Unfortunately, business owners have much more to worry about these days than simply growing the company’s market share and exceeding last year’s sales figures. Chief among these concerns is maintaining continued vigilance in terms of office security. Sadly, it seems as though compromised cyber security in particular poses a threat to just about any business – especially where confidential personal information and financial transactions are concerned.
Questions that are inevitably posed by all business owners and managers at one time or another include, “How can I protect my business? What security loopholes does my business have?” While each business is different (as are their vulnerabilities), these questions can most readily be answered by consulting a cyber security professional.
Having said that, it’d behoove you to know some of the most common ways that your business can become a victim of a ne’er do-well armed with little more than a keyboard, an Internet connection, and the will to do harm.
Unsecured Wireless Printers
Believe it or not, a thief can gain access to your other network devices via your wireless printer if proper steps aren’t taken. Granted, most of the hacking that involves unsecured wireless printers involves little more than a prank, but these pranks can come at the cost of wasted resources in terms of ink, paper, and labour. You can secure your wireless printer by following these steps:
- Clear the hard drive. Your wireless printer stores data that’s transmitted to and from the device. As a best practice, regularly clear this data from the hard drive. While doing this, you can also check for malware or other harmful programs that may have taken root.
- Install a firewall. Though not impervious to cyber attacks, a firewall makes it more difficult for a hacker to gain access to your network.
- Encryption works. Information that isn’t encrypted is just asking to be stolen. Encrypting the information being sent to your printer is useless to the person that intercepts it.
The Danger of Human Hacking
In the simplest of terms, human hacking relies on tricking employees and other people with whom you regularly do business into breaking normal security procedures. One of the most prevalent ways of doing this is through rogue USB devices.
Many companies use USB memory sticks, often as a means of allowing employees to work remotely on another secured device. Generally speaking, most companies have a strict rule about what sorts of devices can be plugged into company computers.
Most employees take it on faith that USB sticks are innocuous and pose no danger, and in many cases, they’d be right. That being said, someone looking to gain access to your company can very easily brand USB devices with your logo and have them delivered to your business – leading employees to believe that they’re approved and safe to use.
These unauthorized devices can contain programs that can not only infect your network with a virus, but also steal your company’s and your clients’ confidential information.
Yes, someone physically hacking your network is a risk, but the act of hacking can be time consuming. It’s much more common to target an unsuspecting employee as a means of deploying a program that will either hold your company’s information ransom or steal it outright.
Unfortunately, these “attacks” are often delivered in emails that, at first glance, seem legitimate. When an employee clicks on an infected email attachment within the email, it can prompt the download of a nefarious program into the computer.
Additional Security Loopholes include
- Using weak or default passwords
- Using unencrypted smartphones, tablets, and laptops
Ultimately, your best bet in fighting cyber threats is by ensuring that your workforce has the right tools and knowledge at their disposal to recognize some of these threats.
Think of it as an investment in your human capital; much in the same way you might invest in an ergonomic office chair as a means of promoting the health of your employee, investing in adequate training in the methods of identifying threats against the company empowers each team member to ensure the integrity of your business’ information.