What is a dictionary attack, and how do you protect yourself from it?16/12/2022
The expansion of businesses into new and larger markets has also led to increased theft of digital information. According to the Federal Communications Commission, this has become the most commonly reported case of fraud, surpassing physical theft.
Microsoft estimates that 23% of small and medium-sized businesses experienced a security breach last year (2021). Not only that, but these attacks can be costly. The same report revealed that the average cost of a data breach is $108,000. This is why small and medium-sized businesses must make data protection a top priority.
For this reason, we’ve compiled the following article to feature the best data protection tips you should consider adopting as a small or medium-sized business.
Protect Your Administrator Accounts
Administrator accounts are the most influential accounts on a computer. They have the highest permissions and can do about anything on a computer.
Typically the account your employees will use to login into their Windows computer in the morning will be a general standard user account. However, admin accounts vary massively. They grant users much more power while using the network.
These accounts allow user authentication, analyze data and enable group configuration. Not only are these accounts an essential part of a functioning business network infrastructure, but they can protect the data of your employees and customers while optimizing performance and productivity.
Some of the best practices you can use for protecting admin accounts include;
- Using security keys for 2-step verification
- Limiting the number of users who have access to administrator accounts
- Setting up multiple user admin accounts
- Don't stay signed in to one, if not all, of your super admin accounts
- Set up admin email alerts
- Save backup codes in case of an attack
Use Multi-Factor Authentication
A multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a type of authentication that requires two or more factors to prove one's identity. The two factors are typically something the user knows (such as a password) and something the user has (such as a physical token and a one-time password sent via email or phone).
More recently, multi-factor authentication has included something that physically represents you, such as a biometric identifier like your retina, fingerprint, or voice. The idea behind MFA is that it provides an extra layer of security for your account by requiring more than just your password to access it.
Multi-factor authentication plays a vital part in your overall IT security strategy. Not only does it help in verifying authorized users, but it also detects potential attackers who often take advantage of weak passwords. Here are three ways you can use MFA to improve your data protection;
- Verify user identity using an extra layer of protection, such as an OTP sent via phone or SMS
- Meet compliance requirements set by IT compliance regulations
- Use single sign-on (SSO) solutions
Ensure You're Using the Latest Security Policies
It is essential to update the latest security policies and ensure that all the data is encrypted. This will help protect the company from any cyber-attacks.
The rules, regulations, and policies regarding IT and data compliance can be complicated. This means that ensuring full compliance can be challenging, especially if you do everything manually.
This is why you should consider using compliance automation. The latest policies come updated with the recommended settings for anti-spam, anti-phishing, and anti-malware protection.
Consider a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides a secure connection to the internet through your remote (virtual) network. Think of a VPN as a security tool that allows you to encrypt internet access, effectively protecting your online activity, even when you’re on a public Wi-Fi network.
Remember, your employees will not always work on office grounds. They might work at home or in other spaces where they’ll use public Wi-Fi networks. But since they’ll still be accessing and sharing business information, it would be in your best interest to ensure that this data still remains safe.
A VPN is an excellent solution for securing data for small and medium-sized businesses. Because many business activities will be done online, using a VPN significantly increases your security making it more robust and secure. Top VPNs such as Surfshark have made it possible for many businesses to stop unauthorized access while encrypting online activity.
Train Your Employees On Email Best Practices
Email still remains one of the most popular ways to communicate with customers and employees. According to one survey, about 81% of all small businesses rely on email as their primary communication channel. Unfortunately, this also makes email prone to attacks, as it is one of the most common ways hackers steal information.
Emails can contain malicious attacks disguised as harmless links or communications. And because many employees in an organization handle emails, it would be in your best interests to train everyone on what to watch out for. This could include junk email, spam, phishing attempts, malware, and spoofing.
Use a Password Manager
According to a survey published by Google, about 65% of all internet users use the same password for different online accounts. This makes it too easy for hackers and cyber attackers to access accounts, primarily through phishing.
Using a top password manager such as DrivePassword will help you protect your online accounts and sensitive data by creating strong and unique passwords for each account. This can significantly reduce the risk of getting hacked.
Besides, we all tend to forget our passwords from time to time. But having a password manager such as DrivePassword makes it possible to manage and store these passwords safely, so you don’t have to remember all of them.
Many businesses today rely on enormous amounts of data to effectively run their operations. Whether it’s customer details or insights gathered through data analysis, there’s no denying that data is critical to sustaining the life of a business. For this reason, data protection is something that you should take very seriously.
Protecting your administrator accounts, using multifactor authentication, a password manager, VPNs, and training your employees are great measures to enhance your organization’s protection of sensitive data.