caused by human error. Creating awareness around cybersecurity will ensure your employees can identify threats and ultimately prevent them.
Educating your employees on cybersecurity isn’t a quick fix, but it will benefit your business in the long term. As hacking attempts become more sophisticated, it’s vital to communicate regularly with employees about the steps your company has in place to guard against attacks.
How to build a culture of awareness and encourage employees to be proactive with online security:
- Document IT security processes
- Communicate your business’s security policies
- Remind employees to update passwords regularly
- Teach employees about cybersecurity threats like phishing attacks