Ways to prevent hackers

Table of Content

  1. The Consequences of Cyber Attack
  2. Hacker Apocalypse
  3. It’s Coming Home
  4. Multi-Factor Authentication
  5. Don’t Click That Link
  6. Invest in Security Software
  7. Training Training Training
  8. Encryption is Key
  9. Watch Your Employees

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine, a young versatile entrepreneur, had launched a revolutionary financial product to bridge the credit gap for the unbanked. His product gained incredible traction in the first year with over 100,000 users downloading the app and a million naira in processing.

Unfortunately, a chink was found in the company’s armoury unexpectedly halting my friend’s upward trajectory. The company’s database was hacked, wiping out its entire financial records and customer base.

What is a Cyber Attack?

A cyberattack is an attempt to steal, alter, or destroy a specified target by hacking into a susceptible system. According to Wikipedia, cyberattacks can range from installing spyware on a personal computer to attempting to destroy the infrastructure of entire nations.

The Consequences of CyberAttack

Fast forward millions of years later into a much more digitized world, a million and one online tools have popped up for big and small companies to optimize regular work processes with.

The cost incurred from a cyberattack or a data breach is mind-blowing. According to a report from Atlas VPN, over $1trillion (N504 trillion) was spent on cybersecurity or given up as a result of a cyberattack in 2020 (this cost was exacerbated by the COVID 19 pandemic).

And this is not abating any time soon. Cybersecurity Ventures, a cybersecurity research firm, expects global cybercrime costs to grow by 15 per cent per year over the next five years, reaching $10.5 trillion annually by 2025 (more than 10x the expected GDP of Nigeria in 2025).

Hackerpocalypse

These staggering stats only point to one thing; companies all over the world are losing the cyberwar to hackers, most especially small and medium-sized corporations where it is estimated that 60 per cent go out of business within six months of falling victim to a data breach or cyber attack.

Already, 1 in 6 companies pays a ransom to hackers according to the annual Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report.

READ: Top Reports On Data Security Issues In 2020

It’s Coming Home

Back home in Nigeria, the statistics are grim as well. According to a British software and hardware company report, Nigerian companies recorded the second-highest percentage (86% were targeted by hackers) of cyberattacks worldwide behind India last year. In 2019, a report by Serianu, an IT Services and Consulting firm, Nigeria lost $649 million (N327.1 billion) to cybercrime.

This shows that Nigeria, and in extension, Africa isn’t insulated from this ongoing cyberwar. Africa is increasingly the target of cyber espionage, making it imperative for businesses across the continent to find effective ways to protect their assets from would-be hackers.

Here are 6 easy ways businesses can avoid being hacked:

1. Multi-Factor Authentication

The easiest and most popular way to breach a company’s backend is through password theft. According to a 2020 Verizon data report, 81% of the total number of breaches leveraged stolen or weak passwords. Also, in a breach report done in 2019, over 1 million passwords are stolen every day. What’s worse is most hackers do the bare minimum to hack these passwords. When it comes to password security, all a hacker needs is an employee’s insistence on being the weak link (you know what they say about the weakest link?).

Thank goodness there are ways a company can guard against such monstrous vulnerabilities and one of them is the use of Multifactor Authentication like Google and Microsoft Authenticator to help stave off would-be snoopers. In addition, employers can put in place second-level security protection like tokens and biometrics for their employees.

2. Don’t Click That Link

Employees are daily bombarded with emails, but quite a lot of them are intended to steal sensitive information. This is called phishing, which tricks victims into revealing vital and personal information to the attacker. Phishing attacks are increasingly becoming the norm. A 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report estimated that 94% of malware are delivered via email while in a 2019 report done by Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, 48% of email attacks are office files.

This makes it imperative for businesses to adopt anti-phishing strategies to guard against regular phishing attacks. Some of these strategies could include using more sophisticated anti-phishing filters, user training for employees to recognize phishing attempts and deal with them immediately, setting up firewalls and security measures.

Most importantly, employees and business owners should learn NOT to click on a link or download any file until sure!

3. Invest in Security Software

ways to prevent hackers

Investing in cybersecurity software and firms is a no-brainer for businesses and organizations looking for a holistic approach to protect their data, especially in a year where global spending on cybersecurity is expected to exceed $1 trillion. This is more pertinent for small businesses as they are more prone to data breaches.

A trusted anti-spyware will limit a company’s exposure to snoopers by quickly detecting malicious applications.

4. Training Training Training!

You can spend all the gazillion dollars you have on anti-spyware software but if your employees aren’t versatile enough to quickly detect or identify malicious links or are careless with their company’s credentials, your business will always be susceptible to cyberattacks.

According to an IBM study, over 95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to non-IT-related human error. This means for every 10 breaches that occur in a company, only 0.5 are due to non-human error.

This makes training of employees in basic cybersecurity very imperative. Employees must understand what a malicious attack looks like and must be careful enough not to disclose confidential details to third parties.

5. Encryption is the Key

Except you are trying to cyber spy on North Korea or into the espionage business in general, you don’t need high-level complex encryption to protect your business from cyber-attacks. However, you still need standard level encryption for your data and entire work process to keep the low life, online snoopers, away.

If you don’t already know, encryption is the process of converting information or data into a code, especially to prevent unauthorized access. Encryption plays its most important role when two parties intend to exchange confidential information across digital platforms.

Think of it as Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak or switching on stealth mode in the middle of a splinter cell mission. Your messages will travel right through the noses of ill-intentioned parties and stay undetected.

6. Watch Your Employees!

Your employees are the heartbeat of the company. On the flip side, they can also act as the death knell to a company by contributing, either deliberately or inadvertently, to its downfall through cyberattacks.

To guard against this, avoid/limit the sharing of very sensitive data to your staff. If you must share this data, ensure you plug all potential leakages. If possible, create a sort of ‘Watch System’ for your staff, but this must not impugn their rights to privacy.

Most importantly, put a premium on employing the right and trusted person who will do nothing to sabotage your business which includes subjecting it to cyber hacks.

Conclusion

In conclusion, you need to ask yourself a brutal question; can your business withstand a cyberattack without collapsing under the wave? If your answer is a no or a wimpy yes, then you need to adopt some of (if not all) the cybersecurity solutions in this article.

Throughout the ages in history, humans have relied on varying tools, not just to survive, but to stay dominant and ahead of others. More particularly, some of these tools were used for optimization purposes.

The Stone Age tools of the prehistoric era like the Handaxe (a multipurpose food gathering tool), fire controller (a technological evolution at that period), and Bone tool served as a huge advantage for those who wielded them. Think of them as the Elon Musk and Bill Gates of the prehistoric era.

Table of Content

  1. A Million and One Online Business Tools
  2. DT Assessment Tool
  3. The Future Becomes Your Oyster
  4. Less Money to Spend Based on Available Data
  5. Clearer Picture
  6. Find Your Solution
  7. Rinse and Repeat
  8. Conclusion

A Million and One Online Business Tools

Fast forward millions of years later into a much more digitized world, a million and one online tools have popped up for big and small companies to optimize regular work processes with.

Take, for example, a simple process like sending or exchanging documents internally can be done with collaborative tools like Microsoft teams and Google Workplace (You can read extensively about 21 digital tools to use for your business in 2021. )

These tools have greatly enhanced and reduced efficiency and overhead cost respectively, digitally transforming businesses that have adopted them and giving these businesses the edge to always stay ahead of their competition.

DT Assessment Tool

One tool that stands out in the 21st century is the Digital Assessment Tool, a tool that specifically helps organizations across all industries determine their level of readiness for embracing technology translation – a platform dedicated to positioning your business to be at the forefront of digital transformation. Call it the Houdini of tech solutions and you wouldn’t be firing blanks.

Since the release of the tool a month ago, over a thousand organizations have already used the tool to check their digital maturity, a very useful parameter to determine if your company is technologically driven. The higher your company is on the digital maturity scale the digitally transformed it is.

Below are five lasting effects the DT assessment tool will have on your business to stay ahead of the competition:

The Future Becomes Your Oyster

One of the most transformational effects on your business after making use of the DT Assessment tool is the realization of what it takes to get your business ready for future disruptions.

For example, a modern commercial transportation company with fleets of combustible engine cars will easily be disrupted and rammed into (all pun intended) by a commercial transportation company that has invested in a fleet of electric cars.

Taking the DT assessment will arm the former with the ample information needed to digitally transform its business model to survive the impending tsunami and favourably compete with and get ahead of the latter.

Less Money to Spend Based on Available Data

Here’s a telling stat: According to an Adobe study done six years ago, 82% of companies still very much invest billions in paper usage.

Even the pandemic and the advent of remote working hasn’t slowed down the use of paper as the paper market is expected to see positive growth for the next 3 years.

The good news; this is the biggest opportunity to get ahead of the curve by eliminating paper-based tasks in your business processes, saving huge amounts of money, and investing it elsewhere. An example of an industry that has eliminated paperwork is the Fintech industry.

This essentially is what the DT assessment tool is all about, identifying what your business needs to let go to position it for digital transformation based on data about your business.

Clearer Picture

It’s hard to keep up as a business owner or manager when so many business processes are executed in real-time which can easily lead to broken and dysfunctional processes. This is especially true for large and medium-scale businesses.

The DT Assessment tool can help fix these redundancies by assessing internal work processes and showing you a clearer picture of what your business needs with the right software.

Find Your Solution

As stated earlier at the beginning of this article, there are millions of technology solutions out there in the digital world. The upside is that we get to be spoilt for choice. And the downside? We get to be spoilt for choice.

As a result, many companies find it difficult to determine what solutions are most appropriate for them among the pool of existing solutions.

Do I need to adopt Microsoft Teams because my competitors adopt the same? Or should I use an alternative tool with a different offering in an attempt to outperform them? These are questions that many business owners have been troubled with over the years.

However, with the DT Assessment tool mirroring your business processes back to you in the clearest form, you will be able to determine what solutions are a perfect fit for broken workflows.

You’d also get some recommendations on suitable solutions to adopt in specific areas after completing the assessment.

Rinse and repeat

We live in an ever-evolving business landscape where you have to use your best paddles at all times to move along the current. Those paddles in the form of the DT Assessment tool is your guide to help your business consistently stay ahead in the race.

It is advised you take the assessment periodically. This is also to ensure the tool naturally adapts to your business needs and predicts the right changes for your business to grow.

Conclusion

There is no better time to assess the digital maturity of your business. The tragic Covid19 pandemic has forced quite a lot of companies to take the digital transformation journey, but some has unfortunately found that journey tedious.

The DT Assessment will make that journey less tedious and seamless.