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A network is only as strong as its weakest link, and if that weakest link is your security, that can compromise the revenue and the reputation of your business. Attacks just from ransomware have increased over the years, by 200% between 2015 and 2016 alone.  There are three fronts to consider: identify the hazards, use technical tools to protect your network, and educate your employees on cybersecurity. Read on to find out more about how to protect yourself.

Know the Hazards of Malware and Phishing Schemes

With so many businesses finding it necessary to gather, store and monetize customer data, this is an area of vulnerability. Malicious software, or “malware,” can take various forms, from worms and viruses to ransomware, which can hold your data hostage. Some types can simply make your system run more slowly, and some can steal or destroy data. Phishing schemes are designed to steal private data simply by an unwary recipient clicking a link. Technical tools are part of the protection plan.

Fight Cyber Attacks with Technology

There are plenty of technical tools and applications to keep your system safe. Firewalls and SPAM filters can keep unwanted network communications from coming in and going out. Anti-virus and anti-malware applications keep harmful worms, viruses and other malicious software from infiltrating your network. Be sure also to keep your antivirus and anti-malware programs up-to-date, to guard against the latest threats. Network monitoring can help stop attacks before they start, and operating system patches can fill in any security holes in the network. Along with these tools, be sure to train your employees to recognize security hazards.

Don’t Forget the Human Element

Employees can be the first line of defense against cybersecurity hazards. Teach your employees, through regular training, to recognize threats to your system’s security. Educate them to avoid “phishing” schemes by not clicking on links in email from suspicious sources, and how to recognize a suspicious email (often typographical or factual errors in the email are tip-offs). Finally, emphasize that cybersecurity is a team effort, and get them invested in helping keep your network safe.

Remember, your business is only as secure as your network. You are risking more than money if your network contains weak spots. Contact your technology advisor for assistance with protecting your network’s security.