Protecting Your Data: 5 Ways to Avoid a Cyber Attack

Jared Nesbit | October 3, 2019 at 7:23 AM

Many people who use Server Message Block (SMB) protocols think that hackers won’t target them because they don’t have valuable information to steal. Surveys tell a different story. According to research, 43% of cyber attacks target SMBs.

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The facts get even scarier when you look at medical offices. Hackers understand the value of patient information, so they often use ransom attacks that lock files from doctors, nurses, and administrators. Without access to files, treatment centers can’t care for their patients.

Make your organization difficult for hackers to target by following these five data security tips to avoid a cyber attack.

Update Your Software to Close Cyber Attack Vulnerabilities

Software developers and hackers play a constant game of cat and mouse. When developers release new software, hackers start looking for vulnerabilities they can use to attack computers. As hackers discover vulnerabilities, developers create patches to protect users.

Security patches only work, though, when you keep your software updated. Some operating systems and software will automatically update, Windows 10, for example, will update automatically unless you opt-out of the updates. But not all computer applications will update for you. Improve your data security by updating the software manually or using software updater programs.

Use Updated Security Software to Block Ransom Attacks

Security software experts are usually the first people to notice a new trend in ransom attacks. When they see vulnerabilities, they can often add defenses to their security apps before other software developers know about the threat. Set your security software to update automatically. Otherwise, you may not have as much protection as you think.

Train Your Employees to Recognize Phishing Emails

Hackers don’t always rely on software vulnerabilities to infiltrate your system. Many of them have learned that they have better success when they target your employees with phishing emails. TechRepublic reports that hackers send at least 3.4 billion phishing emails per day. If one of your employees clicks a phishing link or opens a fake attachment, your system could be compromised.

Make sure your employees know how to spot phishing emails by training them to:

  • Look for poor grammar and spelling.
  • Check email addresses for spoofs (such as @pcsgold.co instead of @pcisgold.com).
  • Report suspicious emails that ask for account names, passwords, or other types of personal information.

Restrict File Access to Improve Data Security

It’s hard to admit, but cyber attacks can come within your organization. A disgruntled employee may give someone access to crucial files to make money or hurt your reputation. You don’t know who to trust, so only give access to people who need it.

For example, nurses probably don’t need access to patient billing information. You can block them from accessing that information to prevent misuse. You want to trust your employees, but you also have to protect your business. Either create different levels of security or put passwords on folders that contain sensitive data.

Only Work With HIPAA-Compliant Vendors

You may need to give some vendors access to crucial information and files. If your vendors don’t comply with HIPAA requirements, then they could unintentionally put your data security at risk. Before you start working with a vendor, ask for a copy of the business’s HIPAA risk assessment. You may also want to have an IT security expert to review the assessment. If you find flaws, restrict the vendor’s access until it upgrades its security. If you have questions about protecting your data, reach out to your contact at PCIS GOLD. We can help you choose software and security policies that will add a layer of security to your system.

 

Tags: Management, Technology, Data Security

Jared Nesbit

Jared Nesbit has been with PCIS GOLD since 2014. Starting out working in sales, Jared, covered the northern portion of the United States. In 2018, Jared moved to the role of PCIS GOLD Marketing Manager, where he now works on maintaining the PCIS GOLD website and blog while creating content and designing all PCIS GOLD's marketing campaigns.