The 7 Cyber Security Layers Every Entrepreneur Must Protect

Is your email, private information, sensitive data, or any other information you’d rather remain secure at risk? It may be, and you may not even realize it. There are a number of different layers to cybersecurity, and most people only know about one or two. That leaves a number of different layers vulnerable, and if a hacker comes after your business, they are likely to target these weaker layers. You may not even realize you’ve had a breach if you don’t have protection along all of these areas. If you’re a small business owner, here are the seven different cybersecurity layers you need to understand and protect.

1. Social Media

How much information do you have on your social media account? People today share all kinds of information on social media, and hackers can pick up a ton of personal information about someone. In fact, many can gather enough personal information from a social media profile to be able to pass as that individual over the phone or through email. It’s possible to learn someone’s birthdate, parents’ names, children’s names, hometown, address, and more just from browsing online. You should be aware while using social media account.

While employees need to make certain they’re not sharing sensitive company information and are keeping their personal information set to private or to friends-only, it’s also important on the company side that you verify the identity of every caller and do not give out sensitive information unless you know the caller is who they claim to be. Ask for an account number, a password, or some other information only the actual person would know.

2. Passwords

Employees often don’t like to use long and complicated passwords because they can be hard to remember and type. However, they’re also much harder for hackers to break. Employees need to be trained to use long passwords that mix upper and lowercase characters, symbols, and numbers. These passwords should be different for every account the user has and should be rotated on a regular basis. Using the same password, especially if it’s easy to break, can lead to all of the employee’s accounts being compromised at once, and that can be dangerous if the employee is in upper management.

3. Email security

Your email is one of the most important things to protect. If your email is hacked, the cyber attacker can potentially gain access to any of your accounts since they can simply go to those login pages and request a password rest. Often, the system simply sends an email to your account with a reset link, so the hacker may not even need any of your other personal information.

Employees should be trained on how to recognize suspicious emails and avoid clicking on odd links that may lead to phishing websites or downloading attachments that could contain viruses.

4. Wireless Network Security

Your Wi-Fi can also be an entry point into your network. Because it extends out past your office walls, anyone can potentially connect to it if they are close enough to your building. You need to have it secured and know who is on your system at any time. Using network intrusion protection software such as Snort can help you identify who has hacked into your Wi-Fi and show you what they’re doing. This protection can even monitor the system after hours and send email to your IT team when it detects an intruder in the system.

5. Anti-virus Software

Of course you’ll need to have strong anti-virus software installed on your computer network. This software should be updated frequently so that it always has the latest in virus definitions. Otherwise, you’re leaving the door open for new viruses and other malicious programs to infiltrate your network. Remember that when a new virus update is released, it means that virus is already out there infecting systems, so the longer you wait to install the updated, the longer your network is vulnerable.

You also have to be sure you use anti-malware programs and anti-spyware programs, too. While an anti-virus tool may pick up on many of these devious programs, too, it may not detect all of them. Having these additional programs will help ensure that your system is safe.

6. Secure your Physical Hardware

Most business owners are so hyper-focused on protecting their systems from online attacks that they don’t stop and consider how to protect their physical machines. It’s possible for careful hackers to pick up flash drives or even steal entire laptops that are left unattended at coffee shops or other areas. Employees must be trained to be incredibly vigilant with their electronics, especially when they’re using them outside the office. In the office, computers need to be locked when employees are away from their desks, and old hard drives need to be wiped clean before they’re disposed of. Hard drives and flash drives should be encrypted, also, so even if they are lost or stolen, they’re not useful to the thief.

You may also want to use tools such as a whitelist to make sure nothing can run on your system that you didn’t install. These whitelists are like email whitelists—only the programs listed on them are allowed to run on a computer on your network, so viruses and other malicious programs will be automatically blocked.

7. Two-factor authentication

Despite using strong passwords, it’s still possible for hackers to break through that layer of security. This is why many businesses make use of two-factor authentication. This authentication requires users to log in with a password and then use a second method of identification. It may be a code sent to a small authenticator device or app, or it could be a code that is sent via text to the employee’s phone. Without this code, the employee can’t log in even if they have the correct password. Other options, including a fingerprint scanner or facial recognition software, can also be used.

Having additional authentication methods adds a huge amount of security to your network and should certainly be used for administrator accounts if nothing else.